Trust vs Performance + BlackRock's New Intimate Relationship Policy (The HR Famous Podcast)

In episode 35 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett, Kris Dunn and Jessica Lee discuss their favorite Halloween candy, dig into BlackRock’s recent policy change that mandates employee report all romantic relationships, including those with all company partners and vendors, and wrap it up with a discussion on Performance vs. Trust via a famous Simon Sinek video. 

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player below) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

1:30 – Halloween is right around the corner! JLee is modifying the normal Halloween routine for her two young kids. She’s excited because her kids are getting into Star Wars and they’re doing a Star Wars family costume.

3:00 – Tim’s family is doing a Michigan vs. MSU football/Halloween neighborhood tailgate. He is trying to decide if he wants to be Biden or Trump for his costume.

4:15 – What is your favorite Halloween candy? Tim is team Reese’s pumpkin because of the peanut butter to chocolate ratio. KD likes the bite size (better known as fun size) Snickers. JLee likes a classic Kit Kat.

6:45 – First topic: BlackRock is now requiring all employees to disclose any sort of romantic relationship with anyone in the company or anyone related to the company, including all vendors and partners, which includes 1/5 of the known world by definition. The company may make alternative work arrangements depending on reporting from employees. 

8:00 – Tim, the HR Famous workplace harassment expert, thinks that this new policy is stupid because it limits so many romantic or sexual relationships.

9:30 – JLee doesn’t want to know every possible relationship between employees from an HR perspective. She says it’s TMI!

10:30 – KD says that this policy follows a few scandals with relationship reporting at BlackRock involving high level employees. 

14:30 – The gang suggests a hashtag for Blackrock – #sexlessnation

15:00 – JLee tells us what questions would have to be asked about these relationships. 

16:20 – The HR Famous crew wishes the best to the BlackRock HR crew with this new policy. #sexlessnation

19:30 – Second topic of the day: Simon Sinek’s video Performance vs. Trust. In this video, Sinek talks about the Marines and how value trustworthiness vs. high level performance.

22:40 – JLee thinks that this is a hard lesson for a leader to learn because you often only learn you can’t trust someone once someone has made a mistake.

23:30 – Tim brings up Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent book Talking To Strangers and how humans tend to default to trust when often people are not being trustworthy.

26:00 – Shoutout to Ed Baldwin and the book The Thin Book of Trust by Charles Feltman. He defines trust in his book as sincerity, reliability, and competence. 

27:00 – KD and JLee would love if Simon would button up his shirt one more button!


Human Nature: We Hate Good Ideas From People We Don't Like (The HR Famous Podcast)...

You know it's true. When your arch enemy does good, you could applaud them. But it just feels better to bitch by questioning their motives behind the good idea they're pitching.

You know the idea I'm talking about - the one YOU had in mind. It just turns out that you weren't in a position to deliver on that idea, so your arch enemy, nemesis or competition did it before you could get to it.

I know - you really hate them. You hate them more for announcing the idea that's a part of your identity.

Case in point - this week on The HR Famous Podcast, we're talking about the Trump administration announcing moves to make it easier for people without degrees to get government jobs. That position/move sounds more progressive than arch conservative. As such, the spin from the media was predictable - It's a ploy to try and buy votes from the poor people on the fence who might vote republican.

Of course, there's one little problem - the bill is actually a good one and there's no way this bit of news impacts the election.  We don't need more degree requirements - let's help more people get into consideration for good jobs by eliminating requirements that are barriers, as well as non-predictive of success in the role. While the media loved to spin this one, it's a great example of what I described at the jump.

We love good ideas - until whoever we consider our nemesis launches the idea before we do.

Human nature 101. Check out the conversation at the podcast below starting at 22:30 and highlighted below, and subscribe while you're there!

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Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player below) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!
 
SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
 
10:30 - First BIG topic of the day - Apple is giving all employees paid time off to vote or volunteer at a polling place in upcoming US elections. Tim gives his employees time off to vote within reason and he commends Apple for allowing retail workers to have time off to vote.
 
14:20 - Tim Cook and Auburn University shoutout from KD!
 
15:00 - KD doesn’t think that Apple’s decision is that out of the box. He brings up the potential logistical concerns in manufacturing or other settings where scheduling could be an issue. 
 
16:00 - KD and Tim discuss the potential influence of who to vote for from company execs. Tim talks about how his Mom used to share wisdom on who to vote for and why. 
 
18:00 - Tim and Jlee think Apple should have released to the public the memo on PTO to vote for good employment marketing. 
 
