VIDEO: Using BHAGs as a Goal Setting Technique for High Performers...

Big, hairy, audacious goals, or BHAGs, are visionary, strategy statements designed to focus a group of people around a common initiative. They traditional differ from our other goal setting techniques because BHAGS are usually positioned toward by a large group (rather than individuals) and they typically span a large amount of time than any of our other goals. They’re huge.

Even though BHAGs are generally goals for companies and collective groups, smart managers are increasingly using them for individuals as well. I explain the merits of using BHAGs in this fashion in the following episode of TalentTalks from Saba Software.

Take a listen (email subscribers click through for video below if you don't see it) and hit me in the comments with a BHAG that's been useful in your career or managing a talented direct report!!! 


There Are Six "Manager of People" Brands - Which One Are You?

Any manager of people has a lot on their plate. After all, a general pre-requisite to getting your first manager job is being a great individual contributor. Then, at some point in your first month in your new manager role, you realize the reality – you still have a bunch to do on your own as well as managing your new team.

Just because you're a manager doesn’t mean you stop cranking out individual contributor Proposalgreatness. You’re expected to that PLUS lead a group of people to team greatness, individual success and career fulfillment.

Inside all of us there’s a preset – a type of manager we’re most likely to be based on our behavioral DNA, the folks who have managed us in the past, etc.  Who you are and how you were raised in corporate America has a lot to do with how you manage.

What type of manager are you?  What’s your brand as a manager?

To dig into this topic, I reached out to my good friend and BOSS Leadership facilitator Dawn Burke to record an episode of my new podcast - BEST BOSS EVER - and talk about the "6 Manager of People Brands" I have identified - Doer & Individual Contributor, The Friend/Pushover, The Control Freak/Authoritarian, Trend Spotter/Reader of the Best Seller, Performance Based Driver, and The Career Agent.

Take a listen and be sure to subscribe via the links below as well!

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Welcome to Best Boss Ever, the podcast dedicated to helping you develop managers who build great teams. In this episode Kris Dunn talks with colleague and friend Dawn Burke, facilitator for BOSS Leadership and senior consultant at Recruiting Toolbox, about managing people and the six types of manager brands.

Don't forget to subscribe, rate and review wherever you get your podcasts - Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

4:00: KD brings in the topic, what is your manager brand? Dawn claims a lot of managers don’t know what their brand is, it even took her some time to figure out her brand.

6:22: A Manager’s brand is based on their behavioral DNA and how they were raised. Dawn says that’s a classic case of nature vs. nurture. Both play a part into a manager’s brand, and a lot of times we fall back on our nature but it’s important to focus on the qualities of leaders we admire and seek training and guidance to form a brand.

8:45: KD and Dawn run down the list of the 6 manager brands: The Doer & Individual Contributor, The Friend/Pushover, The Control Freak/Authoritarian, Trend Spotter/Reader of the Best Seller, Performance Based Driver, and The Career Agent.

11:09: “The Doer.” The first-time manager brand. Dawn talks about her personal retail experience with her first manager roles and the struggles first time manager. KD says: don’t change too much – it’s okay if this is your brand to an extent. Be a doer – but you need to grow your people, too. You can’t do it all yourself. Find training and learn to delegate and lead.

15:38: “The Friend/Pushover”. KD talks about how this brand showing up in a lot of former teammates that become managers. It’s also in folks who have high levels of empathy in their DNA. Dawn says you can make the best of the past team relationships by keeping the trust throughout your working relationship. She also asks “How much are you complaining about working together?” It might effect your credibility.

18:50: Dawn says “The Friend” also applies to managers who come in, and is a manager who tries to be friends, which isn’t inherently bad, but if you’re relying too much on the friendship, you’re heading in the wrong direction. KD says past friends especially have trouble as new managers if they are low on the assertive scale, Dawn says you can mitigate this with a 1:1 reset with those friends, acknowledging the new structure in the team and what it means. KD says you’ll have to be assertive to do that, which is why training from other managers is good to have!

