ADJUST/EVOLVE: The Biggest Thing I've Learned In The Last 5 Years...

Quick thought on a Wednesday.  I've been lucky to have a great career in the world of HR and recruiting.  I've been active on the side in basketball as well.  The two are interconnected when it comes to times that I didn't get the results I wanted.  At work, in projects, on the court, etc.  Here's the common lesson I've learned in both:

When I don't get great results, I can almost always look back and blame myself for not adjusting or evolving quickly enough.  I didn't scrap Plan A quickly enough.  I held onto what worked in the past and didn't experiment with a new approach when performance was flat.

The biggest enemy of sustained success in your career is the success you've already had.  That success makes you hold onto the way you've always done things - even when your present day results are telling you that change is necessary.

It worked before, so it should work now.

Things aren't going well, but if I hang on, it will get better.  My way works.

They're wrong. I'm great.

Your way won't be successful forever. Eventually your competition figures you out, your market tunes you out or you simply become flat in your delivery.  The first time you feel failure with the way you've always done it, maybe it's a fluke.  The second time you feel failure after a great period of success, you should check the crispness of your delivery/plan.  If that detail check doesn't solve it, you probably need to reinvent the way you're approaching your goals.

March Madness is all about survive and advance.  Your career is all about evolve or die.  Or at least evolve or fade away.

Change your approach to something this week.


Get My New Book: THE 9 FACES OF HR...

It's true. I just launched a book and it is selling well. It's called THE 9 FACES OF HR.

If you like reading The HR Capitalist or Fistful of Talent, you're going to like the book and you should buy it. Here's the summary from Amazon for your consideration:

"Popular blogger and CHRO Kris Dunn presents a hard, but compelling reality: every HR professional on the planet can be classified as one of 9 “Faces” based on your
9 facescareer level and your ability to innovate and drive change. The book opens with a behavioral assessment, so readers can quickly identify their own “HR Face” then reveals career tracks, behavioral markers, ROI, macro-trends driving behavior, and market demand for each face. Which face are you? Which one do you want to be? Whether you’re a solo HR pro trying to make your way in the world or an HR leader trying to build a cohesive HR team, this is your no-BS playbook to empowering your HR career and elevating our profession."

I wrote the book because there's been a clear change in what CEOs, other leaders and even your CHRO/VP of HR is looking for when it comes to HR Pros at every career level. The pace of change has never been faster than it is today, and I've seen many of my HR friends hired - and fired - based on the new rules.

Things you'll get if you buy and read this book:

1--Entertainment - You know there's going to be snark.  I can't write any other way.  As I dig into some serious stuff, there's going to be some riffs and rants. I'm weaving pop culture through HR-related stories on people like Drake, Elon Musk and the CHRO at Uber, as well as leading every chapter with a related quote from a cast of characters including Lady Gaga, Oprah, Dirty Harry and Kanye. This is a serious book, but I'll be damned if I'm going to bore you.

2--A better understanding the changing HR marketplace in terms of innovation, change management and adding value.  Sh*t's changing fast for us in the world of HR, I've got your back with my model and notes.

3--My model for The 9 Faces of HR is based on a 9-Box grid - You'll see how career level mixed with cognitive/behavioral dimensions (such as assertiveness, rules orientation, detail orientation, etc.) converge to shape one's work world-view and determines which face you are.

4--You'll learn the details/profile on each of the “Nine Faces of HR” and have a blast identifying yourself, as well as thinking about which face the HR pros around you are (the ones you love, the ones you hate and everything in between).

5--Most importantly - You'll gain awareness of how others around you perceive your HR capability and get ready for change happening around you, regardless of your profile.

At the end of the day, The 9 Faces of HR is a guidebook for your career in the world's best profession - HR.  I love HR so much, I wrote this book to prevent you from getting hurt by the change swirling around us in the business world - and to help you reach your career goals - however ambitious they may be!

Buy The 9 Faces of HR on Amazon by clicking here

See the current reviews on my book on Amazon by clicking here

Note - someone pinged me looking for non-Amazon options, so here's a few:

Barnes&Noble.com

Books-A-Million

IndieBound

Target

Walmart

Google Express

eBay - grandeagleretail


The #1 Way For Recruiters To Build Creditability With Candidates...

If a recruiter is good at what they do, they'll talk to a lot of people in a given week.

Some of those conversations are short, some are long. There's a variety of information traded between candidate and recruiter - it's a two-way exchange. Phone

But some recruiters are better at building credibility with candidates, which further results in trust, transparency and most importantly - great information.