20:30 - Jlee is planning on taking a PTO day for the day after the election hangover. How late are you willing to stay up to watch election results?
 
22:00 - HR Famous supports Apple CEO Tim Cook and Auburn University (at least KD does). If you’re reading this Tim, we would love to have you on the pod!
 
22:30 - Second BIG topic of the day - President Trump signed an executive order in late June ordering the federal government to revise their qualifications for jobs, in hopes to prioritize jobs skills over college degrees. Ivanka Trump is leading this initiative to help those without higher education get good federal government jobs.
 
24:30 - Tim praises the federal government for catching up to private industry and taking out unnecessary job qualifications for certain jobs. 
 
26:30 - Tim and KD worry that this news coming from the Trump administration will be discounted because it’s coming from President Trump and both of them think it’s a pretty progressive move. 
 
31:00 - Tim talks about how he used to require all of his recruiters to have a college degree and the determination it shows to finish a degree. He has changed his requirements since and he’s seen some of his best recruiters come in without a degree. 
 
33:20 - Tim asks Jlee and KD what percentage of jobs they think actually require a degree. What do you think?
 
36:50 - One final War Eagle and Tim Cook shoutout!
 

 


BOSS Tip: Send an Agenda/Info For Your Meeting, Control the Narrative...

Capitalist Note: Quick hit today from the BOSS Leadership Series, the 7-module series of manager training designed to make your managers better leaders of people!

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I see you and I sense it. You've got an escalating situation - either inside your own team that you manage, via cross-departmental relationships or interacting Agendaswith clients. Things are spiraling and it seems like you can't get ahead.

I'm not embedded with you, so the reasons for the spiral can be many, right? But let's assume for the sake of this post that you're on top of your game, the path you're pursuing is valid and correct, you've got the talent to deliver, etc. You're just getting chopped up repeatedly as you deal with your team, other departments, and/or clients. You just can't seem to get ahead of it.

I'm going to give you one small thing to experiment with to regain control:

Start sending out Agendas for the meetings you're holding. As a senior level course, send some reports with favorable data/info with the agenda for best results.

Meetings suck. They suck more when you're the host and you lose control of them.

Agendas let everyone know what you're going to go through in the meeting. They allow you to be in control, and they allow you to bring wayward conversations back to what you - the organizer - wanted to accomplish.

Data/Info sent with agendas that's favorable to your cause/goals help you establish credibility. To the extent you have enemies in the mix or people who don't agree with your approach, data and info sent with agendas can help you frame the narrative.

It's easy to hijack a meeting away from someone who's not prepared. It's harder when they sent the agenda.

It's even harder when they share an agenda with some reports and info that suggests their path is valid.

Control the narrative and prevent meeting hijacking by sending an agenda. Start with no more than 5 items, each described in 4 words or less.

The floor is now yours. You're welcome.


THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: e15 - Is Your Company Ready for RTW?

In episode 15 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee and Kris Dunn come together to discuss Tim’s extravagant Southern Utah adventure, return to work plans, Twitter’s WFH forever proclamation, and Microsoft Teams. The team discusses the different return to work plans and ideas, new office norms, and a potential boom in the workplace real estate market.

Listen below (email subscribers click through if you don’t see the player) or click here for a direct link. Be sure to and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review via iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

1:00 - No Tim on this episode! Are we sad or happy? Stay tuned to find out ;)

2:00 - Is JLee still a kid? Sound off in the comments

3:30 - Tim Sackett is a jerk!!!! His Instagram is making the HR Famous crew jealous with his Southern Utah golfing, jeep trips, and luxurious escapades. Safe travels Timmy!

4:30 - Today’s topic: return to work! Some companies have their plans ready to go but all companies are going to have to get ready for “the new normal”. What is that going to look like? Are you ready?

7:00 - RTW = return to work

7:30 - Jlee sounds off on the differences of work returns there can be and the potential anxiety employees could bring with them. Will there be a major fear from workers?

8:45 - KD is taking the approach of surveying his employees on how they want to return to work. Who wants to stay home? Who wants to return to the office? Who is unsure and has concerns? 

9:40 - One size fits all? Not for RTW plans.

11:15 - KD fills us in on how Kinetix is facing RTW: Branded face masks: check! How do you feel about the decorative/branded face masks?

13:15 - Sexy brand check! Jack Dorsey has announced that all Twitter employees can work remote forever. What really is forever? Jlee thinks it’s a cool idea but may be too early to make this call. Only a diamond is forever ;)

16:00 - Will there be an increased need for real estate for workspace? Due to physical distancing needs, there may need more space needed to ensure employee safety. 

