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Top Ten HR Tips for Managers

Looking back, all the HR-sponsored management training I’ve had focused on liability.  Oh, sure, there was some lip service to topics like "diversity" and "reflexive listening" but the point of the training was to ensure the company didn’t get sued because of me.

It isn’t really surprising, since back then talent management thought leaders tended to focus on things like performance management automation.  There were very few voices that recognized the importance of good management. 

Now, of course, everyone gets it and HR is looking for ways to offer practical, practicable management tips to the average manager who isn't high enough in the food chain to be eligible for external leadership training.

To meet this rising demand, the indefatigable Ben Eubanks has requested posts for his upcoming new eBook HR Tips for Managers

I just realized I missed the deadline but here are my ten tips and you can check out what Dave Ryan has to say over at HR Official:
  1. Talk to people about what they want – To lead others you need to understand what motivates them.  If you guess you'll probably guess wrong so ask them. 
  2. Help people ...

Leading Change: Breaking Through the Fear of Mistakes

“The team is already four months involved in this change process. They are completely informed on the reasons for the change and the objectives that were set by the executive board. The phase of not knowing or misunderstanding is passed long time ago. There is full and total awareness of the ‘why’ of the change, of the plan, of the steps to follow and of the goals. But still they are not really progressing. They work so slowly. Always reporting delays. Taking so much time to finish simple activities. They do not show any sense of urgency!”

“We just do not have enough resources and time to achieve this change successfully. Everybody is under extreme pressure and is slowly coming to the point of breaking down. We can just not do it like this.”

“It is not our fault! They are the ones that gave us the wrong input. How could we know that it was wrong? Don’t blame us, blame them.”

“You know how easily upset he gets when you say something about his work. That is why I tell you now outside the meeting so you can take it up with him. I didn’t mention it in the meeting because I don’t want to come across as if I’m criticizing him. But you agree with me that he could do a better job, ...


5 Tips for Successful Networking at a Business Conference

 Guest post by Claudia Vandermilt  

For many professionals, networking at a business conference can be daunting. Still, it’s often necessary and can be beneficial when done properly. Having an outgoing personality helps, though not everyone is naturally outgoing.

Focusing your energy on meeting the right people and making an impression are essential strategies, though both require practice. By following proven methods, you’ll be able to apply techniques to your effective networking tactics.

Conferences attract hundreds, if not thousands, of attendees. To stand out you’ll need to focus on what you’re trying to accomplish. Define your goal and stick to it, you’ll immediately narrow your focus to the most important areas and people to target.

Here are five key tips to networking at a business conference:

  1. 1. Build Your Social Network

Talk to others; taking a genuine interest in people you come into contact with is the first step in building your network of friends and associates. Ask others questions about themselves, their jobs, hobbies and families.

Get in touch with old acquaintances, distant relatives and people with whom you went to school. ...


Friends, trust and firewalls

Here are some of the things I learned via Twitter this week.

@jayshep -”Timesheets are an admission that your clients don’t trust you, and that you don’t trust your clients.” – via @jeffrey_brandt

Friends To Count On: Prof Robin Dunbar on why “Bill” Gore kept his factories small & why group & brain size are linked – via @CharlesJennings

The psychological demands of living in large groups mean that, in primates, species-typical group size correlates rather closely with the species’ brain size. On the primate model, our oversized brain would predict a group size of around 150, the number now known as Dunbar’s Number. We find it in the typical community size of hunter-gatherer societies, in the average village size in county after county in the Domesday book, as well as in 18th-century England; it is the average parish size among the Hutterites and the Amish (fundamentalist Christians who live a communal life in the Dakotas and Pennsylvania, respectively). It is also the average personal network size – the number of people with whom you have a personalised relationship, one that is reciprocal (I’d be willing to help you out, and I know that you’d help me) as well ...


Proactive Management of Company Culture Is the Cure for What Ails the Workplace

Recognize This! – “Facestabbing” in the workplace is a symptom, not the disease.

What’s your opinion of managing “Facestabbing” incidents in the workplace? When it comes to your attention that an employee has posted a negative comment of some kind about your company, superiors or colleagues, how does your company respond? How do you think it should respond?

Is there a formal policy? What is it? If not, do you think there should be a formal policy or procedure for addressing such comments progressively up to and including termination? Do you believe in a more informal approach?

Or do you see it more like my friend Bob Selden, author of the Management-Issues issues blog, who sees such Facebook commenting as “the old ‘water cooler gossiping’ or ‘heard it at the pub’ that have been part and parcel of work life forever?”

I tend to fall in the camp of how medical professionals might address Facestabbing – treat the disease, not the symptoms.

