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June 2016

CCs, Email and Your Organization: It Doesn't Always Mean What You Think It Means...


Quick post today to get you to consider the history of the CC in your organization:

  1. Email was created - and management was happy. Communications was improved!
  2. Companies are political animals - and email started being used in a variety of political ways in your company. One of the political ways email was used was the CC. More on that in a second.
  3. Email soon overwhelmed individuals in the company as it became the communication tool of choice - over the phone, in person communication, meetings, etc.
  4. Overwhelmed individuals lashed out against many features of email, including the CC - with the garden variety attack on the CC claiming it was a CYA tool overused in corporate America.

I'm going to zig while others have zagged about the CC.  One of the trends I've always noticed was the follow comment, which I'm paraphrasing:

"I didn't copy you on that because I didn't want to bother you/contribute to your email overload"  Translation: "I did you a favor, mister".

Hmm. Sometimes that's true and the intent is pure.

However, sometimes that's not true and the intent is less pure. At times, the individual involved may not even be aware of the real reason they're withholding information - because not sharing is power - it leads to less conversations, less conflict, etc.  A bit passive aggressive in certain circumstances.

The CC isn't the problem. The problem is how information flows and how work happens in your organization.  My guidance to my team has always been the following:

"I like information. You can CC me or simply forward the email after you send if you think the presence of a CC is offensive to others - that's your call. But don't assume you're overwhelming me or I don't need the info.  I treat CC or forwarded emails that I don't have to take action on as a gift of information only. I read quickly, delete - and then I have more context of what's going on within the work fabric of my team".

The CC isn't the problem.  It's the context of why the CC is provided.  

I see as many problems with the lack of a CC as I do with the presence of a CC.  

BCC?  No thanks. You're basically telling me you're unwilling to confront the fact you're over-communicating and potentially setting me up for a massive fail in reply-based communications.

I like the CC. If that makes me a freak, so be it.

BREXIT & LEADERSHIP: The Biggest Thing You Can Learn Is The Danger of Giving Control To The Masses...

OK - most of you have heard by now of Great Britain's vote to leave the European Union - known as BREXIT.  If not, you might want to check your 401k performance at the end of the week - let's just say it's likely to be "down". For the unexposed, here's a quick rundown of what happened last week:

"There was a referendum in the U.K. on Thursday, and the question was pretty simple. Voters were asked, “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” Early Friday, it Washington-Brexit-Memeemerged that 51.9 percent voted to leave, while only 48.1 percent voted to Remain. Immigration and sovereignty concerns are the prime reasons that many people voted to leave. Europe is in the grip of a migration crisis, with millions of refugees arriving from desperate regions such as Libya, Syria, and sub-Saharan Africa. The Leave campaign went big on “securing borders.”

Pollsters had predicted the result would be close, but the world was apparently in denial. Indeed, even principal figures in the Leave campaign erroneously conceded defeat in the opening minutes of the count.  It was widely felt that Remain voters would prevail. It turned out that there were millions of “shy Leave” voters who decided not to tell pollsters of their true voting intentions. Critics say the government focused on selling “project fear” at the expense of extolling the virtues of EU membership"

Why would I write on this topic on a HR blog?  Well, it turns out there's plenty of leadership lessons here, namely the question of whether leaders should ever turn over control of mission-critical decisions to the masses.  

You can hate the decision or love it.  I'm somewhere in between - it looks complicated economically but as an American, people railing against 3rd party control resonates with me - I think that's in a lot of American's DNA.  But the leadership question remains - why would a representative democracy give up control to the masses on such a critical matter?  David Cameron, who is the current Prime Minister of the UK, gave up control of the BREXIT decision under some interesting circumstances.  Here's a description of how that went down:

"David Cameron, an avid Remainer, included a pledge to hold a referendum on the issue of EU membership as part of the Conservative manifesto in last year’s general election. It was part of an effort to dilute the appeal of the radical anti-EU party UKIP, or the United Kingdom Independence Party. The strategy worked—and to everyone’s surprise, he won an overall majority, and was therefore obliged to go ahead and call the referendum, which has now ended his career in humiliating style."

