Minimum Viable Product in the World of HR...

If there's one thing that HR could do better at, it's caring less about being perfect and shipping more HR product.

You see it all the time in the world of HR. We have big plans. Those big plans include the need for project planning, for meetings, vendor selection and deep thoughts.  After awhile, the process takes over the original intent, which was trying to serve a need and make the people processes of our company just a little bit better. MVP

We chase big, risk adverse, "get everyone on board" type of wins.  The development of those big wins can stretch into a year - no make that two years - of prep.  

What we ought to be chasing more is Minimal Viable Product, which in the software industry gets defined as this:

minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.

A minimum viable product has just enough core features to effectively deploy the product, and no more. Developers typically deploy the product to a subset of possible customers—such as early adopters thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information. This strategy targets avoiding building products that customers do not want and seeks to maximize information about the customer per amount of money spent.

I'm looking at you, Workday.  You're on notice, SAP.  We love the big solution in the world of HR.  But the risk of big failure goes up astronomically when implementation plans are more than 120 days and your own HR team hates the product - after 18 months of work to "customize" "configure" it.

Of course, we'd be a lot better off if we would simply either design/buy the simplest solution to a problem we think needs fixing by HR.  To be clear, you can buy or design these minimalistic solutions.  Which way you go depends a lot on what you are trying to fix/improve.  The general rule of thumb is this related to the following types of HR "needs":

--Technology - always buy. Find the simplest solution you like, buy for the shortest term possible and roll the solution out.  If you prove the use case and gain adoption, you can always seek to upgrade to something more complex, but if it fails, initially buying simple is the smart play. Recruiting, performance and system of record tech falls into the "buy" category.

--Teach - You're buying a tech solution for early forays into Learning and Development?  You're kidding me, right? You know that you may build this and no one will come, right? You also know that the type of training you're generally asked for (manager and leadership training, etc.) is an area where you're the expert, right? hmmm....

--Process - You never buy process initially - you build.  You never spend money on a consultant to help you in any area before you  - the HR leader - has your own hot take related to what you want in this area.  

Thinking in a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) way is simple.  For tech buys, If you're first generation HR (no tech has existed), you should always find the simplest solution you like, buy for the shortest term possible and roll the solution out.   Figure out what's usable and what's not.  See this article from me for Best in Breed vs Suite considerations.  Open API's mean you have limited worries about tying all the data together.  Let's face it, you've got to grow up your HR function before you were going to use that data anyway.  Buy small and learn.  Maybe your v 2.0 tech solution is an upgrade to a more advanced provider.  But you don't by the BMW when you're kid is learning to drive - you buy the used Camry.

Here's some lighting round notes on what Minimal Viable Product looks like in HR - for some specific areas/pain points:

--Manager/Leadership Training - You want to shop big and bring in an entire series from an outsourced partner.  The concept of MVP says you should listen to the needs, then bootstrap a 2-hour class together on your own.  At the very least, you order a single module of training from a provider (I like this one)and walk before you run.

--Redesigning Recruiting Process - Put the Visio chart down, Michelle.  Dig into a job that represents a big area of challenge at your company and become the recruiter for that job for a month.  Manage it like a project and be responsible personally for the outcomes.  Nobody cares about your Visio chart - yet. They would love the personal attention you give them.  Once you run a single, meaningful search in a experimental/different way, you'll have real world stories and experience to create a <shudder> Visio chart that's based on reality.

Doing Minimal Viable Product in HR means you plan less, get to doing, run the action you're taking through a cycle and evaluate.  If it works, build on the 2.0 version with a bit more complexity.  MVP in HR means you ship more product that's lighter than what's traditionally come out of your office.

Get busy shipping more HR product.  Plan less. Play the Minimal Viable Product game and if you're going to fail, fail quickly.

 


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.


HR Spotify: Fast and Furious Soundtrack Songs, Ranked...

