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Posts Tagged ‘No Asshole Policy’

Pick Me…Ohh Ohh Pick Me!

March 3, 2010 4 comments

I was not one of those kids who was picked first on the playground nor was I the one who was picked last.  Average performer…story of my life.  I can distinctly recall, though, feeling a pit in my stomach watching those last two kids waiting to be picked – each hoping they wouldn’t be the last.  And then the look of disappointment, rejection, and confidence drain from that last kid.  Tough times on the playground.  But I suppose it’s a good lesson for later in life.  One can’t always be first, and sometimes you’ll be last. 

Opportunities to invite, include, or exclude abound in the workplace.  Whether it’s a conference call, a meeting, a business trip, a lunch, a dinner, or a boondoggle.  Someone is always going to feel left out.  Still happens to me – there’s a meeting going on right now with my executive peers in another city and I wasn’t invited.  That’s cool, though.  I understand why I’m not there and don’t expect someone to justify my absence.  Yes, I’m a big boy now.  None the less, I have some thoughts on inclusion in the workplace.

  • You can’t include every one all the time.  And it is nearly impossible to avoid bruised feelings.
  • Too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the pot and the same applies to too many business people at the conference table.
  • HOWEVER…when in doubt, over-include.
  • If someone is excluded, take the time to debrief them off-line after it’s all over.  That way they won’t feel like the “secret society” continues.
  • If you’re the one excluded, let it go.  If it eventually becomes a habit, talk with your boss (not your peers.) If it continues, start looking for another job.
  • If you’re one of those included and you go out of your way to rub it someone else’s face and flaunt your attendance like you’re something special, get a grip…you’re nothing but an asshole. (My Mom taught me never to talk with other people about parties you were invited to unless those people tell you specifically that they were invited too).

The more I think about it, there are a lot of things we could learn from our days on the playground that would help us in the workplace.  As it relates to inclusion, just try to be a bit more thoughtful about it.

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Fewer Pansy HR Courses at B-School, Please

January 11, 2010 5 comments

When I was in business school – back…back…way back – there were only three areas of emphasis one could elect as an undergraduate – Accounting, Finance, or Marketing.  I choose Accounting only because it seemed the easiest way to get a job…worked out ok for me.  But Human Resources wasn’t even on my radar screen – couldn’t spell it and even if I could I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anything even remotely related to HR on the course list.  From what I can tell, the profession has come a long way in partnering with Universities to get HR subject matter more prominent in business school curricula.  SHRM seems to have had a lot to do with that.  In fact, their 2005 publication SHRM Human Resource Curriculum Guidebook and Templates for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs does a pretty good job of offering a roadmap for integrating HR competencies with general business competencies at B-School.  I still think there’s something missing here, though.  Much of what I see today seems oriented too much toward developing pansy HR subject matter experts and not focused enough on injecting the HR professional pipeline with people who are Ninjas in navigating workplace complexities, sorting through emotional dynamics, acting with agility, and thinking critically.  Without that stuff, you’re just a commodity; after all, anyone can learn to manage a benefit plan…sorry.  If as a profession we are really committed to making HR more crucial to an organization’s value stream, I think we should see stuff like this in the syllabus:

  • “[Thinking] more nimbly across multiple frameworks, cultures and disciplines,” “Critical and Analytical Thinking,” “The art and science of building new models,” See great article in 1/10/2010 New York Times Sunday Business.
  • Leveraging the hidden benefits of conflict in the workplace
  • Managing a project – soup to nuts
  • Speaking (and speaking up) in public with confidence and conviction
  • Managing change on a broad-scale and without remorse
  • Networking 101 & Selling 101
  • Practicing selfishness (aka Applying the teachings of Ayn Rand to the HR profession)
  • Applying creativity, fostering innovation
  • Challenging the status-quo
  • Jedi-Mind-Trick negotiating
  • Leading through influence
  • Disagreeing tactfully
  • Identifying and disposing of assholes
  • Using aggression as your friend
  • Learning to say “no”
  • Having presence

Can these things be taught in B-School?  I think so.  While undergraduate (or post-graduate) degree from a University in-and-of-itself will not pave the road to success for aspiring HR professionals, it certainly has a role.  And you might as well forget about elevating the profession if those institutions keep sending us the same kinds of people who may know how to pass a certification test, but don’t know a thing about kicking tail.