21:22: “The Control Freak” introduction. KD talks about a recent WWII watch that was riddled with authoritative manager brands. Dawn says she’s seen this in new managers, too. When they become a manager they are thinking about their past managers and maybe more old school managers. She claims this brand doesn’t work anymore, even though it still exists in certain work places.

26:52: “The Trend Spotter” KD says reading and growing is good, but you can’t change up your brand every time you read a new book. Dawn says this has good intention but it’s gone off the rails. You can be a life long learner, that’s a sign of a good leader, but you take the best of what you’ve learned or read and build your own style/brand – you can’t copy and paste.

29:59: “The Performance Driver.” This brand is all about the performance, they aren’t hesitant to ask their team to reach those organizational goals. Dawn says every manager’s brand should include a little bit of the Performance Driver. KD says sometimes you can be a little detached with your humanity here – just driving for results is okay, but it’s not growing your employees and as a result, over time it can fall flat.

32:22: “The Career Agent” KD claims this is the fully-evolved manager. The Career Agent is approaching their team to get the results through the lens of the employee. It benefits the company and the employee. Overall, Dawn agrees this is the fully-evolved manager. KD says part of being a career agent is investing, developing, and helping people grow and approaching every conversation from the view of the employee – what’s in it for them?.

37:50: KD runs us down the six brands again and the team closes it out.

Resources:

Boss Leadership Training Series

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Dawn Burke on LinkedIn

Recruiting Toolbox

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

KD's Book - The 9 Faces of HR


Working From Home: Can You Give Me Some More Energy Please?

We know that post-COVID, more work from home is reality. We'll still have offices, but it's going to be hard to get all the way back, right?

How do we know that Jenny and Mike aren't feeling great and maybe aren't giving it everything they need to on a random Monday?  

Simple! Emotional Recognition Software! One provider in this field has the following stats since call center reps went to mostly virtual work during COVID-19:

--Average Customer Experience Scores have fallen by 4% Hugs

--Prompts to call center reps from Emotional Recognition providers to show "more energy" have increased by more than 30% during COVID-19.

Think about that last note for a second. You're doing your thing at work, and a virtual agent pops up and asks you/reminds you to show "more energy."

You probably have two thoughts to that on a random Monday during the COVID lockdown:

1--"###k off, Siri"

2--"Hmm. I wonder what my composite approachability score is compared to the rest of the team?" (becomes a happier person on the next call intro).

Emotional recognition was making great strides prior to 2020, but in an environment with more remote work, rises in importance to business outcomes. More from Bloomberg:

Cogito’s software monitors every call agents make, analyzing metrics like tones of voice to see how the conversation is going. It’s found that since the start of the pandemic, average customer experience scores have fallen by 4%. It can respond by giving agents prompts to, say, be more empathetic to a raging caller. As virtually all call center agents shifted to work from home, Cogito’s prompts for them to show more energy at a work increased by more than 30%. 

This kind of technology, which Cogito calls “emotion recognition,” is controversial. The AI Now Institute, a research center at New York University focused on ethical issues related to artificial intelligence, questions its validity as science, and has urged governments to make sure the tech won't "play a role in important decisions about human lives.” 

Joshua Feast, Cogito’s president and chief executive officer, says he understands the trepidation, but frames the tool as a way to give employers insight into how to improve people’s jobs. “How are my people doing? I want to know. But I don’t want to surveil them,” he told me in an interview last week. When I responded that it seemed hard to argue that Cogito wasn't a surveillance tool, Feast offered a more nuanced take. “There’s a difference between surveilling the work and surveilling the human,” he says. “It’s fine to monitor the call—that’s what we do. That’s the work.” 

Few of Cogito’s clients allowed people to work from home before the pandemic, but Feast thinks that’ll change. This is a big opening for a tool like Cogito, which can be a stand-in of sorts for human management. As workers' stress levels increased, says Feast, Cogito changed the mix of automated feedback it provided to include more positive reinforcement. It also designed new alerts for managers, directing them to give workers attaboys when the tech determines they’ve done a good job on a call. 

Make no mistake - emotional recognition software exists to drive business outcomes. But, if used correctly, it can also drive the need to recognition and other positive interactions - more carrot, less stick.

