DISRUPTING HR IN A VUCA WORLD

DISRUPTING HR IN A VUCA WORLD

HR DISRUPTED - THE BOOK EVERY 'HR' PERSON SHOULD READ

HR DISRUPTED - THE BOOK EVERY 'HR' PERSON SHOULD READ

Lucy Adams ‘doesn’t mince her words’ as my Scottish mother would say!

As a fellow Glaswegian, I was drawn to Lucy’s compelling case and urgency to waste no time getting HR folk to refresh and reinvent their business of ‘people’. Acknowledging the VUCA status of our world, her advice is generous, her reasoning credible and if you’re not on her wavelength then you’re in dire straits.

No matter where you are on the ‘HR Change Continuum’ I know you’ll glean plenty of useful ideas for your organisation. And no doubt, some of you should share your super HR practices with Lucy. However, I was appalled listening to a now ex-employee of one of Australia’s most iconic sporting institutions who recounted their ‘manager’s inability to lead’ and HR’s lack of support; sadly it was too late when the CEO listened and acknowledged his plight. This recent encounter heightened my drive to change Australian workplaces and getting the HR space involved in leadership.

HR Disrupted asks you to turn your HR upside down and:

·        Help leaders be more human in their communications

·        Become the people experts, not the policy police

·        Encourage staff to challenge the status quo

·        Be a provider of opportunities to innovate and be creative

·        Get fresh people to lead departments to see possibilities

·        Treat Employees as Adults, Consumers and importantly, as Human beings (a new HR model = EACH)

·        Listen to the five generations in your workforce, they all have different needs, and

·        Ask, How was work for you this week? Or, What policies frustrated you most? (And do something immediately about it.)

It would appear that Australia isn’t alone in creating policies based on the lowest common denominator (i.e. one person stuffing up) opposed to removing the ‘HR Policy Handbook’ and creating the People Book – building great people and leadership. 

Three components of the book were standouts:

PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS/REVIEWS

I cracked open the champers when I read “remove appraisals” – thankfully someone agrees with me on this one. I have honestly never met anyone who enjoys the performance appraisal system. Have you? We waste so much of our time, people’s time and money to roll out, stuff it up and roll it back up. We would be best investing in helping our people and leaders give and receive awesome feedback.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Chapter Thirteen delved into my world of Leadership Development; challenging the approach to developing leadership by sending people off on a one day workshop or a six-week program. Whilst I didn’t agree with all of Lucy’s thinking, I wholeheartedly agree that we need to listen to the employee as a consumer of our products - not HR or the business alone. We do know that people struggle to implement their learning – it’s too easy to fall back to what is known opposed to showing courage and experimenting and failing in our attempt to change.

MOTIVATION

Motivation was examined at length; identifying that the key role of HR is to help leaders learn and understand, what drives people. Given that we know most people want to be respected, appreciated and work with a company doing something special, we can focus less on the need to onboard and off-load as people will be motivated to stay. When HR become the people experts they will be doing things terribly different.

The crux of Lucy’s message is this: HR need to work with leaders to become amazing human beings, helping them communicate in a human way: saying sorry if they get it wrong, use storytelling to engage, and praise staff in a natural and spontaneous way.  When this is done, HR have done a super job. In actual fact, HR might do them out of a job!

As more Millennials take on leadership roles and ‘command and control’ baby boomers leave their roles of authority we will have a greater opportunity to disrupt HR. However, that might take a while, so we need the current HR gang to take the lead and exemplify the mindset of VUCA world ready leaders. They’ll do this by building trust, lessening threats, encourage collaboration, connecting people across organisations and have a generosity of spirit.

I believe you get the gist that I’m quite fond of this book – so much so, I’d say it’s been the best read in my reading challenge.

Your actions include: read the book, share the book with people in your organisation and start doing HR differently. And, whilst I prefer to spruik my own workshops, I notice that Lucy will be in Australia in May – check out www.disruptivehr.co.uk

I’d love to discuss Lucy’s ideas and of course my practice – so let’s connect.

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

WHAT'S YOUR PROVOCATIVE QUESTION?

WHAT’S YOUR PROVOCATIVE QUESTION?

What do you collect?

I’ve met collectors of shoes, cars, houses and recipes! I simply or crazily collect questions.

Great questions can: transform a superficial conversation into an extraordinary relationship; unlock the real you … someone whom you thought you really knew and questions can elevate your happiness (think: Will you marry me?)

I glean questions at every opportunity. I record them, highlight them in a book, send myself recorded messages when I hear questions and their answers – quite alarming when I think of it!