The #1 way recruiters can build creditability with great candidates is pretty simple:

Great recruiters always include an examination of whether the job is right for the candidate - AS A PART OF THE CONVERSATIONS THEY HAVE WITH THE CANDIDATE.

The intent and meaning behind proactively examining whether a proposed career move makes sense with the candidate is simple:

1--You don't want quick churn as a recruiter, so it make sense to the get the candidate's view of the opportunity, judging what they value most about job in question.

More importantly, here's what making the time to talk about career arc means to the candidate:

2--You're not a transactional recruiter looking to slam bodies into a company. You're looking for true fit.

3--You care enough about candidates that you don't want them to take a step back in what they're trying to accomplish.

Does building creditability with candidates in this way really matter?  That depends on the type of talent you're trying to recruit.  All recruiting is tough in a peak economic cycle, but recruiting entrenched candidates is difficult at best.

If you're looking to hire someone with a lot of options, building creditability as a recruiter could be the most important factor in them making a decision to move from their current company.  You always have imperfect information when you make a career move, so having a recruiter helping you analyze whether a move makes sense is not only comforting, but a competitive advantage.

Of course, if you're recruiting candidates from the lowest of tiers, maybe building creditability doesn't matter to you. 

Good luck with that.


The Cold-Blooded Art of Owning/Getting In Front of Huge Career Mistakes...

Let's face it. If you're in the game and playing to win. you're going to have some failures. Sh*t that goes sideways. 

"Regrettable situations", as I like to refer to them. Keep-me-posted

I like to think Teddy Roosevelt had it right at the turn of the last century when he gave a speech widely known as "The Man In The Arena".  It goes a little something like this:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

TL;DR: People who aren't making sh*t happen shouldn't be allowed to criticize. At worst, we shouldn't listen to those who have never put themselves out there via risk-taking in their own careers.

It's easy to play it safe. But that's what gives birth to boring careers, tract housing and underfunded 401ks.  Whether you're playing to win for a greater cause or you just think careers and the rewards that go with them are the ultimate scoreboards of life, Roosevelt's "Arena" is as true today as it was in 1910.

If you're in the arena, it's going to get messy.  Failure will be in your neighborhood.

So let's talk a little bit about the spin cycle necessary when you do fail, or when your underperformance isn't widely known, but could be held against you by your enemies, or at least those who view you as standing in the way of their own career progress.

Scenario: You're working on an important project. Things aren't going well and some of your co-workers understand (correctly, I might add) that an important client contact has grown to dislike you (this could be either an external or internal client). It seems that in repping the best course of action, you try to play hardball with this individual when they were blocking your progress, and they didn't take kindly to being told what to do/leveraged/semi-threatened.  Now the words out on the street by those in the know - you're in trouble on this project, and while it likely won't destroy your career, it certainly doesn't help.

To make matters worse, you've got people in your own company/department gossiping about this personal sh*t show that you're at least partly responsible for.  As with most gossip, it starts among those who would most like to see you fail and who haven't done 1/4 of what you've done for your company (see Teddy's speech).

Still, it's a problem. You've underperformed, and people are talking.  The good news is that the people who matter most in your career (your boss, perhaps your boss's boss) aren't yet aware.

That's what this post is for. You've got a choice to make, and here are your options:

1--Do your best to muddle though the situation and hope it doesn't explode on you, taking the equivalent of your right leg from a career perspective at your company.

2--Get to the person you wronged and try to make it right.

3--Execute on a policy of no surprises to your boss (as well as proactive disarming of those who would position themselves as your enemy), hitting him/her with the reality of the situation and generally getting in front of bad things.

Most people choose option #1.  Just play the string out and hope for the best.  The weakest view option #2 as the best path, but for purposes of this exercise, I'm assuming you blew that person up for a good reason - they were being unreasonable in their blocking of what needed to happen, etc.

It's option #3 that most true Alphas use - getting in front of bad news and taking the leverage away from all who wish them harm.

I'm reminded of this art by this post from Jeff Bezos of Amazon (No Thank You, Mr. Pecker) - which details the fact that the National Enquirer was blackmailing him under the threat of releasing partially nude and totally nude photos of him that he supposedly had sent to his girlfriend/mistress - to influence him to call off his investigation of why his personal life had earlier come under much scrutiny.

I'll let you go read the Bezos post.  As it turns out, the richest man in the world is probably a bad person to blackmail.

But back to you and me, and our more pedestrian careers. When things go sideways and sharks are circling, it's probably always best to get in front of the bad news with the people who control your career - for the following reasons:

A--The cover up always feels worse than the actual situation.

B--When you tell those that matter, you can control the narrative.