But there's no hiding when Siri (or whatever they call the agent that pops up) tells you that you need to be more positive. #bigbrother

Another positive application of this type of technology is underscoring the need for broad deployments of mental health initiatives inside companies - note I said "broad initiatives" because eventually emotional recognition will be able to monitor remote comms of all types and tell you who is primed or a breakdown or has bipolar tendencies.

Welcome to the new world. Good luck, HR friends.


COVID-19: It's Probably Time You Doubled Down Professionally On You...

Here we are - calendar dates vary widely, but by mid week, I'll be entering week 4 of my personal decision to shelter in place. I say personal decision because like a lot of states, mine was a bit late to the whole "mandate" thing.

COVID-19 sucks. I hope you're healthy. If you're not or you're taking care of people who aren't healthy, Hader godspeed to you.  

With that in mind, I'm going to switch gears and talk about everybody else. If you're still employed as a white collar professional, you fall into one of 2 camps regardless of the industry or your profession (HR and recruiting pros aren't exempt from what I'm about to say):

1--You've got a lot to do. Based on the circumstances and your company, your hair is on fire and you're working long hours with no breaks. Thank you. Nice job.

2--You don't have a lot to do. Many of you will refuse to put yourself in this category, mostly because it's dangerous thing to admit to yourself - and it comes with current and future responsibilities. But for any business with declining results, no one buying and an employer fortunate enough financially to retain you - many of you are in this group.

If you fall into group #2, this post is for you. I write it out of respect, with compassion, etc - but mostly to give you some tough love.

So you're still employed as a white collar professional and you don't have as much to do. You've probably got at least another month at home and some hours to fill.

Stop reading the news, get off your a**, out of the fetal position and use the hours you have - as well as the relative peace - and invest in you.

Get busy building the projects, work product or skills you always said you would do/chase if you weren't so busy.

The next month is a tale of two professionals in your industry/at your career level. You both have the same educational background, relative skills and career attainment at this stage in your career.

One of you is going to stay in the fetal position over the next 3 months (regardless of when you return to the office, things are going to stay slow, I'm calling it a minimum of 3 months, more likely 6), talking about how bad everything is, bitching about their 401k, etc.

The other one? That person is less available on demand to hop on a social Zoom call or a Slack/Glip/Whatever chat like everyone else.

The reason that other person is a bit less available? Because they're in the lab, taking blocks of time to work on the aforementioned projects, work product or skills that will add value to their company or themselves after this thing ends and the economy recovers.

The person in the lab becomes at least 5% more valuable to their company and the marketplace at the end of this 3-month period.

COVID-19 and what it's done to the world is awful. Most of us have some form of fear on a variety of levels. Take care of yourself and others, enjoy some time being physically close and present to your family, and meditate a bit.

But if you have down periods at work, It's time to flip the switch. Start planning and working for the June 1st or September 1st version of you.

Being 5%-10% better than your peers might make all the difference in the world over the 12 months - for you and your company.

Stay healthy. Do you.


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!


Coaching Your Ambitious Direct Report to Not Be Hated...

Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.
--Bill Bradley

If you're like me, you love a direct report with ambition.  People with Ambition get shit done. Do they get shit done because they believe in you as a leader or they believe in themselves?

If you're asking that question, you're concerned with the wrong things.  Just celebrate the execution that comes with ambition and stop thinking so much. (the answer, btw, is that they believe in themselves and are motivated by moving their careers forward)

One problem that is universal related to direct reports with high ambition levels is that they can become hated by their peers - the folks they work with.  It's pretty simple to see why.  The folks with ambition treat life like a scoreboard and more often than not are low team (on a behavioral assessment).  Their peers want to do good work for the most part but don't have designs to rule the world.  Friction ensues. The team views the high ambition direct report like an opportunistic freak. A brown-noser. Someone that would run over his own mother for the next promotion.

So how do you coach your high ambition direct report to play nice with the lower ambition locals?

The key in my experience is to confront the reality with the high ambition direct report - you're looking to do great things.  You're driven.  You want to go places and you're willing to compete with anyone you need to in order to get there.  Start with that level set.