So, it was very exciting to be handed a book which was filled with questions. That’s a Great Question, written or should I say, collated by Greg Bustin, provides on a platter, hundreds of tried and tested provacative questions, categorized into themed chapters – handy if you’re coaching others or as I found myself, using it as a self-help coaching book. Don’t be fooled thinking it’s a one hour read!

This book is your ideal, end of year practical exercise to prepare for 2017. As Greg suggests, take yourself away from your normal space; go hiking, block out a day to work through this book. Surprisingly, I am still reading this book today (Sunday) as I have found myself continually stopping in search on the answers.

In my business this week, we completed a mini-skills session with a client – exploring a couple of models to coach staff. I am always amazed how people come to realise how powerful a conversation becomes by using great questions to dig and discover.

Greg says that using questions effectively is like a dance. I agree. It’s not a checklist. It’s a conversation which you can exercise your lead but it’s about two people committed to working together. Whilst it might not look like Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers on the dancefloor, it should feel like a performance (of achievement).

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers - Courtesy of DHC Treasures

I couldn’t decide on a favourite question to share; so I’ve selected a few from a few of the thoughtfully categorised sections of the book. Use these on yourself and be surprised how time consuming it can be truthfully respond.

Purpose

If our company did not exist, what would the world be missing?What gives me a sense of certainty?

Values

What’s one principle I wished everyone practised?

Goal Setting

If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?

Trust

What am I kidding myself about?

How do I respond when I place my trust in someone and they let me down?

Communication

If a stranger walked in and asked any employee about our vision, mission and strategy, what would they hear?

Leadership

Do I behave differently in the office than at home? If so, in what ways? If so, what causes my behaviour to differ from place to place?

Time Management

If I tracked my time in 30 minute increments for a month, what would I find? Is this how I should spend my time?

Talent + Teamwork

Who are five people I spend most of my time with? Are they helping me or holding me back?

What am I doing to help make this job the best job my people have ever had?

Customer + Prospects

What memorable experience are we creating with our customers?

Making Things Happen

Do we measure the things that are important to us?

Are we having fun? Am I having fun?

Accountability

Whose job am I doing today? (I do like this question.)

Blue Sky

What would I do if I didn’t work?

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. – Albert Einstein

 

The book provides tips to help you coach others effectively, how to structure your questions, which words to never use and rules to abide by to establish a trusting relationship where private information is shared.

My greatest tip for you is to use the book on yourself first. Leadership works well when there is authentic self-awareness. Let this book be your gift to others by getting yourself ready for an awesome 2017. Alternatively, gift yourself a Coach for 2017 and get in contact with me to discover your best self.

 

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

EGO - YOUR ENEMY?

Is Ego your Enemy?

In the ‘70s, Skyhooks, an iconic Australian band, had a hit song, ‘Ego is not a dirty word’. So iconic, that the mere mention of the word “Ego” sends the Australian (of my era) mind into a lyric mode. (Am I right?)

I grew up believing that Ego wasn’t a dirty word however in recent reads, ‘ego’ has raised its head as the culprit and the demise of so many known identifies. Ego caught my eye while book browsing and this week I read Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday, a New York media columnist, reformed workaholic and historian.

To be told that ego is the enemy, the reason for so much sadness, failures, and unfulfilled dreams, proved a challenging read. However, as I flicked through the pages, it proved to be an interesting, informative and I must say, influential read. If a book can change your view on a matter then it’s been a worthy read. I was really challenged by this book’s content– more so than any other book I’ve read during my self-imposed reading ‘challenge’. Ryan’s style is sophisticated, yet soothing with so many stories and his blatantly biased beliefs.

With his rich source of historical stories and fact, I found the read a most educative read – it’s saved me reading 20+ historical books – learning about his choice of individuals who have either suffered their own demise of egotism or mastered a humble life. I feel most informed about; Aristotle, Churchill, Machiavelli, General Marshall, Howard Hughes, Genghis Khan, Benjamin Franklin, Katharine Graham, Angela Merkel, Malcolm X, Steve Jobs and Adam Smith.  

Chancellor Angela Merkel is sober, when far too many leaders are intoxicated - with ego, with power, with position.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is sober, when far too many leaders are intoxicated - with ego, with power, with position.

The ego we see most commonly goes by a more casual definition: an unhealthy belief in your own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition.

The book is organised into three sections: Aspire, Success, and Failure. Purposely designed to heighten your awareness when ego will plague you, encouraging you to start your training to suppress ego and to replace the temptations and cultivate strength. In other words: be humble in our aspirations, gracious in our success and resilient in our failures.