18:00 - Have you ever had an employee sit on the floor in your office during a meeting? Jlee hasn’t but she thinks that cramped small office meetings are on the way out and virtual meetings are here to stay.

20:30 - KD and Jlee are turning this into a Microsoft ad! Microsoft Teams chat is the new norm for Jlee but may be NSFW because of their raunchy gifs.

22:30 - KD thinks that Eric Schmitt’s perception of a workspace real estate boom is a little tone deaf. With more WFH employees and financial troubles, there may not be a real estate boom especially in spaces made for small to mid-sized businesses. 

24:00 - Should we be celebrating companies and CEOs who pledge not to lay off employees? The crew thinks it’s unrealistic to raise the expectation that companies should not lay off some workers in this pandemic, especially in service industries. 

26:10 - “Up your sunscreen game” - KD to Tim Sackett. 


Chesky at Airbnb and the Process for Mapping and Communicating a Layoff...

My friend and colleague Patrick Lynch at CMP did a post over the weekend on the recent layoffs at Airbnb, covering a letter that founder and CEO Brian Chesky sent out to employees covering the move to layoff 25% of the workforce at the hospitality sector giant.

Patrick was spot on in his analysis, as the letter from Chesky is a deep dive in how to approach crisis Chesky communications with a spirit of transparency and treating people as well as you can afford to.

Of special note to me in Chesky's letter was Airbnb's process for working through the what, when, how and who of the layoff process. Here's a clip from his letter to all employees:

How we approached reductions:

It was important that we had a clear set of principles, guided by our core values, for how we would approach reductions in our workforce. These were our guiding principles:

    • Map all reductions to our future business strategy and the capabilities we will need.
    • Do as much as we can for those who are impacted. 
    • Be unwavering in our commitment to diversity. 
    • Optimize for 1:1 communication for those impacted. 
    • Wait to communicate any decisions until all details are landed — transparency of only partial information can make matters worse. 

There's a lot of good here, even if it's delivering news on the worst topic possible. While I've written before that we shouldn't be caught as leaders communicating intensely personal news in group settings, there's other factors beyond "optimizing for 1:1 communication" that serve as best practices in Chesky's letter. My thoughts about the other bullets listed below:

--Map all reductions to our future business strategy and the capabilities we will need. "Before you ask, yes, we had a plan. We're stripping this thing back to the base with these layoffs. Continue to buckle up."

--Do as much as we can for those who are impacted. "While we always would like to do more, we stretched as much as we could and went beyond what others are doing during this crazy time. Hope you see that, we're confident enough in what we're doing here to proactively say it."

--Be unwavering in our commitment to diversity. "Yep, we looked at diversity from every angle and the cuts are not only representative of our current workforce, but we made changes to what was submitted to ensure we're as strong as possible moving forward. Yes, we did an adverse impact analysis, but more to the point, we went beyond that. We're so confident in what we did in this area we're talking openly about it."

--Wait to communicate any decisions until all details are landed — transparency of only partial information can make matters worse. "You wanted details earlier of what we were thinking. We didn't give those to you early - not because we weren't working on it, but because not having the full plan is a bad way to communicate. You now have all the details"

All of these comments represent best practices in communication of this type of event.

Not every company has the resources that Airbnb has - if fact, most don't. But whether you're giving a minimum of 12 weeks and covering medical for the rest of the year...or providing next to nothing due the economics of your company's situation, you can follow this roadmap regardless of your situation.

Good luck and stay strong.


The HR Famous Podcast: E11- The Future is $99/Month HR Managers (and thy stripper name shall be...)

It’s episode 11 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Tim Sackett and Kristian Dunn kill some more time by recording a new episode on the pod (of course trying to flatten the curve in their respective isolation pods) focused on what virtual HR looks like today – including what kind of HR services you can get for $99/month. Plus there’s some stripper name talk too.

Email subscribers click through if you don’t see the player below or click here for a direct link or hit iTunesSpotify and Google Play - please rate and review!

Show Highlights:

1:42 – Jessica calls Tim sexy, or at least she calls his voice that, while he proceeds to completely pass on the compliment and instead complain about back to back conference calls followed by hating on Kris’ deck, which he sure seems to be jealous of. Not the first time he’s talked about Kris’ deck. Sounds like it’s gonna be a really good episode.