For some companies, treating the disease may be a bit like treating cancer at first, requiring excising of cancerous growths in the form of backstabbing, unproductive, and incompatible people that simply don't fit with a culture ...

Four Types of Sustainability: Environmental, Economic, Social and Cultural

Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto I am adding Adam Werbach’s ‘Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto’ to my Purpose, Participation, Profits reading list.

Adam is the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S which helps companies inspire their employees to create sustainable business models and values driven brands.

Adam says that sustainability goes beyond environmentalism, as there are four types of sustainability: environmental, economic, social and cultural.

Adam says that corporations should follow the TEN approach to create a strategy for sustainability:

- Transparency: Communicating clearly with employees and partners about business needs.

- Engagement: Inspiring employees to create sustainable and innovative solutions for these business needs.

- Networks: Collaborating with employees and external partners to design and deploy sustainable solutions.

Here’s a HBR interview with Adam Werbach on the TEN approach:

If you liked this post, consider inviting me to speak at a conference or workshop, or asking MSLGROUP to create a social media strategy for your brand. Please e-mail me at, call me at +91-9999856940, or connect with me on Twitter.

If you liked this ...


What is an Informational Interview & How Do I Get One?

Note:  This post was originally posted at where I am a contributor.

“Is this another informational interview? If it is, I really do not want to go. These interviews are a waste of time.”

This quote was from my daughter, a recent graduate with 2 undergrad degrees, ready to take on the world. If she wasn't interviewing for a specific role, she didn’t want to interview at all. She believed the informational interview would not help her quest in getting a job, so I had to explain to her all the ways it would advance her search. I'd like to share those ways with you, too.

Informational Interview vs. Job Interview

An informational interview is similar to a job interview, with one big difference—there's no job opening. The goal of an informational interview is to build knowledge, get advice, and maybe even get leads to people or opportunities that can help your job search. It can be an excellent way to gain insight into a specific field, industry, or organization that interests you, without the pressure of a job hanging in the balance.

Goal of an informational interview:
  • Build a lasting professional relationship
  • Grow your ...

When Learning is the Work: Approaches for supporting learning in the workplace

clip_image002Two weeks ago I ran a webinar under this title for Citrix.

At the start I posed the question “when you think about one great learning experience you’ve had, can you remember where it occurred? Was it in a classroom or workshop, or did it occur while you were completing the task?”

I’ve asked this question, or variations of it, many times over the past few years. The response from this group was quite similar to earlier ones except it was neater – the split was exactly 80:20 – 80% said that the learning experience had been while they were completing the task and 20% said it was in a classroom or workshop.

Sometimes the response to this question has been more skewed towards the workplace (or in daily life – I ask people to include learning experiences that have occurred during childhood in their thinking). Rarely do more than 20% say their great learning experiences or AhAh! moments, occurred in a formal learning setting. Also rarely is the response of a group more skewed towards formal learning environments. 20% seems to be the maximum from any group – certainly in my experience.

Although these samples are not random and the methodology may be suspect, the ...


Why SaaS is Greener

According McKinsey research paper 'Data Centers: How to Cut Carbon Emissions and Costs,' the world's 44 million servers consumed .5% of all electricity in 2008, with data center emissions approaching those of small countries and projected to quadruple by 2020.

The same report estimated that 25% of the average IT budget is spent on computing resources, including facilities, storage devices, servers and staffing and that the average corporate data center is only about 5% efficient. Yikes.

Much of the energy waste in data or shared computing centers results from inefficient cooling or outdated servers.  However, a significant amount of energy waste results from a failure to understand and accurately estimate the cost of data in terms of computing resources.

There are several forces at work here:
  • Rising demand for data - Companies want real-time access to complex analytics and historical data to support business decisions. To support this requirement, multiple copies of the same information are often duplicated in multiple systems.
  • Decentralized decision making - Individual business users make data usage decisions without considering the impact ...

What Exactly Is Fidelity Learning

A recent post over at the Herman Trend Report talks about the latest in corporate training and learning.  One of the concepts it discusses is “fidelity” – meaning the ability for learning to apply to real life.

I’m not sure I completely understand the use of the term fidelity.  To me, the word means loyal or faithful.  I totally agree training needs to apply to real life.  For years, the principles of adult learning have outlined the need for training to be immediately applicable.  So I’m a little fuzzy with the word.

People tell me one of their biggest frustrations with training is talking about theory without practical application.  I also think the opposite is gaming, training, learning, training blogsequally frustrating – telling me what I should do without offering any guidelines or principles I can use on a regular basis.

Successful learning is being able to connect a concept to real life.  The concept allows you to have a model for different situations or challenges.  The real life part shows you how to apply it properly.  Both pieces are necessary for learning to really stick.

The report goes on to talk about the different ways that corporations are trying to ...