HR Gettiing Some Respect? What!?

•January 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I just read an article from the Birmingham Business Journal.  For those of you who don’t know I do live in the HR capitol of the world, Birmingham, Alabama.  If you don’t believe Bham is the HR capitol of the world, just ask Kris Dunn or any of the folks at Fistful Of Talent.  

The BBJ stated that HR Managers are one of  Birmingham’s 25 Best Careers For High Pay & Job Growth.  That bears repeating… The BBJ stated that HR Managers are one of Birmingham’s 25 BEST Careers for HIGH PAY & Job Growth.  

This is on a list that includes execs and doctors.  Also included are Marketing Managers and PR Managers.  This has huge, positive implications for the HR profession.  HR + Marketing = corporate awesomeness. 

When I started in HR, very optimistic and excited about the new career path, HR pros told me repeatedly, “girl, I hope you didn’t take this gig for the money”.  And really in many ways I did not. But that was the vibe from the HR disbelivers. 

Although I have no emperical proof — here are some things I’d like to believe from this article: 

  • HR is becoming more important to execs than they once believed
  • The 4 disciplines of HR (recruiting, training, benefits/comp, employee relations) are too specialized for other departments to inherit anymore  
  • Global growth and speed of business is creating a greater need for HR support than every before.  Gone are the days individual department managers have the time to handle the HR stuff 
  • Engagement is still the new black and is being looked upon as an organizational differentiator.  Even though bloggers are tired of writing or reading about engagement, CEOs are just now getting the drift 

Last but not least – I really do hope it is true that HR pros are envisioning a new future for their roles.  For if they don’t believe they are worthy of being credible in the corporate arena, no one else will. 

Stupid Is As Stupid Does – Research on Poor Performers

•January 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

OK — Poor performers aren’t really stupid in the true sense.  But it does make for a catchy title. 

Harvard Business Review released an article about the mindset of poor performers.  From an academic standpoint, research shows that poor performers tend to overestimate how fabulous they are.  

That is so simple.  Man, I feel stupid to have not looked at the mindset of poor performers in an altruistic light.  In a lot of cases some poor performers may simply be hardwired in perceiving themselves as great performers.  Could that be a medical thing, a learned trait, an ego issue? Who knows, but compelling findings. 

As an HR pro, any time a manager comes to me with a corrective coaching issue I ask them, “are they aware of the issue”?  Some say yes, some say no, and usually I am just happy  the manager wants to let them know even if through “formal” coaching.  

But what about the manager who wants to fire someone with no warning?  Who had no conversations with the employee about a continuous behavior/skill problem but is simply to fed up to deal with it.  Who when asked “did you discuss the issue with your employee” states “yes!  Too many times to count!”.  Whom, upon further investigation actually did not discuss with the employee in any clear way. Aren’t they poor performers too by shunning their managerial duties?  Could they also fit in this research group who believes they are more competent than they really are?

And the cycle continues.  

HR pros may want to look at coaching all of these individuals from the mindset  some may simply be hardwired differently.  That most people want to do well but may need a little more attention. For our job is to help correct and improve when is reasonable.  Isn’t that why we got into this gig?



Zappo’s Eliminates Job Titles, But To Err Is Human

•January 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I just read an article in Entrepreneur that stated Zappos, the Dali Lama of corporate zen (engagement, radical org shifts, etc.) is feng shui – ing it.  They are to eliminate all job titles. To do this they are implementing a web-based software called GlassFrog.  

Their new org structure is called a Holocracy.  Hierarchy will be replaced by job circles that are task/ project based.  Everyone in the circle has equal voice. No red tape, no politics, no hierarchy, total transparency, no ego. 

Nice concept if it weren’t for the human condition. 

I’ve yet to see a group of folks, especially in a work environment, eliminate any of those things totally.  Why?  Humans like to prove we are better than others.  Check out Jonah Berger’s book Contagious.  Studies show people are extremely motivated by doing better than peers. 

Ego is part of genetics.  I’m not sure circles will eliminate that. 

Alpha’s typically emerge in any group.  When I was in elementary school someone always emerged as Han Solo.  

Politics is synonymous with corporations.  And church.  And theatre.  And sports.  Competition for time, to be heard, to have influence,  to have your idea chosen, and your agenda propelled means ending up on the right side of the decision maker. 

It will be very interesting to follow this experiment.  I hope it works.  In the least here are some best practices from Holocracy that could work in any organizational structure. 

  • have real time meetings
  • focus on next-steps
  • don’t focus on over analysis
  • create ground rules for interactions
  • know who owns what
  • metrics matter.  How will you measure success?

More to come on this I am sure.  




Salute Your Solution: Simplify

•September 13, 2012 • 7 Comments

I love Jack White.  I love his project the Raconteurs. They have a song called Salute Your Solution.  I love it too.

I have realized the HR/ Leadership solution I am saluting is simple.  Simplify.

We are overstimulated.  We are overstretched.  Therefore we overthink.  I am a huge culprit of this, and it doesn’t help me at all. Overthinking simply keeps me in first gear.  We overthink because we are afraid of a commitment that could and usually will lead to failure.