Then tell them they have to get purposeful with recognition of their peers.

If a high ambition direct report starts a weekly, informal pattern of recognition of their peers, a funny thing happens.  They start to look human to those around them.

But in order to make it work, you have to confront them and convince them that work life is not a zero sum game - just because you give kudos doesn't mean a high ambition FTE won't get the promotion or the sweet project assignment.  It actually makes them stronger, because in addition to all the great individual work they do, they start to be perceived as a good to great teammate, which unlocks some doors to management/leadership roles in a way that great individual work can't.

But that doesn't happen for the high ambition direct report unless you are honest with them about this:

1.  You're high ambition and would run over grandpa to win/survive/advance.

2. You're peers think you're a dick, and that's going to limit you.

3.  You're going to fix it by recognizing those around you on a weekly basis for great work, and you're going to reinforce that recognition by sharing your thoughts informally beyond the email you send, the shout out you make in a meeting, etc.

Don't be a dick, high ambition direct report.  Share the love and you'll actually get to where you want to go sooner.

Signed - KD


Deflection Devices: When Direct Reports Go Nuclear and Suggest You're The Problem...

If you're the manager I think you are, you're not hiding from providing feedback and coaching to your direct reports.

But a funny thing happens on the way to you being manager of the year. Your people may not take the coaching - they may have reasons why they're doing what they're doing. Hazmat

In the BOSS Leadership Series Coaching Module, we call these things SIDETRACKS.  You attempt to coach, and the reasons/excuses roll back to you from the direct report.  As we discuss in the BOSS series, these sidetracks include variations of the following:

--What about them? (Others are doing the same thing)

--What about you? (You're doing the same thing, or preventing them from resolving)

--My tools suck! (I don't have the systems/support I need to do it)

--The customer/client sucks! (it's impossible to deal with the situation)

--My life is messed up! (I have a lot of sh#t going on. Wanna hear about it?)

All of these sidetracks can be dealt with by acknowledging them when real and coming back to personal accountability regardless of the challenges.

But there's a more serious item you have to be ready for as a manager when giving feedback for improvement to your people. I call them Deflection Devices and they're harder to absorb than the sidetracks listed above.

Deflection Devices go beyond normal coaching sidetracks. Deflection devices are designed to sting the manager directly, and to make you think twice before you coach again.

Deflection Devices are designed to place doubt in your head as a manager, to make you feel substandard. They're mean and if your direct report uses them with you, designed to MAKE YOU COACH LESS BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO BE FRAMED IN THAT WAY.

How's it happen? Easy. You're coaching a person on your team, and they decide to "be transparent" and give YOU HARD FEEDBACK. Common nuclear Deflection Devices include the following:

--You're weak and get run over in the organization

--You're a political animal in a negative way

--You're a micromanager

--People talk about you in less than glowing terms behind your back

--You don't have the background to managing the function you're managing

Deflection Devices go beyond the normal "what about you?" sidetracks. They're designed to feel personal and signal that the real problem is you at a deep level - not them.

It takes an aggressive sort to drop a nuclear deflection device at you while you're having a performance/coaching conversation of any sort. 

Don't give in - if anything, coach harder, my friends. Put on your HazMat suit.


Are There Any New Ideas in HR and Recruiting? The Difference Between Trademark/Copyright/Patent...

There's gon' be another cat comin' out
Lookin' like me, soundin' like me, next year I know this
They'll be a flipside, do whatchu you do
Somebody'll try to spin off like some series

--Everlast, "Rock Superstar", Cypress Hill

We love to talk about doing things differently in the worlds of HR, Recruiting and Talent. Innovation matters, and that's a good thing.

But what if you truly came up with something new? How would you protect your IP? Let's start with a refresher course on the differences between trademarks, copyrights and patents, because these are referred to horrifically wrong about 50% of the time in our industry.

For those in need, here's the difference:

--A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

--A copyright protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. 

--A patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. Patentable materials include machines, manufactured articles, industrial processes, and chemical compositions. 