I would expect that my many extroverted mates will be intimidated with the views scattered through the book and suspect that 51% of the population, the introverts in our world, will agree with the populated world of extroverts who are overly noisy about their passion for sharing in their egotistical manner!

WHEREVER YOU ARE, WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING, YOUR WORST ENEMY ALREADY LIVES INSIDE YOU: YOUR EGO.

I found myself sinking into thoughts of the past, using this new Ego lens to view people’s performance, behaviours and management of matters. Ego has taken the paramount place in guiding their choices and humility has been left behind.

I suspect that this book would be a great gift for that person who’s Ego needs taming or needs some training.

I’ve been following Ryan on Twitter for the past week and he shares an abundance of historical quotes.  This is evidently his style as the book is saturated with wisdom and challenging thoughts. To master our greatest opponent, our ego, let’s contemplete these thoughts:

·        Passion typically masks a weakness – it is a poor substitute for discipline, master, strength, purpose and perseverance.

·        We tend to think that ego equals confidence, which is what we need to be in charge. In fact, it can have the opposite effect.

·        Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to succeed: our mind.

·        Passion is form over function. Purpose is function, function, function.

·        What is rare is not raw talent, skill or even confidence but humility, diligence and self-awareness

·        The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.

·        Talk depletes us – while goal visualisation is important, after a certain point our mind begins to confuse it with actual progress – the same goes for verbalization.

·        The only relationship between work and chatter is that one kills the other.

·        If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.

·        Only when free of ego and baggage can anyone perform to their utmost.

·        When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real.

·        It is poise, not pose.

·        One might say that the ability to evaluate one’s own ability is the most important skill of all. Without it, improvement is impossible.

·        Don’t allow your ego’s noise to indulge in games – ignore the noise, don’t allow it to distract you. Restraint is a critical skill.

·        Man is pushed by drives but he is pulled by values.

·        Disease of Me – after a team starts to win, the simple bonds that joined the individuals begin to fray – people calculate their importance.

·        Silence the noise around you; ‘go into the wilderness and return with inspiration, a plan, perspective and an understanding of the larger picture.

·        Creativity is a matter of receptiveness and recognition. This cannot happen if you’re convinced the world revolves around you.

·        Power doesn’t so much corrupt: that’s too simple. It fragments, closes options, mesmerizes – clouds the mind precisely when it needs to be clear. Sobriety is a counterbalance, a hangover cure – or better, a prevention method.

·        Ego can’t see both sides of the issue. It can’t get better because it only sees the validation.

·        Vain men never hear anything but praise.

·        Not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.

A great metaphor is shared regarding training to master your ego. Training is like sweeping the floor. Just because we’ve done it once, doesn’t mean the floor is clean forever. Every day dust comes back. Every day we must sweep. (Every minute of the day and then sweep again.)

If you struggle with the discipline of changing your behaviour, it's worth considering asking for guidance. Get in contact with me to help you with your ego.

I’m looking forward to my 20th book which I found in my library – it’s by Donald Trump! 

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

Linkedin's Holy Grail

Linkedin's Holy Grail

I’ll admit that I’ve never been a fan of LinkedIn. I’ve found it clunky, awkward to navigate and discussion is limited.  However, knowing that Linkedin has had a dramatic impact on the way business is done and has been a game changer for us professionals I have persisted.

Thankfully upon a friend’s recommendation (hearing me whinge too often) Connect arrived in the mail.  I was pleasantly surprised flicking through the pages how quickly I found a handful of useful tips which I could immediately implement to improve my profile. I’ve now read the whole book (only takes a few hours) and realised with 40 post-it notes tagging pages to action, that I had found Linkedin’s Holy Grail!

 

 

Authors Jane Anderson, a personal branding expert and Kylie Chown, a LinkedIn Branding expert, have produced an old fashioned paper manual. Yep, Connect contains screen shots, steps and cross dressed it with client case studies, stories, activities, reflections and actions. I scored 78 out of a potential 160 points on my Linkedin Self-Assessment which determined quite clearly that my LinkedIn profile wasn’t working for me. And I was hooked!

I’m looking forward to taming this social media monster by spending seven minutes a day once I’m implemented the ‘Holy Grail’s advice.

My immediate attention was drawn to:

Complete a google search on yourself – where do you turn up? I hope it’s not the second page. This relates to SEO – search engine optimisation – and the tip is to use key words which help you be found and be marketable. I immediately changed my headline which was missing a crucial word in my business – development.