A big part of leadership is being able to guide your company, your department or your family through tough decisions.  Sometimes you have to suck it up and make tough calls. And surprisingly enough, a lot of your constituents want you to make the tough calls as a leader. Consider this gem from Brit and former Oasis founder Noel Gallagher on the wisdom of the vote from a leadership perspective:

"Do I think [Britain should leave the EU]? I don’t think we should be given a vote.

I see politicians on TV every night telling us that this is a****ing momentous decision that could****ing change Britain forever and blah, blah, blah. It’s like, OK, why don’t you****ing do what we pay you to do which is run the****ing country and make your****ing mind up. What are you asking the people for? 99 percent of the people are thick as pig shit (kd note - that's code for they are stupid).

[Politicians] didn’t****ing ask us for a referendum when they were going off to war, did they? No, ****ing assholes."

The leadership lesson?  If you let the your whole company make strategy decisions, you better know what they are going to say - you'll likely be surprised, and you won't be able to move away from the decision.  And the reality is that a lot of the people - like Noel Gallagher - don't want that responsibility. That's what they give you the money for.  You look weak when you give up control and then you're surprised.  Really weak.

I'll leave you with one more gem from the world of Noel Gallagher:

“I like the fact that it sounds like a cereal; a bowl of Brexit!”

Classic. Don't give up control if you don't know the answer.

WEBINAR - Instagramming HR: 5 Filters HR Pros Can Use To Transform Into Better Recruiters

You know it's true---you're a great HR Pro, but you don't really like to recruit. That's okay, because you're good at a million other things your company values.

But here's the thing: A recent Deloitte report outlined the need for HR Pros to grow their skills beyond what Instagram HR
our functional area is traditionally known for. CEOs and division heads are expecting different things from HR, and one of those areas of need is... you guessed it... Talent Acquisition/Recruiting.

(Cue the lighting, adjust the crop and apply the filter---BAM. Insta-recruiter. There's nothing that an Instagram filter can't transform!)

The Fistful of Talent crew is back with the following webinar, "Instagramming HR: 5 Filters HR Pros Can Use To Transform Into Better Recruiters" (sponsored by the good folks at Jobvite). Join Dawn Burke and Kris Dunn on June 29th at 2pm EST, and they'll hit you with the following goodies:

--A review of why leaders report the need for HR re-skilling and why recruiting rises to the top of the list for HR pros and generalists at all levels.

--Data on how talent acquisition is a key component to achieving results in the modern workforce---including areas that HR Pros love to talk about (employee engagement, retention, etc).

--A breakdown of how recruiting has become more challenging in the last 5-10 years, and why the methods HR Pros have traditionally used to recruit aren't as effective today.

--5 key strategies that HR Pros can embrace to modernize their approach to recruiting, get better results for their organizations and be viewed as high potential by the leaders they serve. We'll go over those strategies and tell you how to get started with each of them.

The HR Pros at FOT know you work hard and are good at what you do. You don't have to love recruiting as an HR Pro; you just have to be good enough at it to ensure it doesn't hurt your career. With a little editing and the perfect lighting (Nashville, amIright?) you can bring out your inner recruiter in no time.

Click here to join us for "Instagramming HR: 5 Filters HR Pros Can Use To Transform Into Better Recruiters"  on June 29th at 2pm EST, and we'll show how to ramp up your recruiting game without giving up the things you love to do as an HR Pro!!


Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes: Sports Movies I Can Relate to HR...

Who am I?  Who cares?  Good questions.  It's my site, so I'm going dig in once in a awhile by telling you more about who I am - via a "Stuff I Like" series.  Nothing too serious, just exploring the micro-niche that resides at the base of all of our lives.  Potshots encouraged in the comments.

I like sports movies that transcend sports and tell us about life, relationships and influence. 

