Building the Perfect People Manager: Assertiveness and the Introversion/Extroversion Scale...

Had the opportunity to present/workshop on "Leveling Up Your Managers of People" to a Vistage CEO group earlier this week.

We had a great two-hour conversation about the best way to build a people manager development program, and it left me more convinced than ever that an investment in your core managers of people - the ones actually interacting with your employees - is a key investment in 2021 and beyond.

That's obvious, right?  Too bad we talk all day long about "leadership" (it's sexy, no doubt!), but we rarely get around to what our first time managers actually need to survive and thrive in their daily conversations with their direct reports on the front lines. Vistage-600x400-20190131_6f16da50af95e8511ca2a9e6a50991c9

Sucks to be them.  But it's right there, waiting for time, attention and investment from HR and the leadership team of any company you're a part of.

With do much opportunity, where do you start? Well, how about at the beginning, starting with how you choose/hire managers of people?

Domain expertise is important, but overvalued in the hiring process for first time managers of people. We're addicted to the fact that the best individual contributor in your business must be the best candidate to fill an open first-level people manager role.

It's a lie. At my Vistage talk this week, I showed the C-level a chart of 7 behavioral characteristics that comprise the behavioral DNA of any employee.  I asked them to rate the most important ones to getting great results as a manager of people.  They didn't need my help, they got it, and they selected the following:

--Assertiveness. YUP. Let's face it, being a manager is all about confrontation. That's confrontation with a small "c", not a big "C", folks. To the mid to low assertiveness person, every conversation needed to get a small change or tweak from an employee feels like it might be a massive thing. The result is these folks will delay necessary on the fly coaching. It's not that big of deal, and delivered with a quality coaching tool, employees will be connected and actually engaged by the feedback.

--Introversion/Extroversion. This one's a bit trickier, because we naturally feel that extroverted people are more likely to engage their direct reports. That's true in a broad sense, but the downside is highly extroverted people talk more than they listen. If you want behavioral change from your direct reports, you have to make the employee talk and be part of the solution. Better to have a mid-range person on the introvert/extrovert scale from this to happen. While the C-levels in my group correctly picked this one, they followed the conventional belief that max extroversion is a good thing related to managing people. Turns out, it's more complicated than that.

To close this post up, the most important behavioral trait in my eyes in hiring managers of people is ASSERTIVENESS.  Low assertiveness means your people manager will feel conflict at every turn and will rationalize reasons not to have the conversation they need to have today.

Can you hire a low assertive person to be a people manager? Sure, but you'll have to tell them what's required and to perform as they need to, they'll likely feel their batteries drained on a daily basis.

There's a thousand things that go into building a team of effective people managers at your company. The best place to start is to evaluate candidates in a more intense way when hiring managers of people.  Once you accomplish that, you can build your leadership academy on your own or use a system like the BOSS Leadership Training platform to jump start your efforts.

Good luck getting your manager development program in place in 2021!


Post-Election Skill for Leaders: Making All Feel Welcome & On Equal Ground...

I read this post recently by William Wiggins at Fistful of Talent on Transgenderism. It's a simple, insightful piece on being aware. 

Prior to reading William's post, I finished Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac. It's the story of how Uber rose from humble beginnings to become a Unicorn, then stumbled from the top as it's bro-tastic culture caused it to be tone-deaf to the world around it via PR fiasco after PR fiasco.

Both are highly recommended reading. One is 500 words and one is 80,000 words.

Then of course, like you, I've been through the shit show that is the 2020 Election Season.

There's never been a bigger need for awareness for making all feel like they belong and are welcome than post-election 2020. 

The lesson? Being a leader in modern times is tricky. Consider the following realities:

  1. You're a leader.
  2. You're full of personal thoughts, a specific background and some form of bias. You think how you think. Politics included.
  3. When change comes and you're asked to lead everyone, it's easy to react as if it's a burden or worse.
  4. You can say it's all gone too far you shouldn't be asked to manage people on the far right or the far left. Many will agree with you.
  5. But - you'll ultimately acknowledge the views of the group of people in front of you - everyone - or you won't be allowed to lead anymore. Unless you're in a groupthink organization where everyone thinks the same.