Don’t talk about the past, tell people about your vision and future plans. This stopped me in my tracks. So many folk, including myself, use LinkedIn as their on-line Bio/CV/Resume. The tip is to decide, what you want to achieve with LinkedIn. And, you only have four seconds to grab their attention.

If 19% of the time is spent looking at your photo, is it portraying what you want to achieve? My current photo is a professional photo, however, taken four years ago and it wasn’t planned for social media usage. I’ve decided it’s time to update my headshot. (I’ve actually suggested to a group of women that we do this at the same time.)

Be active and connect in Groups. There is likely to be a group of people who are interested in what you’re passionate about, or share your expertise. I found myself reconnecting with a group of consultants from around the world who share in the use of a common personality profile tool. Again, an immediate outcome of learning what others are doing in their business practice.

Personalise your connection messages and acknowledge people who ask to connect with you e.g. ask them if you can be of any help. How many times have you connected and not said “Hello?” And, here’s the icing on the cake – take notes and add reminders about your connection in the ‘relationships’ section. Who would have known?!

Whilst I’m yet to implement these many changes, I’m now confident I know how to make Linkedin work for me, and appreciate its features. I’m particularly enjoying being proactive connecting with people whose profile clearly identifies with my latest project. I’m saving time connecting with people and meeting them. Tick!

What’s your profile saying? Are you being found for what you want to be found for?

If you are yet to conquer the quest of taming Linkedin, then I highly recommend grabbing Connect. Or, if you’re time poor, I suppose you could ask Jane and Kylie to do it for you!

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

All eyes are on you

Our society is becoming increasingly under video surveillance; we have cameras on all city corners, YouTube is the most watched global channel which is made up of 'home made videos' and our life is being captured on on all forms of social media and devices 24/7. 

Our life is one long play button!

Our life is one long play button!

So, it's disappointing when you observe a leader in action and they are sending all the wrong messages ... even before they open their mouth!

We have devices in our hands (almost attached) which provide the functionality to record these behaviours - whether that be action or sound. However, we don't proactively catch ourselves, let alone ask others to assist in collecting data for a factual conversation.

I was providing feedback to a client recently about the benefit of their need to show some emotion when they're experiencing conflict. Bottling it inside doesn't aid their health and keeping a poker face doesn't allow others to understand their thoughts and feelings about the change.

We have never been so visible - we are 'on stage' in a leadership position. ALL EYES ARE ON YOU - whether that's from admiration, respect or waiting for you to slip up.

Rolling your eyes, taking calls in the middle of a meeting, being sarcastic, making derogatory comments about team mates/colleagues/clients/managers and making deflective comments (which my 8 year old would use - " they made me do it") are totally unacceptable.

If this has touched a nerve, do yourself and in particular, your people a favor - ask for feedback from someone who will be honest or use the video app on your device to capture your body language - there really are no excuses in today's tech savvy world.

You are accountable for your leadership performance and it's possible to make small changes which will make dramatic changes to your business and importantly the people you influence. 

 

 

 

 

No news is good news!

No news is good news!

In today's tech savvy world there is no excuse for no news. If you have no news, there is an appetite to still hear or understand that there is no news, no change or no update!

Most of us are attached to our devices and reading or hearing nothing is excruciating!

Whilst I type this in jest, how many times do you look at your device to check for expected messages?

I stood quietly for 150 minutes in a NZ airport queue with not one announcement. Asking 'airport' staff politely for an update didn't provide any satisfaction so I wasn't surprised when I heard later (whilst still at the airport) that things got 'ugly'.

How easy would it be for all us to be advised to tune into a channel on our device (in our preferred language) and advised with a prerecorded or live update. Or encourage passengers to use twitter and follow the airline/airport for 5 min updates. These are two simple solutions to share any news - even 'no news'!

If leadership is about influencing, then consider yourself accountable for keeping people informed. And, give people the option on how they want to receive the news: social media, email, website or face-to-face are options.

When I ask people "how frequently does your organisation keep you updated with news?" the response is varied. One statement I've not yet heard is: I wish they would slow down, they keep us up-to-date too regularly.

Pop this thought on your radar and be more aware of keeping people connected with news. Good news and no news!

 

 

 

What turns you on? People, Performance or Process?

What turns you on?

PEOPLE, PERFORMANCE OR PROCESS?

Do you have a natural inclination to be drawn to one of these three options?

Are you one who is accommodating and generally fueled by the interests of people?

Or, is it the outcome and in particular the performance that draws your attention?

Then there is process, are you more interested in how things work or come together?

I'm a performance person. Today I set me kids a challenge chart and they are busy building a boat at the moment. They've decided to make it a competition which excites me even more!