C--Important people with power (those that control your career) hate surprises and being embarrassed.

Do you really want those that want to stick it to you to control that initial narrative?  Of course you don't.

You got sideways on a piece of work. Nobody died. Be a player and march into the office of power, let them know about it and tell them what you're thinking about doing to fix it.

Then ask for their advice. People who believe in you love to be asked for advice when you're having trouble.

Game. Set. Match.  Haters who watch others (you) play in the arena - be gone.


Helping Unemployed/Underemployed People Is Part of Your Job...

If you're like me in the world of HR and recruiting, you get asked for career help as a normal rite of passage. For me, it's tough because there's only so much you can do to help people find opportunities outside of the company you work for.

That process can make you jaded in the world of HR. People think you're more connected than you are, and as a result, you're going to get more of these inquiries than the average person.

But you matter more than you realize, even when you can't help as much as you'd like.  I recently caught up with another HR leader I ran into by chance in our community.  A few years back, she was down but I had references that said she was talented. I introduced her to 5 people I thought might be able to help her in her career.  None of those contacts generated the lead she needed, but she eventually landed on her feet.  Flash forward to our chance meeting a month or two ago - we caught up, and she was borderline emotional about how I helped her, even if it didn't result in the lead that got her the current role.

It's the long tail of career assistance for you and me as HR and recruiting pros. Treat all with respect, do what you can, and underpromise and overdeliver. The results don't matter as much as your empathy and intent.

I've been fortunate to have had a role in helping to start/build some great careers across the direct reports I've had over the years.

Then I get this note yesterday. Take a look and see you below:

--------

From: Kevin
Date: Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 6:02 PM
To: Kris Dunn 
Subject: Hey old friend

KD!

Hope all is well in your world.  I was at lunch with some customers today and we all told our stories of how we wound up in the wireless industry.  

SO... I got to tell them the story one more time about you "lighting me up" in that pickup basketball game in early 1995. Who would ever think a chance thrashing on the basketball court would lead to a new friend and a great career? 

Thanks for all you did to help me get started. I learned so much from you and have tried to replicate as much as possible by helping as many people as possible network and find jobs, especially when they find themselves without one.

I hope things are going good for you and yours! God Bless!

Kevin

---------

I was just starting my career when I met Kevin.  Like you, I have a great bullshit filter, and he was a real person with humility and ambition. So I referred him into the company I worked for and we became co-workers.

The rest is history.  Kevin's built a career in that industry long after I left.  And I get this random email on a Thursday evening, 23 years later.

You have a lot more impact than you know. The next time someone reaches out to you for career help, be patient.  They need you and their expectations are managed.  

Be empathetic and do what you can.  There but for the grace of god, go I.

They need you.  Remember the long tail that exists with this part of your job and identity. Every time you push away the voice in your head that says you don't have time or can't help and provide an ear, everyone wins.

Including you.

 


Call Up The Co-Worker or Boss You Used to Hate and Tell Them You Understand...

We've all had alpha personality co-workers or bosses we couldn't connect with.  

They were overbearing. They had to do it their way. They were too far in the weeds and hyper-critical of your work.  You didn't like them. Hate's a strong word, dislike is not.

So you ran away and got the hell out.  Time to do your own thing. 

Then a funny thing happened. You grew up, got promoted a couple of times and found yourself being a lot like them.  You didn't notice the similarities until you had a flash point with a direct report.  Then it hit you:

"OMG. I've become what I used to hate."

That's probably true. But the failure didn't happen today, it happened with the younger version of yourself.  You didn't know how hard it was to run the show. 

Need an example?  How about Kyrie Irving of pro basketball's Boston Celtics? Kyrie is infamous for running away from the demanding, badgering, bitchy shadow of Lebron James, requesting a trade after winning a NBA Title with Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017.

Now he's around a bunch of youngsters with the Celtics and feels like the parent Lebron tried to be to him. So he called Lebron to tell him he finally grew up, and apologized for being a bratty kid.  More from ESPN:

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said that in the wake of his outbursts at coach Brad Stevens and forward Gordon Hayward on the court at the end of Saturday's loss at the Orlando Magic and pointed criticisms of Boston's young players afterward, he called LeBron James and apologized for the way he handled criticism from James when the two were teammates in Cleveland.

"Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call [LeBron] and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold," Irving said after scoring 27 points and dishing out a career-high 18 assists in Boston's 117-108 home victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. "I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.

"[LeBron] was one of those guys who came to Cleveland and tried to show us how to win a championship, and it was hard for him, and sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world."

Some of the people you used to hate were bad people. Some were good people trying to keep the wheels on the bus as it rolled along at 150 mph and were better than you gave them credit for.