In case you missed it - I did the following review of a Netflix documentary - Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.  Go read that and watch that Netflix joint.  But at the end of that post, I let my readers know that if anyone could give me a Ja Rule song (one of the organizers of the Fyre Festival that went so wrong), I'd give them the proper recognition in this space and at Fistful of Talent.

Turns out, I have a lot of Ja Rule knowledge amongst my reader base.  Among those offering up a Ja Rule song for reference - Jess, akaBruno, E, HR mime and HR footprints, and that's Fastjust those brave enough to own Ja Rule knowledge with a comment - also got a bunch of emails.

All this Ja Rule talk took me to the topic of the Fast and Furious movie franchise. If you need an explanation of what is is, click the link to the left.  Turns out, Ja Rule has done quite a bit of music for the F&F series.

That made me want to provide the following: Fast and Furious Soundtrack Songs, Ranked.  Spoiler alert - Ja Rule made it, if only because my readers have a s**t ton of Ja Rule knowledge.

HR disclaimer: I'm not accountable for the language in any of these songs. Check your kid's or nephew's playlist before you wag the finger at me.

See the Spotify playlist I made for my hard charging HR pros below (email subscribers, click through to the site if you don't see it).

As always, these rankings are unscientific, unresearched, highly subjective, and 100% accurate. Use at your own risk.

To the list of Fast and Furious Soundtrack Songs, Ranked:

10--Ja Rule feat. Lil Mo & Vita "Put It On Me" (Remix)
The Fast & The Furious (2001) - I had to put Ja Rule in, so here we are.  I'm told that this classic Ja Rule love song not only represented the romance of the first Fast film while capturing the urgency and vulnerability of the respective couples in the movie.  It just made me think he sounds a lot like DMX. 

9--Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth “See You Again”
Furious 7 (2015) - In the wake of the tragic death of leading man Paul Walker in 2013, the somber melody of this hip-hop ballad was an appropriate farewell tune that grew to become a smash.  Can't do the list without this one. I'm putting it at 9 because I like energy in my F&F cuts and this is chill.  RIP, PW.

8 -Teriyaki Boys "Tokyo Drift"
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) - I heard they’re doing some crazy **** in Tokyo. This song is by Teriyaki Boyz, a Japanese hip-hop collective that worked with just about every important producer 10 years ago. I don’t think they’re making music anymore, but I could be wrong.  This cut gets included as Tokyo Drift is DISRESPECTED in the F&F series since they didn't use the original cast.  I think Lucas Black is dope.

7 - Bad Meets Evil "Fast Lane"
Fast and Furious 6 (2013) - Dark horse entry to this list, Bad vs Evil is comprised of Royce da 5'9" and Eminem, with this track included in the Extended First Look trailer for Fast & Furious 6.  Great music in the track and it's gotten around, as it was featured on both the soundtracks of the 2011 film Real Steel, and on 2K Sports' NBA 2K12. The track was also used for HBO's Entourage season 8 trailer and for the Final Fantasy XV trailer "Ride Together'

6--NBA (Never Broke Again) Youngboy "Murder"
Fate of the Furious (2017) - Okay, this is a bit of a cheat. This song was a hit before they decided to put it on the soundtrack and it barely even has anything to do with aftermarket parts. Not my scene, but shoutout to the kids who listen to this stuff today, they all love NBA YoungBoy. Filthy lyrics. Don't listen if easily offended.

5--Limp Bizkit, Method Man, Redman, Swizz Beatz, & DMX "Rollin’ (Urban Assault Vehicle)"
The Fast & The Furious (2001) - Out of the more intense records throughout the franchise’s history, this one is top-five material. The original chart topper, “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)” was already an icon nu-metal smash, but with the help of Swizz Beatz, it has more of a club feel. Fun Fact: “Rollin (Air Raid Vehicle)” was featured in the Fast & The Furious film while its hip-hop remix was only on the soundtrack.

4--Saliva "Click, Click, Boom"
More Fast & Furious (2001) - “Click, Click, Boom” is an iconic nu-metal smash of the early 2000s. The extreme intensity from the M-Town band allows their radio smash mesh with The Fast & The Furious’ rugged and raw energy perfectly.  Of course the white guy is following up Limp Bizkit with Saliva.  