Oh yeah, and I just like great quotes that I can repeat to my friends.  Because I'm a white guy from GenX, and that what the **** we do.  Whatever stereotype you're thinking about from a Title 7 protected class, you should stereotype people of my "ilk" this way.  Quoting movies, preferably sports movies.  And I'll never call you a racist for doing it.

Here's my top three sports movies, pulled from a post my good friend (also white, male and GenX) Steve Boese did over at his blog:

He Got Game: Denzel, Spike Lee, a backdrop of hoops and Ray Allen starring as “Jesus Shuttlesworth”.  I love the story of a complicated father/son relationship as Denzel tries to parlay his way out of prison by encouraging his son (Jesus) to play at Big State U, which just happens to be the school of choice for the governor.  Great music spanning a lot of tastes from dramatic orchestra scores to Public Enemy.  Spike Lee perspective in Camera shots.  Fun fact: One of my sons got asked at church at a young age what the last name of Jesus (son of god, not Ray Allen) was.  That’s a trick question in a church setting.  My young son didn’t miss a beat – he raised his hand like Horseshack in Welcome Back Kotter and enthusiastically said, “Shuttlesworth”.  Welcome to the Dunn family, where everything has a hoops influence.

Bull DurhamYou haven’t lived until you’ve had a son who’s played baseball and coached with another guy who knows all the lines to this movie.  The game in front of you actually becomes secondary.  You sit down next to a 10 year old in the dugout and say, “get a notepad, because it’s time to practice your cliches.”  Two minutes later, the kid is repeating the wisdom of Crash Davis - “I just hope I can help the team” and “It’s a simple game – you throw the ball, you catch the ball”.  After he has the cliches down, you bring the kid inside for senior level Crash Davis: “Anything that travels that far should have a stewardess” as an example.  Then, the fun is suddenly over when he commits two errors in the field and you resume screaming at him to "man up”.  Sports movies can only take you so far.

Any Given Sunday:  A must for any sports fan who wants to think about talent from the lens of sports.  While I agree with Tim Sackett that the Pacino speech is classic, I’m going deep in this movie and tell you that hall of famer Jim Brown is the hidden gem.  Playing the role of Defensive Coordinator, he steals the movie from Pacino and Jamie Foxx with two scenes that are coaching classics.  The first scene involves Brown going on a sidelines diatribe towards his defense and a player encouraging him to calm down before he has a stroke, to which Brown replies, “I don’t get strokes Mother#######, I GIVE THEM”.   The second scene involves Brown addressing the team at halftime and using a chalkboard diagraming X’s and O’s, with the following gem: “Now you’re dumb enough, so we made it simple enough.  We made this #### real ####ing simple (as he pounds the chalk against the board)”.  Who among us couldn’t use that line at times in corporate America?

Hit me in the comments with your favorite sports movies, the reasons for the favorite and your money quote from the film.  You don't even have to be white, male and GenX to comment, but I suspect many of you will be...


I'm sending fewer emails as time goes by.  Part of that is an incredible ramp in the number or texts I send (see my personal text and data stats here from my smartphone), part of it is the reduced level of immediacy you get from sending email.

People ignore your email.  More to the point, people are overwhelmed by email.  How many times have you stopped by the desk of someone you know is a highly organized individual and observed that they have 5,000+ emails in their inbox?

Two of the most organized people I know have more than that in their inbox.  They're hard to reach via email.  If you want them, you have to go text or phone.  And I'll be damned if they aren't more reachable via text, which speaks volumes about how people are living their lives digitally.

The phone and voice mail gave way to email.  Email is giving way to text and at times, the smart phone (not the desk phone).  

Here's a test to see if someone is even reading your email.  I sent two emails last week to people I work with but don't have deep relationships with.  They have no reason to really prioritize my emails.  

The emails were about normal things.  But I put the body of the email in all caps - it felt like I was screaming and living in a cabin in Wyoming raging against the industrial complex.  The title was not in caps, but was about stuff they would want to know about.  