Now that you're running things, you should reach out to the latter group and tell them you appreciate them - if only belatedly.

It might be the start of an important relationship you need professionally.


HR HATER WEEK: Why Passive HR People Fail to Deal With The Problem...

Capitalist Note: This week is HR Haters week at the Capitalist. Let's ID the personas out there who don't respect HR and figure out how to deal with them.  See the first two posts in this series here and here.

------------------------

THE PASSIVE BEHAVIOR YOU’LL SEE ON YOUR TEAM RELATED TO DEALING WITH HR HATERS

If you’re reading this series, you’re either an alpha or would like to become an alpha. The same is not true for your team. One of the reasons I wanted to do this series on HR Haters is that is our profession is full of behavioral profiles that drive the way we respond to clients. Haters

Tell me if you see yourself or your team in any of the following passive paths taken with people who question (aka, HR Haters the validity of HR:

1--HR is service oriented, therefore we tell ourselves the customer is always right. It’s pure rationalization, of course. The customer of HR is not always right, we’ve just got a cross section of people who would rather not think about the alternatives.

2--HR fails to confront people doing bad things and begging forgiveness. The alternative to the customer always being right, of course, if to first confront the general sense of lawlessness. It doesn’t matter what could come next, if you’re unwilling to confront, the next step never comes. And the craziness continues.

3--HR fails to negotiate a middle ground with HR Haters. HR is great at a lot of things. Negotiation is not one of those things. The solution is often as simple as confronting, then negotiating. More on this fun fact later.

4--HR fails to understand all the tools at their disposal to play offense with those who dare to question the function’s credibility. Some HR leaders are political masters, Machiavellian in their daily craft. But others are unwilling to do what it takes to wrestle control of the organization.

Dealing with HR Haters is - at times - about that political wrestling match. Recognize any of these behaviors on your team? You’ve got great people on your team, but many of them are uncomfortable with activity that at times feels like confrontation.

As luck would have it, willingness to confront is the only consistent factor that converts a HR Hater to a friend/colleague of you/the profession – at least someone who respects the function.

Be careful out there.  But not too careful.


HR HATER WEEK: How the People Who Hate HR Will Stick It You...

Capitalist Note: This week is HR Haters week at the Capitalist. Let's ID the personas out there who don't respect HR and figure out how to deal with them.

HOW THE PEOPLE WHO HATE HR WILL STICK IT TO YOU

The first thing you must realize about the people who hate HR is that it’s never personal. If someone hates HR, those feelings were solidified long before you came on the scene. There’s a chance you’re awesome.

The downside of being awesome in HR is that you’re expecting business leaders/managers of people around you to see your talent. Most of them won’t. That’s why you need to be able to spot how HR haters are running around you to do their bidding, run fast and at times, perform at a lower level than they would have if they would have included you.

Here’s the behaviors to be on the lookout for as the people who hate HR attempt to avoid you and your team.

--Make employment decisions without consulting you. They just do it. Begging forgiveness and thinking you’re so weak you can’t check them. They’re daring you to do something about it.

--Give counsel to their direct reports about people issues without having them check in with you. They’re the expert, not you. You’ll slow them down. They move fast. Rationalization: They run the business, you don’t.

--Use outside resources without giving you the chance to provide service. Whether it’s training, recruiting or another service, when they have a need for service they don’t even think about you – they call an outside expert.

--Talk s**t about you and your team to others not yet in the hating camp. Business conversations happen everywhere in your company. The HR haters are always quick to scoff at your team’s ability to handle things beyond payroll, which impacts your reputation in organization.

--Run their own HR related sessions (think succession planning) without your help. A favorite of the “Reader of Best-Selling Business Books” profile, HR haters with maximum confidence love to run their own HR processes within their departments and functions. They must be stopped.

--Attack HR’s credibility when confronted. After dealing with assorted bullsh**t from these haters, the strongest among you will be compelled to confront them. Don’t expect them to be contrite, the first thing they’ll do is go on the attack.

Life isn't about the haters of HR, but in order to maximize yourself from a career perspective, you have to identify and understand the haters to be able to deal with them. That would be easy if it were just you. But most of you have an HR team, which increases the complexity of the situation to the level of Space X landing a reusable rocket segment on a landing pad in an ocean.

Good luck!


HR HATER WEEK: Identifying People Who Hate HR...

Capitalist Note: This week is HR Haters week at the Capitalist. Let's ID the personas out there who don't respect HR and figure out how to deal with them.