3- Lil Uzi Vert and Travis Scott "Go Off"
Fate of the Furious (2017) - If you're old and trying to represent, your safest choice is ALWAYS Lil Uzi Vert and Travis Scott - hard to go wrong with that duo. Thus, they make the list.

2--Wiz Khalifa & 2 Chainz “We Own It”         
Fast & Furious 6 (2013) - Wiz and 2 Chainz deliver the goods here. 2 Chainz probably appears with the hologram of Conway Twitty next, because he's everywhere. Can't listen without humming along.

1--Ludacris “Act A Fool”
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) - Luda’s first entry in the Fast & Furious franchise was an outlandish banger that flooded the airwaves and MTV consistently back in ’03. This was also at the height of his career, when his Chicken-n-Beer album was making waves at the same time.  This cut is so Fast and Furious I'd list it 10 times, but that would be boring.  If you have time for one song to capture the essence of Fast and Furious, this one is it.

Disagree? Have something to add?  You're probably wrong, but hit me with your views in the comments.


The Wall Street Journal's Crappy Take on Glassdoor Reviews....

As I've said before in this space, I'm aware of your take on Glassdoor as an HR pro.  YOU HATE IT.

I get it.  Shout it out loud!  The Wall Street Journal did a nice article last week saying you hate it so much, you might be a bit unethical in terms of how you deal with it.

More from the Wall Street Journal below, then I've got the commentary you expect after the jump:

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

An analysis of millions of anonymous reviews posted on Glassdoor’s site identified more than 400 companies with unusually large single-month increases in reviews. Some companies, including Elon Musk’s rocket company Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and software giant SAP SE , have had multiple spikes.

During the vast majority of these surges, the ratings were disproportionately positive compared with the surrounding months, the Journal’s analysis shows.

Glassdoor

In the Journal’s analysis, five-star ratings collectively made up 45% of reviews in the months where the number of reviews jumped, compared with 25% in the six months before and after. While it isn’t possible to determine from the data alone what caused each spike, a statistical test shows the likelihood that so many would skew positive by chance is highly improbable.

Well-known names with large spikes included messaging-app developer Slack Technologies Inc., professional-networking site LinkedIn, health insurer Anthem Inc., household-products maker Clorox Co. and Jack Daniel’s maker Brown-Forman Corp.

Spokespeople for Slack, LinkedIn and Anthem said their companies have encouraged employees to give feedback. A Brown-Forman spokeswoman said it doesn’t have a formal strategy to solicit reviews. Clorox didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In some cases, companies have encouraged loyal employees to post reviews as part of a publicity campaign. SpaceX and SAP, for example, galvanized employees to leave reviews to make Glassdoor’s annual ranking of the “Best Places to Work.”

Other companies, including Guaranteed Rate, have pressured employees to write positive reviews in order to raise poor ratings, according to interviews with current and former employees.

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

Who's ready to rant? THIS GUY.

You should go read the whole article, because the data analysis alone is solid and research based.  My biggest observations are as follows:

1--The implication of the WSJ article is that employers are gaming the system.  No, you know what games the system? CREATING A PLATFORM WHERE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE NATURALLY INCLINED TO ENGAGE ARE THOSE WITH AN AXE TO GRIND.  Damn, WSJ, can I at least a paragraph about the dubious nature of the Glassdoor business model before you start blaming employers?

2--The WSJ article never mentions that the business model of Glassdoor is to call up struggling employers and offer to help them.  Some call this extortion.  I don't (wink! note to Glassdoor legal).

3--The WSJ never gets to the fact that Glassdoor packages and services in the "offer of help" mentioned above basically does the same thing as the WSJ is accusing employers of.  GD helps employers get their head around how to raise ratings, and that means proactive campaigns to get positive reviews in.

4--FYI, remind me why we would ask a disgruntled employee to proactively do a Glassdoor review?