3:13 – The crew takes a cue from John Krasinski of The Office fame and channels some of his Some Good News goodness – at which point KD shares that his house looks more like Lord of the Flies with nearly grown children fighting over Corn Nuts. Just kidding. The real good news is that his boys are home and bonding. Sacks meanwhile shares that his team is finding the purple squirrels. They exist. They can be found.

6:06 – JLee humbly admits that she has finally – nearly 20 years into her career – mastered VLOOKUPs in Excel and shares that she and hubby have come to an agreement to FINALLY allow for some food delivery to start happening in their household.

7:46 – On to the real topic. Wait for it. JLee gets an ad on her FB feed and it’s for… drumroll…  get your very own HR manager for $99/month via an L.A. based startup, Bambee.

10:26 – Tim reveals the truth about Bambee. These aren’t HR managers who are on the other end of the phone line providing consultation to Bambee’s clients. (And no, they aren’t strippers either.) These are life insurance sales people disguised as HR relationship / account managers.

12:40 – KD breaks down the model. They start with offering a baseline of HR services targeting SMBs that maybe just to start have an HR coordinator who can also do payroll. At 100+ employees, bigger needs obviously develop and that’s when you can’t leverage Bambee anymore. But Sacks thinks there’s no way there’s any value to be gained from a service that’s $99/month regardless of your company size.

15:15 – JLee gets more curious about who exactly these HR managers are that Bambee is hiring and finds a single job posting for the job. It turns out you have to manage 200 clients at a time in addition to the upsell work they do on the life insurance and training services the company also offers. But look, they have a really good Glassdoor rating as JLee finds. People are happy to work there.

19:29 – The crew exposes the fallacy of Bambee, especially in this era of the Rona – virtual, remote HR services yet they require their HR managers to work on-site.

23:00 – KD prophesizes that virtual is the future and the world will be moving to being employed outside of your metro area. Which gets the group talking about what the true value of HR is, and what it then means to deliver HR in a remote environment.

27:50 – A new business idea emerges. It turns out the crew actually not-so-secretly loves the Bambee model but just with higher end remote resources. They struggle with what to call it though. There’s got to be an available stripper name out there though. JLee quickly moves away from sharing too much about their next business venture and seeks out some advice from the guys.

31:22 – Kristian Dunn the life coach offers JLee some advice on how to influence and lead in these times when we’re virtual and remote. He also proceeds to pronounce “Marriott” the right way. It rhymes with “chariot” folks. And Sacks comes back around to Bambee again and the value of the service and wants in on the biz.

37:00 – The guys land on a stripper name that they’ll call their next biz. Wait for it. Welcome to the stage… (you have to listen to hear it).

39:00 – KD wisely shares that he knows enough to not ask what’s for dinner. Especially if it’s chips and dip again.


THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: E7 – COVID-19 + Work From Home (WFH) Advice from Dawn Burke...

In Episode 7 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn (Jessica Lee on break) get together to with Dawn Burke (Senior Writer at Fistful of Talent, Sr. Consultant at Recruiting Toolbox) to talk about Work From Home, as tens of millions of American workers have been told to stay home, keep working and figure it out on the fly.

Dawn shares her advice and background from a recent Fistful of Talent feature, focusing on the need to maintain work rituals (eating lunch in your car and watching Netflix rather than in the house) as well as thoughts on productivity expectations, print cartridges, PETS, kids, laundry, etc. Tim and Kris weigh in with stories about day drinking (not them, other people) and the psychology behind work from home productivity and the need to stop texting and emailing everyone ALL THE TIME from your bunker.

If you’re new to work from home or managing people who are, this is the podcast for you.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!!! Listen on iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

1:30 – Tim discloses he’s not working from home since he owns his building at work, which is really just another form of working from home. Dawn Burke, longtime HR leader, Senior Writer at Fistful of Talent, Sr. Consultant for Recruiting Toolbox introduces herself.

4:25 – Dawn breaks down a post she wrote at Fistful of Talent entitled “Working from Home Can Be Awful! Unless You Do These Things”, in which she provides great advice on how to set yourself to work from home, especially if you haven’t done It before.  It’s harder than it looks, as she details her transition to work from home and where she struggled as a result. Dawn also talks about people around her – like her sister – struggling over the last few days as they transition from no WFH to full time WFH with zero planning and prep.