We're sitting on 7 days.  No one has asked me about the all caps or replied to my email in any way.

Email is dead for a lot of the people you rely on to be engaged.  Run your own caps test and you'll see that I'm right.



ABOUT KEVIN LOVE: When You Recruit A Star, It Makes Sense to Maximize Their Chances For Success...

Let's face it, HR leaders, it's happened to you and your organization. You had a key role available. You helped your organization go out and do what was necessary to get the best talent available.  

Then a funny thing happened - The talent showed up, the scene they walked into at your company was kind of messed up, and the key hire left after two years.

In short, you did a great job on the recruiting front, but your organization and hiring executive failed to think about what changes were necessary to maximize the performance of the key new hire.

As a result, the new hire quickly got out of the honeymoon period and viewed your organization as a dysfunctional circus. You should have planned better.  You're not alone - the Cleveland Cavaliers should have planned better as well. Love meme
Consider these brief notes from Fansided on the on-boarding of Kevin Love, an all-star in professional basketball and recent underperforming, high-paid member of that NBA Franchise:

"In Love’s final season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he posted an incredible 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He was one of the best rebounding big men in the NBA at the time, however, now he is nothing more than LeBron’s sidekick who makes a lot of mistakes.

(Capitalist Note - The Cavaliers traded for Love two years ago, seeking to put a third all star with existing team members Lebron James and Kyrie Irving.  The trade was universally greeted with applause, but Love's performance has been lacking in extreme ways..)

It seems like a perceived notion that the Cavaliers will shop Kevin Love this off-season, especially if they fall short in Game 7. The power forward hasn’t been the same player since being traded to Cleveland, however, that didn’t stop him from signing a $5 year, $113 million deal last summer. Love is set to receive $21.5M, $22.5M, $24M, and $25.5M over the next four seasons, and Cleveland would love to get that off their books.

The Cavaliers would much rather use that money somewhere else and also try to land a more valuable pick in the upcoming draft, even if it’s not a top-five selection.

Cleveland tried to turn Love into what Miami turned Chris Bosh into when LeBron spent four seasons with the Heat. They have him hang on the perimeter where most of his shots come from behind the arc now – 44.9 percent of shots. It has led to a significant decrease in his scoring and rebounding production as a result.

Part of the reason is that’s how big men have to play nowadays, however, the Cavaliers have banished his role in the paint. You rarely see Love post-up down low anymore, he’s used as a kick-out option for a driving teammate. Not only does it not fit his offensive game but it also cuts into his rebounding – the strongest part of his game."

The point to this - and there is one - is that the Cavs were just like your company at its dysfunctional best.  They looked for the best talent available and got the deal done.  Then the high-priced talent showed up, and no one asked the question of what was necessary to get the new hire performing at a high level.  You just gave them an office and expected him or her to figure shit out.

Of course, it's never that easy.  The Cavs opted to give Love a bunch of money.  But Love has a history of playing a certain way, and the Cavs didn't attempt to figure that out at all.  As a result, Love's putting up numbers that the market suggests are worthy of a third of what he's being paid.

The reality is that when you bring a high performer into your organization, you have to ask what you're doing to make sure the company gets the return on that investment.

The Cavs never asked that.  Your company doesn't either.  You just ask the new hire whether they want a Mac or a PC (after all, they're top talent! They deserve that choice!) and leave the rest to them. 

Love touched the ball in Cleveland 25% as much as he touched it in Minnesota.  Are you doing the same thing with a key hire at your company and still expecting them to perform at a star level?


The Smartest "Hot Take" I've Read About the Microsoft Acquisition of LinkedIn...

Microsoft said last week that it would acquire LinkedIn in a $26.2 billion cash deal. The acquisition, by far the largest in Microsoft’s history, unites two companies in different businesses: one a big maker of software tools, the other the largest business-oriented social networking site, with more than 400 million members globally.