The beating will continue until the morale improves

December 4, 2009 7 comments

I hear this all the time in jest.  Then I started to wonder whether there is something to it.  Why is it always the employer’s responsibility to improve morale?  So much of what effects negative sentiment in the workplace is a result of things that cannot be controlled – whether by employer or employee.  Sure, there are a bunch of asshole managers out there…always will be.  But there are also a lot of droopy eyed sorry ass no fun sonofa you know what employees out there too.  I got news for you, u sorry souls…work sucks!  And as long as you’re working “for the man” it probably will.  In my mind you really only have two choices (some would say three): 1) get over it, cheer up, smile and laugh a bit more, be thankful for the little things, and make the most of what you got  or 2) quit and bring your black cloud somewhere else.  The third choice is you stick around and make everyone else miserable.  That’s not a choice in my book.  I’m still going to play my role in helping create a productive, challenging, rewarding, and fun workplace, but I’m also going to encourage our leadership team, our mangers, and our employees to take responsibility for their own satisfaction.  Real lasting positive change comes from the grass-roots level – always has.  Employees need to stop waiting for someone else to brighten their day…and they definitely shouldn’t be expecting HR to do it for them.

Employers Need Love Too…

November 25, 2009 8 comments

I’m tired of hearing about what’s wrong with corporate America, getting a regular inventory of all the things employers should do better, and generally watching the workforce lament over getting beaten down again and again.  Do me a favor and get over it…even if just for this week of Thanksgiving.  Play along with me here.  I’m thankful:

  • That I have a paycheck directly deposited into my checking account every two weeks without fail
  • That my employer will provide for me (or at least partially) if I get sick and can’t work
  • That my employer allows me to take time away from the office to spend with my family and pays me to do so
  • For affordable healthcare coverage that gives my loved ones access to world-class medical expertise
  • For an air-conditioned office
  • For social security, state, federal, unemployment, and other miscellaneous taxes paid on my behalf by the company
  • For some reasonable chance of getting a severance package if I were ever separated from the organization
  • For access to free regular training
  • For exposure to people who know more than I about a lot of things and the ongoing learning that comes with it
  • For a daily commute that’s less than 20 minutes
  • That I have a boss who is patient with me, lets me make mistakes, and pretty much gets out-of-the-way
  • That I have a team that is patient with me, lets me make mistakes, and pretty much pushes me out-of-the-way
  • That I work for a company that does good things for its customers and genuinely tries to do what’s right for its employees
  • For enough travel to get away from time to time, but not so much that I miss out on what really matters at home
  • For an environment that has a 100:1 cool employee to asshole employee ratio
  • For a qualified retirement plan to which my employer makes matching contributions
  • That I have to work only a  few weekends here and there
  • For something to go to every day which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble…

There is something liberating about this exercise.  Count your blessings and show the love.  Give the benefit of the doubt, have some faith, and remember it’s not all about you.  Tell us (and your employer) what you’re thankful for and I’ll Share Your Thanks with Twitterland (#EmployerThx).

Think Small

November 16, 2009 12 comments

communityI usually try to catch Steve Boese’s weekly broadcast of HR Happy Hour.  Unfortunately, the live broadcast is just about the time that my kids are getting ready for bed and my wife is crossing over to the dark side of bi-polar…look out.  So while I’m giving baths and reading books (or telling stories), some of the best on the fringe of HR thought leadership are shooting the breeze about a bunch good stuff.  I do my best, though, to listen to the podcast the next day.  Last week’s (#19) show was dedicated to ‘Next Gen HR’ – FistfulofTalent paneled the discussion.  I like these guys and they started some good debate.  It gravitated quickly to the merits of getting a PHR or an SPHR and to SHRM’s role in advancing the HR agenda.  That’s obviously important to people these days…have been seeing a lot of it.  I have to admit, though, I was bummed.  Big topic, small talk…

So I don’t purport to have any huge insights into what Next Gen HR is all about, but I do have something that I think we should all really think about.  What if the next big thing for HR isn’t big at all?  What if it’s right in front of our noses? It’s not about technology, it’s not about certifications, it’s not about programs, it’s not about social media (ok, just pretend for a moment), it’s not about how we educate and develop leaders, it’s not about how we manage risk, it’s not about how we pay our people or how we benefit them, and it’s not about attracting the best and brightest.  Rather, it’s about the most fundamental component of human existence…I’m talking about the innate desire to commune and to connect.  I say Next Gen HR has something to do with:

  • less talking and more listening
  • giving our people guidelines, but trusting them to do what’s right or what’s good
  • a regular devotion to “breaking bread” together
  • hiring people who are happy and fun and funny
  • getting rid of assholes in the workplace…like zero tolerance
  • impromptu celebrations
  • less paper, fewer Emails
  • performance management that is based on behaviors – function over form
  • open and honest communication
  • more genuine ‘thank you’s’ and fewer “reward and recognition” programs
  • the death of surveys and the birth of focus groups
  • less strategy…yes, less strategy…and more ‘go with the flow’

There’s more…oh so much more.  But it’s more of less.  I think we need to stop worrying about the next big thing, and start thinking about how we can bring a new dynamic to the workplace…SIMPLICITY!