11:20 – Dawn, Kris and Tim get into Dawn’s advice for people transitioning to full-time work from home – focused on the needs to maintain “rituals”. Kris goes right to one of the sizzle parts of Dawn’s article/advice, which is the disclosure that just like when she used to try and get out of the corporate office mid-day, she also has a history of trying to get out of the home office mid-day – BY EATING LUNCH IN HER CAR AND WATCHING NETFLIX. Fascinating and scary all at the same time. The gang ends up loving the idea for new folks doing the WFH thing. It’s actually brilliant.  Other references – Magic Mike, etc.

17:23 – Speaking of work rituals, Tim and Kris share alcohol-related stories from their time as trench HR pros.

21:00 – Dawn breaks down her top advice for folks moving to 100% work from home. Making appearances in the discussion – print cartridges, PETS, kids, laundry, etc. Tim talks about the productivity bump/burnout function that’s coming for new WFH people.

27:00– The gang talks about the need to stop messaging via Text and Slack when you’re a new WFH person and pick up the phone and talk to people (or via video) – to get human interaction. Interaction is going to be important to prevent isolation.

28:50 – TOP ADVICE FROM THE GANG RELATED TO WORK FROM HOME – Tim and Dawn break down their biggest pieces of advice for folks who are new to work from home. Tim shares his view that things get lost in translation, and you have to pick up the phone, facetime or hop on a video call rather than try to resolve something through 23 emails.  Dawn talks about her background and lighting in her WFH set up, and points to exercise/wellness/mindfulness platforms as a huge help to mental and physical health. KD feels like the key to WTH is find a way to reconnect with someone who’s important in your life  – personal and/or professional – at least a couple of times a week.

NOTE – We’ll be back mid-week with a pod focused on nothing but ZOOM and the art of the video meeting!


Cards Against Humanity Buys Small Company, Makes It Employee-Owned...

Interesting pull from the news for you today with a little Capitalist analysis.

You've heard of Cards Against Humanity. Have you heard of a acqui-hire?  It goes a little something like this: Clickhole

ac·qui·hire
/ˌakwiˈhīr/
noun
noun: acqui-hire
1. an act or instance of buying out a company primarily for the skills and expertise of its staff, rather than for the products or services it supplies.
"this would appear to be a straight acquihire to pick up an engineering and product design team"

The art of the acquihire is alive and well for companies like Google with unlimited resources, who often buy companies strictly for a key group of talent - often 10-20 key employees - even though they think the product of the company they are buying is trash. Put some wealth in the pockets of the targeted talent, lock them in with employment agreements and slowly push them towards projects/lines of business you think have more value.

Back to Cards of Humanity - they're in the news with an acquihire, but with a twist - they're giving a large part of the acquired company to the employees of the company. More from BuzzFeed:

Cards Against Humanity, the card game company, purchased ClickHole.com from its owners at G/O Media on Monday for an undisclosed amount in an all-cash deal, BuzzFeed News has learned. ClickHole’s employees will become the majority owners of the site. Although terms were not disclosed, the Wall Street Journal reported in November that the sale price was likely to be less than $1 million. The Onion, which created ClickHole, will remain a part of G/O Media.

Max Temkin, the cofounder of Cards Against Humanity, told BuzzFeed News that the deal will allow ClickHole to bring on additional staff — it currently has only five full-time employees — and explore new revenue streams. He also said the site would operate independently, with financial support from Cards Against Humanity. ClickHole staffers will not be involved in writing any Cards Against Humanity content.

“We’re giving them funding, and if they ask us, we’ll be an advisor,” Temkin told BuzzFeed News, saying that the ClickHole team will operate independently, with financial support. “We just want to give them a chance to do their thing. They’re really capable — really smart and innovative. And I don't know if they’ve had that opportunity before to try all these creative [ideas for the site].”

The Onion launched ClickHole in 2014 as a send-up of sites like Upworthy and BuzzFeed. It moved on to satirizing online political discourse with PatriotHole and ResistanceHole. Yet it has consistently transcended mere parody and created its own sublimely absurd universe. Quizzes like “Which One of My Garbage Sons Are You?” or its running series of fake banal quotes from celebrities earned it a loyal, independent following.

Cards of Humanity is doing an acquihire with a twist with this acquisition - they found a troubled company for sale, and believed in the talent that existed. BUT - this form of acquihire transfers wealth to the talent not directly to their bank account, but by giving them ownership in the company.  That's a powerful retention tool, and if for some reason they can't make it work, the talent is sure to remember that Cards gave them a chance to save the company and turn it around through their investment and subsequent transfer of ownership.

Moving acquired talent to ownership positions is a powerful play.  And by "talent", I mean people that make up quizzes like "Which one of my garbage sons are you?" It's 2020 - quizzes like these matter!