As you would expect, there's been a lot of hot takes related to the reasons from the acquisition, the potential of the deal and what happens next.  See my post for 3 ways Microsoft could change the corporate talent scene with LinkedIn by clicking here.  For the most part, everyone's guessing about the impact and what's next.

That's why this post from John Sumser was my favorite take on the Microsoft/LinkedIn deal.  You can always count on John to get deeper than most observers.  Observe and learn:

"The single largest limitation to growth for LinkedIn is the inability to monetize the real value it delivers. LinkedIn preps knowledge workers for the next meeting. It expands  the individual human capacity to recall and interact with others. It shaves time off the warm up cycle in conversations. It creates multiple additional points of stickiness between people who are not so close. This is how non-mediated job hunting works.

The problem for LinkedIn and its struggling stock is that there is no hard cash in this productivity improvement. LinkedIn turned out to be the single greatest monument to PowerPoint dollars – PP$ (those savings and ROIs that only exist in the presentation justifying a large enterprise purchase.) LinkedIn increased individual efficiency in a way that must be worth trillions of PP$."

You can go read the rest of John's post here.  Smart stuff.  Now take a look at LinkedIn's stock since going public (email subscribers click through if you don't see the image):

LinkedIn Chart

LinkedIn's stock dived from 250 to 100 in 4 months as the market started holding it accountable for results in the absence of earnings.  As REO Speedwagon once said, I believe it's time for me to fly.

To John's point, the things that make LinkedIn most valuable are the ones that are impossible to monetize on their own.  But they are things that the right strategic (as well as giant) partner could justify monetizing as part of a deal.

LinkedIn did what they had to do.  Can Microsoft find a way to monetize the real value of LinkedIn?  It's hard to say, but finding ways to unlock the value of LinkedIn that John alludes to  - perhaps across the Office product line and the CRM business - might be the best chance to print those vapor dollars.  

After all, a dollar of retention is cheaper than a dollar of new revenue.

SPORTS AND HR: The 8 Man Rotation - The 2015 Season (Ebook)

For those of you not down with the whole comparing our corporate talent lives to the world of sports thing...

As Eddie Vedder once said, this is not for you...

However, if you see sports news, signings, roster decisions and more through your lens of HR, Talent and/or Recruiting, then do we have an eBook for you...

It's the next installment of the world-famous free Ebook on Sports and HR - The 8 Man Rotation - The 2015 Season.

What is The 8 Man Rotation?

It is a group of my HR pals (and me), Lance HaunTim SackettSteve Boese, and Matt Stollak (me is Kris Dunn) who make it a habit throughout the year serving up the HR/Talent version of the 'hot sports take', helping you to see and then exploit what happens in the sports world in your HR shop.

Compiled and edited by mighty Matt 'akaBruno' Stollak, the 2015 Season is the best yet of all the 8 Man Rotation editions, coming in at a ridiculous 106 pages, all about the intersection of HR, Talent Management, Recruiting, Leadership and sports. And in 2014, we have a great introduction from Talent Pro Paul Hebert as well.

Of course you don't have to read all 106 pages (you should), you can bounce from topic to topic, and article to article, as Matt did a great job organizing a year's worth of sports takes into a coherent volume.

So please check out The 8 Man Rotation - The 2015 Season here - it's worth it! (embedded ebook appears below - click through if you can't see it) 


Get the Best Talent and Get the Hell Out of the Way: What You Can Learn From the Cleveland Cavs...

On Monday, I shared a post titled Evolve and Hire Interchangeable Parts: What You Can Learn From the Golden State Warriors.  The post celebrated the fact that the Warriors have done the math on the impact of the 3 point shot in professional basketball and while constructing a roster of shooters, had also taken care of something just as important - having interchangeable parts that can switch everything on defense.

I wrote that post expecting Golden State to win the title at home on Monday night.  Of course, the Cleveland Cavaliers rode 80+ points from Lebron James and Kyrie Irving to win game 5 and send the series back to Cleveland.