Whether you are a people, performance or a process driven person, you've got to understand that your communication preference doesn't work for others if you're driven by different motives. Fortunately, my two kids are excited with most challenges, so I talk in the 'performance' language - my native tongue!

With the constant change in our lives, we must be multi-lingual to ensure we maintain our relationships rather than mismanage them. Many folks are bi-lingual, they have two preference e.g. people & performance or process & people. This is more complex to interpret and many play the guessing game rather than get smart with their communications.

If you don't know the motivation language of your team or anyone who you have a vested interest in - then we need to talk ... now!

Which Conversation Is Necessary?

Last week, I was work-shopping 'Coaching' with a small group of leaders and a 'problem' case study was presented by a member of the group to use as an opportunity to practise their understanding of coaching and new found knowledge. We were briefed by the leader and the group/team of coaches commenced using the GROW model to uncover the purpose of the conversation goal.

After five minutes of questioning, the group realised that they were all feeling the same, challenged by the behaviour of the 'coachee' (which was being well acted); they were unable to create a space which created a dialogue . The coachee was a 'closed shop' and their behaviour was appalling and unhelpful. 

The group was stumped.

I then posed this question to the group, "Which type of conversation is necessary in this situation?"  And, is Coaching appropriate?

It was concluded that the conversation required an approach which dictated the expectations of the workplace, one which acknowledged the condoned behaviours and an agreement of the facts and the course of action required. This conversation was at the opposite end of the spectrum where coaching starts. 

We can be ineffective as leaders if we don't use our time wisely, determining the necessary conversation and the appropriate timing - rather than wasting time and that of others. The spectrum of leadership conversations is vast and ranges from:

Dialogue - to understand

Discussion - to agree or disagree based on the understanding

Decision - to chose a course of action from the agreement/disagreement

Direction - to guide movement towards achieving an action

Dictate - to confront with facts and advise the course of action

Once you've decided on the purpose of the conversation, then it's time to consider the questions and commentary to drive it. Practise makes an effective leader!

Communication - it's not about you!

It's OK to admit our mistakes - as much as it might hurt our ego, it's best to seek forgiveness than have the reputation of being a poor communicator.

The mistake made too frequently by most adults, including the person behind these words, is to communicate for our self opposed to our intended audience. Whether that audience be our team, our kids or a potential client.

Communication is a mammoth subject and  given we spend so many hours communicating - do you ever stop and consider, how effective we are at 'selling' our message ?

The specific mistake is 'using the wrong communication approach'. For example, if you get turned on by producing 50 PowerPoint slides with gorgeous diagrams, sound bites and fonts which you cram into 30 minutes and your audience prefer detail and discussion, then you've selected the wrong communication medium and matched the incorrect learning style.

I don't need to tell you how to do it right, you can 'Google that lesson' what I implore you to do is to think, feel and do understand the preference of the audience or at least vary your communication approach.

I attempt to incorporate three approaches whenever I communicate:

Think - provide information visually - screen, paper & audio and where possible send or make available the information which I plan to cover, ahead of time 

Feel -  use stories, incorporate their names & their stories which you've identified when asking them questions, and 

Do - engage their brain & bum - after 10 minutes people disengage.

TED got it right with the rule of  '18 minutes or less' - that's more than enough time to ask someone to listen to you without any interaction. And now we see everyone in the audience happily using their device while listening (partially) because that's their style of learning & listening! You might not like it - but it's not about you!

Many years ago, a Mentor of mine shared a priceless lesson which I wish I practised more often - Communication is a game: the winner talks least and encourages others to talk/do more!

Have you rained on someone's parade?

I was waiting to run the #City2Sea in Melbourne and the conversation in my group was centred on 'who isn't here'. It was cold, pouring rain and puddles were appearing. We were all accounted for in our team however we suspected 2000 people wouldn't arrive because of the rain!

More often than not, it's other people who rain on our parade. The unthoughtful quick comment, the doubting facial expression and the killer rejection body language. I often bite my lip when I hear and see other people fall guilty to these practices and thankful that I can catch myself before I follow suit.

I suggest we're all guilty of raining on other peoples' parades; we believe we know best and that we're helping out by advising against others' ideas and I recommend we impose a fine of $100 every time we hear ourselves say "we've tried that before"!

As we age (gracefully & gentlemanly) let's learn to poker face our way through conversations or better still artfully ask questions to help the poor souls decide for themselves if it's a great or grotesque idea / solution. As we we'll know, the learning is in the doing especially the expensive mistakes.

I decree that I won't rain on anyone's parade today!