For great point of view on all things employee ownership and ESOP, follow who I do - Jennifer Briggs.


"PET or THREAT": When Leaders Try to Formally Mentor Those Who Don't Want the Relationship...

I think we can all agree that mentoring relationships in corporate America are a good thing. But like anything that's good, mentoring can get dicey if not used in the right way. From formal mentoring programs to mentoring relationships that happen organically, the devil's in the details.

I was reminded of this fact when I read the tweet by Tressie McMillan, which provides a WOC view of Liesa certain type of mentoring gone wrong. If you can't see the tweets below (usually my email subscribers), click through to get to the website, because you don't want to miss this. In fact, you may want to go to my website, then click on the tweet to the get the entire series of tweets, read the comments, etc. 

Did you get the vibe? Great. Let's start with the obvious - I'm not qualified to comment on the state of forced mentoring that gets thrust upon WOC. I don't have that identity or experience.

But I've been around a lot of mentoring programs, and I can tell you that a leader trying to create a formal mentoring relationship without the help of OD, HR or a formal program can come across as incredibly forced. It's only natural that the recipients of this type of mentoring advance might feel a bit suspicious. Add in the context of white female leader offering to formally mentor a WOC without the help of a true program, and there's no doubt that it can get weird.

"PET OR THREAT" is an incredible tagline for unwanted mentoring advances. In the context that Cottom provides in the tweets, you either say yes to allowing someone to mentor you, or you say no (hard to do for sure) and you identify yourself as a threat. Crazy stuff, but true. 

It reminded me of the following forced mentoring scene from House of Lies. If you don't see the video player below, just click here. It's a great scene that features an exec attempting to neutralize someone she considers a threat by offering to mentor them. Incredible. From Cottom's tweets, this happens more than we might otherwise believe.

So why am I writing about this and what value can I possibly provide since I'm not a POC?

I'm here to report on the tweets from Cottom that I found interesting, but more importantly to share mentoring types of arrangements that are available and to judge how effective they are.  

With that in mind, here's my list of mentoring arrangements, ranked from worst to first:

4--Forced mentoring relationship without controls, where an exec read about mentoring and decided to do her/his own program. This could be effective, but even if the intent is pure (unlike Cottom's tweets and my House of Lies share above), the exec likely doesn't know what she's doing. The attendee is likely to say "um, sure?" to the offer.  Forced to an uncomfortable degree. Picture the exec doing the robot, that's how stiff it is. At the far end of the spectrum, it's PET or THREAT.

3--Formal mentoring programs. OD and HR are involved and there's a process. Let's move on because all of you get this one.

2--Informal mentoring relationship where no one EVER SAYS THE WORDS, "I'M SO HAPPY TO BE YOUR MENTOR". Want to know how to determine if an informal mentor is legit? It's easy- they never say the word "mentor". It's a mindset, not a program.

1--A Boss with direct reports. Yep, surprise! The best mentors are, were and always will be the boss that was our Best Boss Ever. We've all have a Best Boss Ever, and that person delivered more mentoring value that anyone outside of the Boss/Direct Report could possibly achieve.  Note that most bosses aren't naturals and can't achieve this boss/mentor status - that's why we have mentoring programs. But the best boss you've ever had - he or she was a f***ing awesome mentor - but no one ever mentioned the word mentor.

That's my list. Remember the whole Pet or Threat thing - It's meaningful. Then remember the best mentoring relationships never or rarely use the word "mentor". They just naturally happen. 


FAKE IT: Acting Interested in Corporate America Is a Succession Factor

Who's to know if your soul will fade at all
The one you sold to fool the world
You lost your self-esteem along the way
Yeah

--"Fake it" by Seether

One of the biggest things that separates contenders from pretenders in Corporate America - across all functional areas - is the ability to fake interest and attention.

You're in a 7-hour training class.  Next week you're in a 3 hour ops review.  Boredom happens.

If Darwin were a noted OD thought leader in business, he would write that an adaptation that allows some to survive and thrive is the ability to fake interest and attention with body language, eye contact and just enough participation to make it seem like they're engaged.

Does it matter?  Only if you want to get further than you are now. Competition is fierce. The real players in corporate America look engaged - at all times - even when they aren't.  

Look around at your next meeting.  You'll know what I'm talking about.  Some people have this type of opposable thumb, some don't.

Of course, faking it leads to learning because you're dialed in juuuuuust enough not to miss important shit. 

Seether video below, people.  Worth your time but a little NSFW. Happy 2020... (email subscribers click through for video)