Which begs the question - what can we learn as corporate talent pros from the Cleveland Cavaliers?


  1. Hire the best talent and don't make it complicated.  When the Cavs are at their best, there's not a lot of ball movement - they have 2 transcendent players - James and Irving - and they didn't make it complex - they gave the ball to their best players and got the hell out of the way.
  2. Use your opponent's strategy, find weakness and make it work against them.  The Warriors had their best defender out for the game (Draymond Green on suspension) and the Cavs used the Warriors switching strategy against them - setting picks guarded by the least capable defenders, then letting James and Irving work against that defender 1-on-1.
  3. You probably can't avoid practicing something all year long and have it work when you need it most.  Lebron James has been a poor long distance shooter all year. He's capable, so it's obvious he hasn't put the time in. In game 5, he hit a lot of big shots. Is that a historically great player turning it on when it matters most or a statistical hiccup? History and math suggest it's a hiccup, so unless Lebron can repeat that for the next two games, it's unlikely that the Cavs can come back from down 3-1 to win the title.

But watching Kyrie work in premium mode for 40+ points was fun.  That's unlikely to work again.  But in a hat-tip to Irving, check out the composite video below of his moves in Game 5, plus an Uncle Drew video (his Nike campaign) for good measure (email subscribers click through for video and the ad)...

The best talent wins. But sometimes, the most talented player can beat a team with better overall talent.

3 Ways Microsoft Could Change The Business World Via The LinkedIn Acquisition...

Some of you have seen it, some of you haven't.  After all, you've got jobs to do right?

Microsoft said Monday morning that it would acquire LinkedIn in a $26.2 billion cash deal. The acquisition, by far the largest in Microsoft’s history, unites two companies in different businesses: one a big maker of software tools, the other the largest business-oriented social networking site, with more than 400 million members globally.

Microsoft buys LinkedIn. Kind of a big deal, don't you think?  For you finance wonks, the deal price represents 91 times EBITDA (what?) and about 25% of Microsoft's cash vault.  Hmmmmm.  That's a big bet on the cloud.

But when you start thinking about the possibilities, there's some cool things that Microsoft could do with what they're buying that have a lot of utility. Here's my top 3:

  1. Training - part of the power of the deal is the acquisitions LinkedIn has already done, and one of those areas is training.  Imagine if MS turned on connections to Lynda, the online training company LinkedIn bought a while back, inside MS Office 365.  You've got an employee struggling to complete a necessary but complex formula, and on the 2nd error, MS Office offers up a quick tutorial from lynda.com INSIDE Office.  The exact right micro-training at exactly the right time. Powerful.
  2. Recruiting - Microsoft uses its trove of data to better connect individuals to jobs that are a direct match for them.  Let's say you need an email marketing manager.  Microsoft could use the trove of data at it's fingertips to tell you who's using the Office suite to do things that are directly related to email marketing and what % of their activities are related to that. It then could make offers to those people to take a look at jobs inside LinkedIn that are a direct match for those skills. Lots to work out with employers buying the Office Suite feeling like poaching was going on, but you get the direction.
  3. Organizational Design and Succession - In an application that Microsoft could do without LinkedIn, if you want better data on who's respected and powerful in your organization that transcends their positional authority, look at who's emails, file attachments and other digital bits are being opened, forwarded and responded to in a positive fashion. Keep it simple and rate every employee on a scale of 1-100 with 50 being average.  LinkedIn helps become the reason to do this as every employee with MS Office will surely get a LinkedIn profile automatically.

Read through those opportunities, and Microsoft is really the treasure of data that allows organizations to do interesting things with this acquisition. LinkedIn just becomes the reason to do this as it's hard to believe that every MS Office user won't have a LinkedIn profile moving forward, whether they want it or not.

Those are my top 3 ways Microsoft could use the LinkedIn Acquisition.  What are yours?

Of course, all of these things would have been more powerful if MS had responded better to the emergence of Google Docs.