-----------------------------

I’ve been in HR for over 20 years. I’m somewhat of an expert on people who hate HR. Haters

For the youngsters reading this post, I’m sorry. You’re full of hope and energy and you’re going to do great things. But I’m here to tell you there are people who will try to kick you in the groin/slap you in the face simply because you’re an HR pro. Those people suck.

This post and series is about figuring out who they are and how to deal with them.

IDENTIFYING PEOPLE WHO HATE HR

Whether you’re a HR leader of a Fortune 500 HR team or a solo practitioner in a company with 100 employees, you’ve got people in your company who hate HR. Hate might be a strong word. They hold your profession in contempt. They view you as a secretary with a policy manual.

No, on second thought, they hate you. They hate you because they view you as one of several things based on their viewpoint:

--A no talent hack

--A blocker impeding them from doing whatever they want to do

--Someone who doesn’t know as much about people-related issues as they do

--The source of more work for them and 6 new passwords they must remember based on your commitment to “best in breed” HR technology solutions.

Maybe you can solve that last one by running a workshop to show people how Chrome can automatically save passwords for future automated use, right? Wrong. They won’t attend your workshop because they loathe you. Let’s cover the type of people who hate HR via the following list:

1-- The Control Freak – Sally’s a control freak. She’s a really smart person, has 10-20 years of experience in her non-HR functional areas as has a hard time giving up control, which is code for the fact she can’t collaborate beyond allowing her assistant to order lunch from Chipotle. She’ll be damned if she’s going to let you horn in on her hiring process for her next departmental hire.

2-- The Power Broker – The close cousin of the control freak, Rick’s a power broker which means he’s learned multiple times in his career that getting HR involved in his business just slows him down. There’s rules, policies and various other distractions, and Rick just needs to execute. As a result of his experiences, Rick has learned that it’s far better to beg for forgiveness than to ask you for permission. He has a smirk on the rare occasion he thinks of calling you, right before he tells his minions there’s no need to reach out to HR.

3-- The Victim of Bad HR – Jean’s an executive in your company. She grew up in a very conservative organization with a basic HR team that did payroll, fired people and did recruiting via the post and pray model. Every two years, the HR function at her old company attempted to move upstream and it always failed, causing Jean to trust HR as much as her ex-husband who ran around on her.

4-- The Reader of Best Selling Business Books – Bobby is a young Director-level talent in your company. During his rise from the associate level, Bobby experienced two things – he didn’t consider the HR team to be helpful or his peers, and he started reading best-selling business books like The Five Dysfunctions of the Team. He’s all in on the management trends he’s reading about and has asked some members of your team if they’ve read the books. When they say they haven’t, it just solidifies Bobby’s belief that he’s got a better view on how to manage talent than your HR team.

Are the thoughts of any of these people true related to HR? That’s complicated. If you’re reading this post and looking inward at the HR function, it’s likely that you’re part of the solution, not part of the problem. Unfortunately, most of you read the profiles and thought something along the lines of, “yeah, that person has totally worked with Margie.”

Margie is someone you work(ed) with in HR. She’s the person all of the HR haters love to point to.

Dammit, Margie – get your s**t together.


It's "Falling Into HR" Week at the HR Capitalist...

I've decided that it's "Falling Into HR" Week here at the HR Capitalist.

I'm up over at Fistful of Talent today with a post called, "ABSOLUTELY NO ####### ONE GROWS UP DREAMING OF A CAREER IN HR." to start the series.

I think for the most part, it's true that most people fall into our profession. It doesn't mean you shouldn't be in HR though.  A taste of that post appears below, head over to Fistful of Talent to see the entire missive.

And come back this week, of course, for more insights on falling into HR.

-------------------------------

FALLING INTO HR IS THE NORM, NOT THE EXCEPTION

Here’s a non-comprehensive list of other things people fall into:

–Love

–Heroin addiction

–A bad relationship

–Lucky circumstances in life

–Debt

–Scientology

–A habit of eating a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream at 9 pm nightly.

That list tells you falling into things can be a blessing and a curse – it’s all relative to the outcome. From my experience talking to the talented high performers who make up the world of HR, here are some common ways people “fall” into HR without a real plan to enter the function that’s loved and hated by so many:

1–I started from the bottom now I’m here. You are a bootstrapper! Right out of college, these people took entry-level roles in our function, usually doing transactions as an HR Coordinator, Payroll Specialist or similar role. They enjoyed the function and in many cases, rose to run the whole damn thing. HR pros who find themselves entering the function in this manner have the greatest opportunity for career path growth in HR with small and medium-sized businesses.

Head over to Fistful of Talent to get the rest of the ways people "fall" into HR.  I bet you'll find yourself in one those profiles.