History shows this cycle to be true. Your job is to lead everyone. When you don't engage or find the good in a group of people in front of you, you won't get the results you want or need as a leader in your organization.  When you think about the election we just went through in 2020, it's easy to become polarized and lose sight of this universal truth.

Saying that the vocal people on the left want to ruin America is lame. Saying that anyone that voted republican must be a racist is lame. Both are intellectually lazy. 

What if you decided that rather than be late to the game, you made it a priority to make all feel welcome and on equal ground in your company or on your team as a leader?

What if?

I'll tell you what if, my friend.  If that was your approach, you'd find the people in question - the special class of people currently causing others discomfort (the groups change over time) - incredibly willing to work for you and just as importantly, freed to do their best work.  You'd be maximizing your ability to get great work from the resources you have.

When you choose to lead everyone and not take the polarized bait the world wants to feed you, a funny thing happens. Performance and the ability for someone to do their best work goes up.

None of us are perfect when it comes to the change cycle outlined in #1 through #5 above.  Stop reading things in your bubble and start thinking about the best way to bring everyone on the team into the fold in 2021.

Performance goes up as bullshit goes down.  Just be crystal clear on what's bullshit in this cycle (anything that makes you slow to accept that reasonable people can think differently).


5 Reasons I'm STILL Bullish On America: Election Day 2020...

Election day is here. So many voices shouting, so let me add my thoughts to the mix with a bi-partisan thought that's not said enough these days:

AMERICA: STILL THE BEST THING GOING. Yikes

Let's start with my favorite songs from Hamilton, which you can find on Disney+. If you're looking for a reason to feel good on election day, you could do much, much, much worse.

Yorktown

One Last Time

What Comes Next?

It's been a rough year in America. Pandemic, George Floyd, second phase of the first wave of the pandemic and now, one of the most disruptive elections in history. The economy is questionable and things have never felt more divisive - which obviously spills over into the workplace, thus the post on something you thought had nothing to do with HR... 

Note that I'm hardcore moderate that thinks both polar extremes politically in the states are 100% crazy.

Here's 5 reasons I'm still bullish on America, with some HR/management thoughts embedded within:

1--We live in a country where you can actually tell the leader to "F off" directly to him/her via his social account. He might even "@" you! I just think it's interesting and a complement that our society/constitution allows for that and people aren't afraid to do it.  Try that in Moscow, Wuhan, Istanbul or Cairo these days, friends.

I don't agree with the decision to tell a leader from any party to F-off publicly. But I'll support your right to do it until the day I die. Side note - be careful with this approach with a leader in your company. Like the Dixie Chicks in the early 2000's, you'll find out that your right to free speech is protected, but the free market can and will remove you from corporate consideration. Also note the Dixie Chicks are now The Chicks, because Dixie didn't survive the cut in 2020 but "chicks" is OK, but as FYI, I've issued an advisory for dudes not to get comfortable using that term. Got it? Cool.

2--We have a history in the USA of being getting fed up, then vocal and moving for change. It's a long history and I could list all the problems America has had through the years - but you're aware of the history. Instead, I'm going to focus on what actually happens over time in America. People are vocal, critical mass is formed and change happens. It's easy to say it takes too long  - it sure does  - but just grab a live look in at St. Petersburg, Tabriz or Shenzhen for perspective. Also noted that it remains very much a work in process - as the George Floyd events illustrate (see my posts on the aftermath of George Floyd here and here, as well as these posts by great writers at my other site (FOT) if you doubt my intent). It's a rough look for the USA right now, but I believe America is 100% going to get this right - both now and in the future.

3--America is still the premiere melting pot of the world.  When I look around at the world my sons live in, I'm happy and proud that their world is more defined by meritocracy via equal opportunity more than mine was growing up. They see race, national origin and gender less than our generation did, and are accepting of people who don't look like them totally kicking a## in various walks of life. Why? America. Also see this map from the Washington Post that is a visual representation of the most and least racially tolerant countries in the world. Spoiler alert: Racism is a problem around the world, and while the USA has so many miles to go, we have some common ground to work from. (Note: I ran this map by some of my liberal friends and they had a hard time processing it. But still, it's the Washington Post on the left and they haven't pulled it down, which to me means it's solid for me to quote).