For instance, I always pack too much.  I went to the beach last weekend; we were there for 4 days.  I packed:

  • Brown Shorts
  • Black Shorts
  • Beige Shorts
  • Long Black Pants
  • Long Brown Pants
  • A Black Skirt
  • A Black Shirt
  • A Blue Skirt
  • A Peasant Shirt
  • A Black Bathing Suit
  • A Grey Bathing Suit
  • Stretchy Pants that I call fun pants.  I can eat what I want in them = fun
  • 2 T-shirts
  • A Beach Coverup
  • Underwear…etc.
  • 2 pairs of sandals
  • Running shoes
  • Windbreaker

What if it rains, what if I feel ugly one day and want to wear long stuff, what if I spill something on one of the shirts, what if….

Holy. Crap. 

Know what I wore the whole weekend? 

  • The two bathing suits/beach cover up,
  • A T-shirt (same one like every day)
  • One of the brown shorts (like every day)
  • And my stretchy/ fun pants 
  • Of couse the underwear…etc.

As a leader look at your goals and see if it reads like my packing list.  Quit thinking of every possible outcome and just chose one.  GO WITH IT.  Move on.  If one of your goals get’s rained on, buy a windbreaker then.  Or just get out of the rain. 

Triumph! Hiring those with Autism a Win for Cos

•August 1, 2012 • 3 Comments

There was a great article in called Companies Find Fruitful Results When Hiring Autistic Workers. Many give lip service to hiring those with disabilities. That’s fine, but lip service isn’t enought. Go out on a limb and try it. Here’s how.

Daxko has partnered with a local Birmingham group called Triumph Services. They help adults with developmental disabilities, including autism, live independently. Daxko put our money where our mouth is; we’ve hired a young man with autism to help us with administrative items, light cleanup work, restocking supplies, and most importantly…keeping our soda fridges and fruit bowls filled. (We offer these free to all our team members, so high on the priority list for sure.

One other thing about our hire is he also has a job at Publix. He works two jobs – more than many other candidates we screen. Shows initiative, drive and commitment.

Check out this success story. Startup company Aspiritech hires those with Aspergers (a mild form of autism) as software testers. Yes software testers. Due to the typical high attention to detail found in many adults with Aspergers, for Aspiritech it is a good and successful match. Win-win.

Adding autistic workers to your workforce is really easy. Here is what you do.

  • Find a local group that supports autistic workers. Partner with them now.
  • Check out Here are a few articles on autism in the workplace:
  • Find a job that needs filling. Usually those with high attention to detail (although that is not always the case).
  • Typically more flexible organizations are ideal for this type of hire. Strict clock-watching environments may not be the best.
  • Treat autistic employees like every other employee in your co. They are working for pay and to learn real life skills. If it doesn’t work out, that is OK.
  • Have courage to try something different.

Did Steven Covey Die? How to Stay Plugged In When You’ve Tuned Out

•July 27, 2012 • 2 Comments








One word:  Prioritize.  Covey would agree.

I just heard Steven Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, founder of Franklin Covey and general life guru died.  He died on July 16th, 10 days ago.  I am just hearing about this now.  How is that possible?  When I Googled it, many articles came up, but I was still surprised I didn’t hear more about it sooner. I mean I’m plugged in right?

No, I really haven’t been.  I needed my world to smaller for just a few days.  These were the days apparently Steven Covey died.

It is important you stay plugged in all the time.  But to the right things at the right time.  If you don’t know this, current leaders, managers, directors have to stay plugged in ALL the time. This can’t be overstated. Our paycheck depends on our ability to know, on a personal level, our employees.  The best managers have social relationships at work. That means you really have to:

  • Talk to people
  • Engage your employees using social media (really you do)
  • Understand your people

Yes—you must be plugged in at all times but NOT to all things.  Something must give. Plugging into people sometimes means you need to tune out of the rest of the world.  About that world being smaller thing…I needed to tune out of the Batman movie massacre.  I needed to tune out of the political opining on every news outlet.  I needed to tune out of the John Travolta sex scandal. I had to tune out.

Being plugged into people doesn’t mean you have to only spend face-time with them (although that is important).  You can use several other mediums.  But it takes a lot of brain-power to stay plugged in through all the mediums.  Still do it.  You just have to tune the other noise out even more.

It’s not your job to be a beat-reporter.  It’s your job to tune in to your real-life people.

#FOT CYA Report: Carol McDaniel, Facebook and Kim Kardashian Shoes

•July 26, 2012 • 2 Comments

This week I am giving you a double dose of the Fistful Of Talent  and CYA report.  It’s too great to only post once.  Here is some more real-time info to help you CYA at work (AKA, more tasty bits of HR knowledge so you can rock your corporate world). 

Click here to listen.

In this new episode Tim and I talk with Carol McDaniel… VP of HR Florida and SVP of Kenetix.  In case you didn’t know HR Florida is one of the best HR Conferences in the US.  To learn more, you gotta listen.   Good stuff.

Also, Kris and I razz on the new Facebook Job board AND… JC Penny’s bold new move to take away all cashiers.  Really.


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