5--The chart you see above - the one that shows 5-star ratings on Glassdoor growing from 17% of all review submitted in 2013 to 28% of all reviews in 2019 - is EMPLOYERS REFUSING TO BE USED AND ABUSED BY THE GLASSDOOR PLATFORM.

Yeah, WSJ, we asked some employees that don't hate us to do some reviews.  Do better reporting and you'll understand why.

Signed, KD


Netflix for HR: The Fyre Festival Documentary & Your Employment Brand...

From time to time, I like to be your HR commentator related to your Netflix queue.  

With that in mind, I have a must watch for you - Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

This documentary is a primer on two things:

1--How to market and get buzz - which has implications for your employment and cultural brand at your company.

2--The peril of overpromising and underdelivering related to what's possible at your company.

Let's start with the following description of the Fyre Festival from WikiPedia:

The Fyre Festival was a music festival scheduled to take place on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma over two weekends in April and May 2017.

Organized by Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule as a luxury music festival to promote the Fyre music booking app, the event was promoted on Instagram by "social media influencers" including socialite and model Kendall Jenner, model Bella Hadid, model and actress Emily Ratajkowski, and other media personalities, many of whom did not initially disclose they had been paid to do so. During the Fyre Festival's inaugural weekend, the event experienced problems related to security, food, accommodations and artist relations. Eventually, the festival was indefinitely postponed after some attendees had arrived, finding tents and prepackaged sandwiches, instead of the luxury villas and gourmet meals they had been promised when they paid thousands of dollars for admission.

As a result, the organizers are the subject of at least eight lawsuits, several seeking class action status, and one seeking more than $100 million in damages. The cases accuse the organizers of defrauding ticket buyers. On June 30, 2017, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged McFarland with one count of wire fraud. In March 2018, he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud to defraud investors and a second count to defraud a ticket vendor. On October 11, 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to forfeit US $26 million for wire fraud.

Two documentaries about the events of the festival were released in 2019. Hulu released an original documentary, Fyre Fraud, on January 14, 2019. On January 18, Netflix released Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

More of my readers have Netflix than Hulu, so I'm focused on the Netflix Documentary covering Fyre.  Here's the trailer (email subscribers click through if you don't see the video below):

The Netflix documentary is worth 90 minutes of your time.  It's world class seminar on how to use video, imagery and social to create buzz and demand.  One of the things you'll find as you watch is that the organizers of Fyre created demand from thin air by paying influencers (models) to come to the Bahamas for a long weekend and shoot hours of video.  Once they had that raw footage in the bag, they created the promo video below (again, click through to site if you don't see the video below).

Once they had the video, the 20+ influencers in the campaign all posted an orange tile on Instagram with a link to the festival registration page. The festival sold out in 10 hours, and the rest of the show is how it all went to hell.

I like this Netflix special for my HR and recruiting flock for the following reasons:

1--Most of you aren't doing enough to showcase the positives to your employment brand.

2--There's some best practices you can learn from the Fyre Festival.  The imagery gets you thinking...

3--It's clear that Fyre overpromised and dramatically underdelivered.

4--Most of you will treat that as a cautionary tale to keep doing nothing when it comes to being a promoter or marketer of your employment brand.  That would be a mistake.

Have fun watching the Netflix joint on the Fyre Festival. Be in awe of how wrong everything went.  

Then get off your butt and start figuring out a way to market your company better.  Learn from some masters without becoming ethically challenged - or in jail.

BONUS - name 1 Ja Rule song without looking it up and I'll give you a mention on this blog and Fistful of Talent.


Nothing Says "Sell Your Stocks" More Than Corporate Events That Feature This...

You know you're living in a peak economic cycle when you go to a corporate event, and the entertainment rivals old Rome in the Coliseum. 

Lions. Tigers. Potential loss of life.  ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Email subscribers, click through to the site if you don't  see the Instagram video embedded below. OC Tanner, by all counts a fine, outstanding recognition firm (trying like everyone else in the game to become a cloud-based technology firm) had an analyst event last September in Snowbird, UT.