When I see a Black, Asian or Indian kid/family achieving in America, I'm not threatened. I'm proud they are American. I love it when the melting pot kicks ass. 

4--There's still a role for moderates in America. If you're not feeling the polar extremes of either political party here, it's OK. While the polar extremes are less tolerant than ever of your lack of willingness to commit, you've become the swing voter block that drives both sides crazy. You're also probably uniquely qualified to manage people as you've learned to see different points of view and co-exist with the highest % of people. This just in - the best managers of people are the ones who can get as many people in the bus to where we are going in 2021, 2031 and 2041 as possible. It's hard to do that when you say - as both parties do - you're either with me or against me.

5 - AMERICA ALWAYS COURSE CORRECTS. We've had a lot of dark times in our country and we've made some questionable decisions. What I love about America is that WE ALWAYS THROW THE BUMS OUT. Every. Single. Time. Regardless of party. In addition, just when you think you know what the answer will be, America rises up and pleasantly surprises you. Who saw a 6-3 vote FOR LGBTQ+ rights in a Supreme Court loaded with Republicans? No one, and you'd be fair to be skeptical on why that wasn't celebrated more. So be active, shoot your shot and trust the process. If you don't like how things are going in the USA - all you have to do is wait - we are junkies for change and can't accept too much of a single point of view. (side note - the picture in this post is my 4th of July t-shirt. It says, "YIKES", with subscript that says "England 1776")

Let's dig into that "Yikes" reference to close this July 4th post. This recent article from The Atlantic called "The Decline of the American World" digs into the perception of America around the world, especially in Europe. I found the article to be incredibly balanced and why it certainly focused on some negative perceptions of our country, it also featured hot takes by many that the world needs America to be great.

The article is highly recommended. I can't let you go without sharing the close of the article with you, focused on what Charles Dickens found in America:

"Over America’s history, it has had any number of crises—and any number of detractors. Le Carré is just one of many who have delved into the conflicting well of emotions that the United States manages to stir in those who watch from outside, part horrified, part obsessed. In his travel book, American Notes, for instance, Charles Dickens recalls his loathing for much of what he saw on his adventures through the country. “The longer Dickens rubbed shoulders with Americans, the more he realised that the Americans were simply not English enough,” Professor Jerome Meckier, author of Dickens: An Innocent Abroad, told the BBC in 2012. “He began to find them overbearing, boastful, vulgar, uncivil, insensitive, and above all acquisitive." In other words—it’s the aesthetic again. In a letter, Dickens summed up his feelings: “I am disappointed. This is not the republic of my imagination.”

Dickens, like le Carré, captured America’s unique hold on the world and the fundamental reality that it can never live up to people’s imagination of what it is, good or bad. As it watches today, it recoils but cannot stop looking. In the United States, the world sees itself, but in an extreme form: more violent and free, rich and repressed, beautiful and ugly. Like Dickens, the world expects more of America. But as le Carré observed, it is also, largely, an aesthetic thing—we don’t like what we see when we look hard, because we see ourselves."

Translation: The bumper sticker for America could easily be, "AMERICA: WE'RE MORE EVERYTHING THAN YOU ARE".

Which is why we'll be back. Happy election day, America. You are imperfect, dysfunctional, and at times, hard to look at.

But you're still the best thing going. Regardless of the outcome this time around, I believe you'll get this right, as you've gotten so many other things right.

See you at the cookout. 


What To Do When a Person of Influence Asks You For Extra Work...

Every couple of years, this question makes the rounds - "What would you tell the 25 year old version of yourself?" I've noticed that going around recently, so here I am.

Of course, there are 1,000's of things you could respond with. But assume we're talking about the world of work for a second. That probably cuts the answers down to the 100's, not 1,000's.

Now do forced choice - you can only share one thing.  It's tough to narrow it down. Ax

The reality is your response is likely to be focused on what you're experiencing in your career on a given week the question is asked. 

So what would I tell the 25-year old version of myself?

It's pretty simple. I'd tell them that you never - and I mean NEVER - say no or deprioritize a request from someone with power and influence over their career.