(email subscribers, click through for graphic below on the differences between the three, including length of protection)

Trademark vs copyright

Innovation naturally begs the question whether you're doing something truly different or simply repackaging someone else's past ideas.

Does most of your innovative work in HR, Recruiting or Talent rise to the level of a Copyright or Trademark?  The answer is no.

You might have a new company - with a logo, descriptive tagline and color palette - go to town, pay an attorney and get a Trademark if you think that's necessary. If your revenue is under 1M, I'm not sure you're focused on the right things.  But you do you.

When it comes to ideas, most of the work we do in HR/recruiting and talent doesn't rise to the level of a copyright. You put a new program together, but you're like the Cypress Hill lyric above - you're borrowing from others, and when you're at your best, you create your own flavor - a flipside of the work of others, with some value added by you.

When we're at our best in HR, we're stealing stuff from the smartest people - and proud to do it.

It's interesting to get clarity on the difference between trademark/copyright/patent.

It's humbling to know that most of us will never have the need to file for any of these creative protections.

It's smart to acknowledge the most talented of us are repackaging the ideas of others and focusing on communications and execution.

Alot of a...sharks out there...try'na take a bite of somethin'
What's hot
Lot of chameleons out there...try'na change up
Anytime somethin' new comes along...everybody wants a bite
Don't happen overnight

--Chino Moreno, Cypress Hill

 


Meet Jim: A Questionable Performer, But Willing to Kill at a Moment's Notice...

Meet Jim.

Some of you know Jim (some of you know this person as Janice, but regardless of the name, the profile is the same).

You joined your company and as expected, it took you a year to figure out all the relationships. As you got acclimated, you understood Jim's title, who he reported to and more.

You just weren't sure what Jim did. Jim

Another year went by. Then another. Then it came into focus.

Jim isn't good at a lot of things. But Mike, the exec he reports to, trusts him. And as it turns out, you finally figured out what Jim is good at.

Jim can kill things.

Jim is ready to be dispatched at a moment's notice on behalf of Mike to handle ugliness that Mike wants no part of. Jim is willing to say the things Mike can't, to do things Mike doesn't want to do, to act as Mike's proxy when unpleasantness and nasty things are required.

Here comes Jim.

See Jim kill. 

Where's Jim today? Well, he really doesn't have to be "here" all the time because Mike needs him about once a quarter or 4X a year.  If you want urgency, you'll see it when Jim is called into action.  Jim understands his role. Jim is the fixer, the cleaner - the one who does the things.

He's tenacious. He's resented. He's also feared, because when people see engagement from Jim, it means Mike is looking to close some business.

Fear Jim. If he reaches out to you directly, there's a message attached to whatever he asks you to do.

Say yes to Jim.


Mediocre People Don't Like High Achievers...and Vice Versa...

Saw this video clip below from Alabama coach Nick Saban and had to share. As an Auburn season-ticket holder, it's hard to post about Saban, but - no one's had more success, seems more demanding or non-tolerant of sloppiness.

The video below is pure Saban - after a disappointing year by his standards - talking about his goals for spring practice. The gems include:

--"Mediocre people don't like High Achievers"

--and "High Achievers don't like mediocre people"

Don't let other coach-speak like "on the bus". "off the bus" and "do your job" distract you. The real message here is that Alabama Football, led by Saban - which never takes a recruit who isn't elite, period - is headhunting the players and people in his organization that are net negative to the cause.  

At Alabama, being net negative to the cause as a player doesn't mean a thing about ability - it's mindset, ability to work with others, play a role, etc.

Saban goes on to tell his players that one day, they're going to be in the world of work, and someone like him is going to be on mission to get mediocre people out of their company as an agent of change.

"Which one do you want to be?", says Saban.

Saban is telling them they could lose their jobs, scholarships, etc. He's also channeling Good to Great from Jim Collins with the reference to mediocre people.

I'll allow it - Saban is a maniac, and bonus points to the work reference to his players, all of whom believe "work" is the NFL, which is assuredly not for everyone in this meeting. Topgrading is alive and well and if Saban is doing it, we should be thinking about it as well. 

Video below (email subscribers click through for post to view) and at link above.