The video is of some ski stunt jumpers doing something like 15 flips in a row - no snow, so they land in a pool of water.

An HR Capitalist correspondent was there and met at least one of the jumpers, who was on the last US Winter Olympic team.

Post recession, you had a crappy DJ at your company event.

Peak economic cycle? You better get an Olympian risking his life for the mob to the tune of Ozzy's Crazy Train.  After all, that transition to becoming a cloud-based company just doesn't happen. Bells and whistles are needed.

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?  Make sure you pick up our goodie bag with a t-shirt and a flash drive before you leave the park.

And yes, we all saw this and left our investment accounts in 90% equities.  No shocker the market dropped hard in Q4 when we saw this at the end of Q3.


One Way To Turn an Unexpected Resignation into a PR Win...

If there's one cool thing about my career, it's that I'm surrounded by masters.  People doing great things. Leaders.. wait for it.. leading.  Innovation everywhere.

And when required, the best people I'm surrounded by aren't afraid to play a little hardball.  The kind Board room of hardball that's not afraid (when you're out of line and the company might get hurt) to throw a 105 mile per hour fastball at someone's upper extremity.

Because, you know - they had it coming.

Case in point.  A CEO friend of mine (Knowledge Management company, appox 1500 FTEs) recently had a high-level resignation on her team. Here's the specs of the situation: The spot being vacated was an important role, and the incumbent gave her no notice that they were thinking about leaving, although the division being managed was struggling. The incumbent had actually been put in place to turn around the struggling division, transferred into the role as a high potential with the capability of getting the turnaround done.

Then the incumbent resigned. My friend thought about that for 12 hours, then released an org announcement to the rest of the company that did the following:

  1. Announced the news that the leader was leaving.
  2. Thanked the incumbent for their service.
  3. Announced the leader who was taking over the struggling division in the interim, and maybe forever.
  4. Talked openly and honestly about the challenges the new leader would have, with hard detail about the divisional earnings issues that had become more negative in the last quarter before the resigning leader called it quits.
  5. Say "bye" and hoped everyone had a great week.

Did you catch it? Did you see how my friend took her negative situation and framed it in a way that turned an organizational problem (key resignation) into something that most people considered a tough call that the company made proactively?

She simply embedded facts on recent negative trends in the division into her announcement.  As a result, the reader doesn't assume this was voluntary turnover at the highest level. They assume that Janet has once again proven she's a pragmatic leader capable of making tough calls in tough situations.

I share this example not to encourage anyone to speak poorly of those departing voluntarily. Let's treat people with class.  Let's celebrate great people who did great things for us and might be leaving to do more great things as alumni of our company. Up with people, "thousand points of light".

But every once in awhile, someone's going to hand you a flaming bag of dog do as a leader.  And at that point, you might be able (based on the circumstances) to decide who's doorstep that flaming bag belongs on.

Don't be afraid to put that bag - flaming as it might be - where it belongs.


Founder's Rules: Marriott to Put Copies of Bible and Book of Morman in Starwood/Westin/Sheraton Hotels...

There's a lot of pros and cons about working for a company that's still controlled by a founder.  For me, I think the pros dramatically outweigh the cons.  Every once in awhile, a little company grows into a giant that's still controlled by the founder and because they still call the shots, things get interesting related to what's important to them.

Case in point - Chick-fil-A - while the founder has passed away, the company is still run by the son - Don Cathy, who's conservative Christian views have been front and center in recent years.  There was past drama related to the Cathy's views on same-sex marriage, etc.   Since the company is still thriving, you have to guess that the service and food is still so stellar that the controversy didn't make an impact.

Here's another founder-controlled company with some new ripples - Marriott International plans to place copies of the Bible and the Book of Mormon in 300,000 rooms of its Marriott newly acquired Starwood, Westin, and Sheraton hotels, the Associated Press reports:

The big picture: The number of hotels that offer those kinds of religious materials fell 16% over 10 years, per the AP. Starwood-owned hotels haven't offered religious materials at all until being acquired by Marriott. But Marriott requires "its 6,500 properties to have the books in each room."