Let's dig in a little deeper. Let's say you're the younger version of yourself. You're a good to great performer, and people at your company have grown to regard you as someone who can be trusted to get things done. That means over time, people of influence at your company are going to be exposed to you, hear about you, and in many ways come to regard you as someone with potential and whom perhaps is performing above their pay grade.

That means the people of influence at your company are going to come to you with a request to do work. That request may or may not be a part of your normal job. That request may or may not come at a time that's convenient for you. That request may or may not be something you know how to do and it possibly could required you to roll up your sleeves and figure a bunch of shit out.  

Yet you've performed, and the request comes.

What happens next is the test.

All of the "may or may not" statements above are the debbie downers about the request. It's not your job, you're kind of busy this week or month, and it's in an area that you're not super interested in.

Let me be crystal clear. All of those things can be true. Average people say they are too busy or attempt to negotiate a later date to get the work/request/project done. True players - the ones who are promotable 2-3 levels above their current organizational level - never say no.

This rule has been true since your grandparents were on the factory floor or creating copies via real carbon copies (look it up).

As we've grown related to better workplaces, mental health and a sense of well-being, you'll read tomes on how to get the best out people through a variety of progressive people practices. You can believe all of the new ways of workplace engagement, but don't be fooled - when the call comes for help from people with influence because they've heard about you, it's test. They don't realize it's a test, but it is.

Say yes to the extra work, the longer hours, the problem to solve - and you've shown yourself to be part of the bigger chase.  Say no or try and schedule a later time and you'll never be asked again.

Maybe you don't want to be in the chase - that's OK!  Just remember not everyone is asked and few are rarely asked twice once someone hears "I could probably spend some time on that next month."

It's OK to not want to be in chase to the top.

Just remember that that not everyone is asked, and saying no is a long-term choice.


Faking It vs. Being Authentic at Work: A Primer...(with Podcast after post)

I'm on the record that I like people who have the ability to "fake it until they make it".

Of course, there's a lot to unpack in that statement, namely whether people can do more harm than good with that approach - not only to their organizations, but also to themselves.

A different and more important question surrounds the ability to bring your authentic self to work, vs. being in an organization where you feel like you have to "fake it" to survive and thrive. That's different than "faking it until you make it" (which is more knowledge, skill and ability based), right?  

Faking it to survive in an organization is no way to live. If you can't be you and have to proactively hide the real you in a professional setting, that sucks.

Take a listen to the podcast below with industry expert and friend Jason Lauritsen as we talk through the benefits of bringing your authentic self to work. Turns out, it's a process and harder than it looks, but I learned a lot from the conversation with Jason below.

KD

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In Episode 16 of BEST HIRE EVERKris Dunn chats with Jason Lauritsen on the always hot topic of Faking it at Work vs Being Authentic at Work. Jason and KD discuss what being authentic really means as a candidate and an employee, the risks and rewards of being authentic, and the zombie-like existence of those who choose a life of faking it at work (whether by choice or via tough economic circumstances). 

KD and Jason also discuss building teams as a hiring manager on the recruiting trail via authenticity.

Please subscribe, rate and review (Apple) and follow (Spotify) to get the latest delivered to you.  Click here if you don't see the player below!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
 
1:43 - Jason and KD talk about his current focus - speaker, writer and consultant in the world of HR and healthy workplaces, and he's currently ramping up online courses for that domain.  He's also learning the harmonica, KD actively envisions him breaking the harmonica out is pocket and jamming with a house band. Which. Is. Awesome.
 
4:00 - Jason and KD set the stage by talking about a post he did this month on being authentic at work vs faking it.  Jason reacts to someone who encouraged people to fake it at work, defines his view of being authentic in the workplace and why it's so valuable.
 
10:35 - Why do people feel compelled to fake it in the recruiting process or the workplace?  Jason and KD chop it up.
 
12:13 - KD and Jason talk about how average level opportunities go down when you're authentic, but the intensity of opportunity across what remains goes exponentially up.
 
15:27 - Jason and KD carve up definitions of fake it, fake it until you make it, being authentic and more related to the workplace.  Turns out being authentic isn't just letting your freak flag fly, it's hard work and intentional, and protects relationships rather than destroying them.
 