Marriott told the AP in a statement: "There are many guests who are not digitally connected who appreciate having one or both of these books available. It’s a tradition appreciated by many, objected to by few." Gideons International provides the Bibles, and the Books of Mormon are purchased with the help of the Marriott Foundation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Other major hotel chains like Hilton and IHG, owner of Holiday Inn, let hotel managers decide whether or not to provide Bibles in their rooms.

Marriott, whose namesake founding family is active in the Mormon church, has been putting both the Bible and the Book of Mormon in its rooms since opening its first hotel in the late 1950s. Like most major chains, Marriott doesn't own the majority of its hotels. However, it stands out from the other companies by requiring — in franchise or licensing agreements — its 6,500 properties to have the books in each room.

There are some other Starwood properties acquired by Marriott that won't be get the book - the W and Moxy brands won't, for example. Turns out that condom packs in the rooms, etc - is inconsistent with the messages in the books.

A quick scan/text stream of 4-5 Marriott employees I know at decent levels in the company - and having a variety of political views - found my Marriott friends to be comfortable with the decision. They see all the progressive moves that go unnoticed by the company and are happy to shrug off the power play of 300K Bibles and Books of Morman going into rooms.

Founder-driven companies that scale are always an anomaly.  Good enough operationally to get big, small enough via the founder vibe (even at Marriott's size) to do whatever they want - damn the critics.

Long live the American entrepreneur. See you at the Westin, my home away from home, now with new books. 


Elon Musk Knows How to Embarrass/Frame Talent Leaving for a Competitor..

It's been a tough couple of weeks for an iconic leader in America - Elon Musk.

First, he tweeted/floated an idea for taking Tesla public and may face securities fraud charges as a result.  Then he had a rapper over to the house that started live tweeting a bunch of stuff that was unflattering and the beef continues.

But you know what's going well for Musk?  Embarrassing employees who are jumping to Apple (the companies are infamous Musk2 for training development and design talent) by tagging them all a certain way.  Consider this:

"We always jokingly call Apple the 'Tesla Graveyard.' If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I'm not kidding," Musk told German newspaper Handelsblatt in 2015.

CNBC reports that Apple is on a current hiring spree, poaching "scores" of ex-Tesla employees for a variety of projects, citing better pay at the iPhone giant.

If Tesla was doing an Employer Value Proposition (EVP) study, two of the themes would undoubtedly be "we work on the bleeding edge" and "everyone here is all in".

Then culturally, Musk and his direct reports do what they do - framing defections to a world class company/competitor for talent as the "lazy people" or "not good enough to work here".

Love it or hate it, it's an aggressive approach you can learn from.  Our body language and framing when people leave our companies tends to be too passive.

Play offense when talking about turnover.


Saying "No" Helps Train the Recipient What "Yes" Looks Like...

If there's a big problem in corporate America, it's that we say "Yes" too much at times.

Yes to that request..

Yes, I can help you..

Yes, I'd be happy to be part of your project team...

Yes, your response to my request is fine...

There's a whole lot of yes going around.  The problem?  Only about 1/2 of the "yes" responses are followed up with action that is representative of all of us living up to the commitment we made.

That's why you need to say "no" more.

Of course, simply saying no with nothing behind the no positions you as jerk.  So the "no" has to have qualifiers behind it:

Say "no" more to peers asking you for things, but then qualify it with how the request could be modified to move you to say "yes".

Say "no" more to your boss, and qualify your response to her by asking for help de-prioritizing things on your plate - which might allow you to say "yes" to the new request.

We say "yes" in the workplace when we want to say "no". We do it because we don't like to say no, and because we are horrible at negotiation.

Say "no" and tell people how the request could be modified to get to "yes".

Or just say "no" and walk away.  Either way, you've helped the organization's overall performance by providing more clarity.