23:40 - Jason and KD talk about being authentic on the recruiting trail, breaking down what it means for candidates and hiring managers.  How does it differ from employees already working for a company? Jason/KD discuss.
 
Along the way, Jason and KD discuss the expert definition of being authentic, as well as some of the greatest advantages and risks to anyone in the workplace who focuses on being authentic.
 

The All-Too Human Condition of Hating a Candidate Due to the Referral Source...

Referrals - We love them in the talent world.

Ideally, referrals are made by employees/team members who understand the culture we've created at our company, and only refer the best in their network to us. That's generally true, and even if there's a few referral spammers in your company, we're better off with referrals than without them.

You know what types of referrals we hate and are suspicious of?

THE REFERRAL FROM SOMEONE IN OUR ORGANIZATION WE DON'T LIKE.

If you've got enough experience in the recruiting/team building game, you've been there before.  You've got an open spot on your team, and you're doing your normal recruiting game.  Then it happens.

Rick, a guy you detest, sends you a referral and vouches for the candidate.

Damn. That's the last thing you needed. But the intensity of your discomfort is directed by the following determination:

--The candidate isn't good. AH HAH!  Rick is clueless. Order has been restored to the universe.

--The candidate is really, really good.  Whoops!  Shit just got complicated.

Why does the candidate being good make it problematic? Well, you hate Rick. That means the following things are in play:

1--If you don't interview a great candidate, you're the problem, not Rick.  That's never been a part of the narrative you had related to your relationship with Rick.

2--If you interview the great referral from Rick and don't hire them, it gives Rick an avenue to criticize the selection you do make. 

3--If you interview the candidate and hire them, have you just hired someone sympathetic to Rick when he's kind of been your nemesis during your tenure at ACME.com.  That seems like it might be problematic.

All of these things go through our mind when we get a referral from someone in our organization we don't like. The blind spot is simply to ignore the referral, because you won't engage with a person you don't respect and trust. But if you do that, you're playing small. You're better than that.

The real talent magnets understand that quality internal referrals from sworn enemies or simply people you don't like are GIFTS.  You should absolutely interview them and hire them if they're the best person for the job.

Whether you simply interview or actually hire the quality referral from a known enemy inside your company, you're playing chess - not checkers - with your engagement with this type of candidate.

Mine the candidate for info about Rick. You may learn they don't know Rick as well as you thought they did.  But if they do, be sure and drop some details to Rick about your conversation.  It's fun to watch Rick be a little bit uncomfortable.

Can you hire this candidate?  That really depends how good you are at your job.  If you're great at your job, they're going to enjoy being part of your team and Rick's not a threat.  Rick may actually end up hating the fact that he gave you a great referral, which is a gift in itself.

Great referrals from sources you hate are an opportunity. Play chess, not checkers.


Cost of Living Pay Cuts for Twitter Employees Moving from Bay Area: Valid or BS?

By now, you're aware that hundreds or thousands of companies have announced that their white-collar jobs won't be returning to the office until 2021, and perhaps until a vaccine is approved, deployed and effective.

That means people working for those companies can work anywhere. Add that the densely populated cities were the first hotbeds of COVID infection, and you've got a recipe for a talent migration - individuals determining that this is a good time to leave coastal areas like NYC, the Bay Area and Los Angeles (click link for one of hundreds of reports). Twitter

But as every HR pro knows, salaries offered via compensation plans get adjusted based on how much it costs to live in specific geographical areas. To no HR pro's surprise, that means companies at some point are going to adjust the compensation of people leaving areas like San Francisco for more remote areas where a 3-bedroom home doesn't cost 2-3 million.

Surprise! The process has started even at the most tech friendly (fair to say progressive) companies.  Last week, Twitter and VM Ware announced the plan to adjust salaries of those fleeing the Bay area was formally being rolled out. Here are some of the details via Bloomberg:

--VMware (NYSE:VMW) offered to let employees work from home permanently, but those who opt in and move out of the Bay Area will receive pay cuts. .

--The salary reductions depend on where the employee relocates. Denver, for example, would come with an 18% annual pay cut (San Diego, 8%), according to Bloomberg sources.

--Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is using a similar strategy with its newly permanent employees, and Facebook is mulling adopting the compensation scheme.

--Twitter employees who move and lose pay will get a $3,000 one-time allowance

--VMware tells Bloomberg it adjusts pay depending on the "cost of labor" for the region and notes that employees moving to more expensive areas could receive raises.

Is this fair? The talent pros who have been around the block will undoubtedly say yes. After all, if you open up a software developer shop in Denver as a means of relieving recruiting pressure in SF, and your compensation plan tells you the cost of a developer is 98k instead of 120K, that guidance would drive the recruiting plan related to what you wanted to pay. You might use the range based on what you find in the market, but that guidance is there for a reason, and most of the delta is cost of living guidance.

As expected, the Twitter mob is losing its mind. It's unfair, another example of the man attempting to screw the little guy, etc.

It's actually just data and math, folks. And for the most part, it's 100% legit.

Having said that, booming markets where a bunch of California people flee to in order to escape oppressive state taxes (and whatever else they're fleeing from) can lag a bit related to what the best compensation surveys might show. Denver and Idaho are red hot, but 18% still seems in range if you're trying to escape San Francisco.  Austin is another hot location, which begs the question of state taxes (0% in Texas) being included in the calculus.

Of course, what's normal and customary is also an opportunity. Tech companies looking to grab talent could take the market position of "we're not reducing salaries for those who move!", and use it as a recruiting advantage.

But that would cause compression and resentment for those that remain, which is kind of what the whole geographic thing related to compensation was designed to handle in the first place.

Good luck with the move, Twitter people! May your W-2 remain robust and in conjunction with your locale...


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!
 

 


How Did You Grow Up? I See My Parents In Things I Do at Work Every Day (The Best Hire Ever Podcast)

At my desk in my home office, I have two things to remind me where I came from:

--A weathered work thermos that was used by my dad in his career as a Telecom Lineman, and JleeBHE 

--A desk bell used by my Mom in her long career as a 1st grade school teacher.

Those items are on my desk to remind me of how much influence both had on me. Not that I need them for that, because I see my parents (RIP Kent and Deanna) in things I do every day of my career. While I'm my own person, there's no doubt that there are tens, if not hundreds, of little influences from them related to how I communicate, react to wins, deal with losses and otherwise navigate through the workday.

I know I'm not alone in this, which is why I asked Jessica Lee of Marriott International to join me on the Best Hire Ever Podcast to talk about the influence of her parents on her career.

Jessica grew up in an immigrant household in Seattle and California - her parents were immigrants from South Korea. It was great to hear all the experiences that Jessica can remember and understands the impact that upbringing had on her life and career - and how she's trying to pass some of it on to her children.

Take a listen below and hit me in the comments or with an email to tell me how you see your parents in you every day you're on the job.

I bet they gave you great stuff. 

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Please subscribe, rate and review (Apple) and follow (Spotify) to get the latest delivered to you.

 

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

2:00 - Is it Jessica, JLee or JL?  Not Jess or Jessie, BTW.

3:00 - KD talks about the pressure for college admissions, first jobs, etc. on today's young workers. KD points out that Jessica has done great things, but did not have a master plan at 22 or 23 years old. JLee agrees and talks about going on a date in DC with a guy who wanted to know her 5-year plan.

6:15 - Jessica describes growing up in a household with immigrant parents from South Korea. She talks about being a 1.5 or 2nd generation American. Jlee also talks about her first memories related to work and her parents.

8:35 - KD asks Jessica about her parents' desire to "create something" and whether they communicated that vision. JLee talks about the contrast between her parents' approach and her own relationship with her children.  

10:45 - Jlee talks about her siblings, their achievements from a career perspective and her role as the youngest in a household with Korean heritage.

14:23 - JLee talks about what she sees in herself,  related to work, based on her memories of being raised by immigrant parents. JLee recalls that, while expectations were high, there was an expectation/reality that they had to figure things out on their own, which is a cornerstone of who she is professionally. 

17:45 - KD challenges JLee to find a single trait to attribute to one of her parents and she comes up with a great one - her mother's attention to detail and how everything communicates something specific to the outside world - appearance, communication, running a meeting, etc.

23:40 - Jessica talks about the relationship of how she was raised to how she's trying to raise her own kids. She talks about the positive impact of having no safety net on her and her husband and struggling with how much her kids should be forced to struggle. JLee also talks about her parents' expectation of a professional career vs how she wants to influence her kids related to career choice.  KD asks about what her 2nd generation Korean peers are doing related to safety nets for their children.

30:00 - Jessica talks about how mental illness in her family (peaking in her high school years) also influenced how she was raised and how she views the world, as well as the impact of losing her father when she was 20. All of it combined to provide her with drive and initiative, as well as her worldview. KD asks JLee if the mental illness didn't exist if she would still have the same drive from a career perspective.

35:00 - JLee shares info from her executive coaching sessions.  SCOOP!  KD and JLee talk about how having a limited safety net builds self-awareness and urgency.

39:15 - KD is back to JLee as a parent! How is she going to weave all of it together - background, experiences and more - to get the best possible outcome for her kids?  JLee talks about the balance between "stacking the deck" vs forcing them to bootstrap in life.

RESOURCES AND SHOW NOTES:

------------Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee

The HR Famous Podcast

------------Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Boss Leadership Training Series

Kris Dunn on Twitter

Kris Dunn on Instagram


Are You Willing to Hire "Athletes" Rather Than Specialists at Your Company?

First up, the term "athlete" in this post is meant to describe hiring those who are generally smart, intellectually curious, quick on their feet, learn quickly, are great communicators and have DNA for drive/initiative - rather than hiring someone with domain experience in a job as your first concern.

With that description in mind, do you and/or your company favor athletes over specialists? Sometimes? Never? In what circumstances? Hfm

I'm drawn to the question since I read this passage from Diary of a Very Bad Year: Interviews with an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager by Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager:

“HFM: I didn’t go to business school. I did not major in economics. I learned the old-fashioned way, by apprenticing to a very talented investor, so I wound up getting into the hedge fund business before I think many people knew what a hedge fund was. I’ve been doing it for over ten years. I’m sure today I would never get hired.
 
n + 1: Really?
 
HFM: Yeah, it would be impossible because I had no background, or I had a very exiguous background in finance. The guy who hired me always talked about hiring good intellectual athletes, people who were sort of mentally agile in an all-around way, and that the specifics of finance you could learn, which I think is true. But at the time, I mean, no hedge fund was really flooded with applicants, and that allowed him to let his mind range a little bit and consider different kinds of candidates. Today we have a recruiting group, and what do they do? They throw résumés at you, and it’s, like, one business school guy, one finance major after another, kids who, from the time they were twelve years old, were watching Jim Cramer and dreaming of working in a hedge fund. And I think in reality that probably they’re less likely to make good investors than people with sort of more interesting backgrounds.
 
n + 1: Why?
 
HFM: Because I think that in the end the way that you make a ton of money is calling paradigm shifts, and people who are real finance types, maybe they can work really well within the paradigm of a particular kind of market or a particular set of rules of the game—and you can make money doing that—but the people who make huge money, the George Soroses and Julian Robertsons of the world, they’re the people who can step back and see when the paradigm is going to shift, and I think that comes from having a broader experience, a little bit of a different approach to how you think about things.

When you think about hedge funds, the book quote above displays a common trend. In the early days of any industry or specialty, it's easier to hire the best athlete available, mainly because domain experience doesn't really exist or is generally unavailable. The industry is too young.

But as the industry matures, risk taking on new hires goes down - because candidates with domain experience are widely available.

We could all probably stand to hire more athletes who are capable of not only doing the job in question, but become an agile talent asset for the company. But just saying that you're open to hiring an athlete doesn't mean you'll have success.

For best results in hiring "athletes", you'll need to define what makes someone an athlete. You won't generally find that on a resume, you'll need an assessment package.  For me, a candidate would qualify as an athlete if they have a high cognitive capability, low rules orientation (because I want to throw them at anything I want, they can't be hung up on that), high details (drives execution) and great writing and verbal skills.

They'd also have to be familiar with the term, "fake it 'til you make it", which I think is the mindset of any "athlete" worth her salt as defined by this post.

What did I miss?