Quote of the Week: “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird…


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…it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. – C. S. Lewis



For this week’s quote we can thank novelist, poet, academic, and literary critic C. S. Lewis. It’s timely for me because I’ve been making some pretty dramatic life changes… some of which arguably have as many deltas as they do pros.

…Once such change is to a morning ritual I’ve had for over 600+ days now; every morning, I start every day learning something new about HR and people management. This has been a transformative experience for me, ingraining what I hope will be lifelong good habits around execution and process management.

But as often happens in life, I need a change. Right now this is because I’m entering into a space where the time I require to further my development in certain areas – statistics and financial accounting – necessitates that I pull back on the time I’m spending developing within HR in order to learn more deeply. And while that doesn’t mean I’m not still going to write and learn about HR, people management, and learning/development, it does mean that I’m going to be allocating fewer resources towards developing competencies in these areas for the foreseeable future.

With that said, when I do share something on this channel I want to be more deliberate in what I’m writing and that I have something significant to say on a going forward basis. And so while the quantity of the content going up will go down, I would like to think that the quality and substance will improve.

…So why am I making a derivation from developing HR competencies and placing a greater focus on statistics, analytics, and accounting? I could (and maybe will) write at length about this later, but in summary I would say that the arenas of talent management, total rewards, and HR strategy are becoming increasingly data-driven – and I think that staying out in front of where we’re going with these spaces and being a strategic business partner requires me to develop real competencies as an analyst (and a greater comfort with statistical methods). Furthermore, I’m also finding that as my roles become less bogged down in transactions and processes that to add value I really need to have a stronger foundation in the day-to-day of how my company’s business (and its competitors) generate revenue. These shifts require me to transition from being a Generalist and Project Manager to a Business and People Analyst with strong competencies in HR. This process will require the same sort of dedicated focus I’ve had towards being the best HR person I can be over the past two years… with a continued emphasis on process instead (as opposed to destination) throughout.

With that said, as we get started this week I would encourage you to look at what you need to do next to get to where you want/need to be. Because regardless of how difficult it might seem to accomplish your goals right now, it is only that much harder before you take your first step(s).

Happy Monday,


Sunday Reading: Compensation, Community, and Exit Strategies





Sunday reading for 11.16.2014.

1. Tony Bergmann-Porter, Principal and Owner of Compensation Consulting firm Yale Associates LLC, has a great post up on Compensation Cafe wherein he postulates about the future of total rewards in the U.S. He has some bold ideas, including a hypothesis that pay in the private sector will flatten over time, resembling the federal government’s GS schedule. The implications for what this would mean as it concerns identifying new ways to recognize and reward top performers are intriguing, to say the least. To learn more about them (and for some fascinating companion pieces examing the effects of pay transparency) check the full article out here.

2. Linkedin Influencer and Partner at Upfront Ventures Mark Suster has a great post up on Linkedin outlining the role he believes that investors should play in creating funding opportunities for start-ups outside of communities like Silicon Valley. He writes about the transformative effect investors can have on their communities when they invest locally… and the migration of top talent and jobs that takes place when they don’t do so. This piece is a great window into the long-term potential for economic growth that exists in communities throughout the U.S. if only more investors choose to give back to the places that helped them cultivate the skill sets when they were young. It’s a thought provoking piece, and I recommend you check it out here.

3. In our careers most of us will work for a boss/company that just isn’t the right fit. Sometimes these fit issues are rooted in broad-based cultural differences, while other times they are simply the product of who we (or the people we work with/for) are at a particular moment in time. Regardless, when we find ourselves in such situations we can either (i) quit, (ii), wait to be fired, or (iii) move forward with a third option that HR guru Liz Ryan espouses in a new Linkedin post here… which is to work with your manager on an exit strategy. There is of course a fourth option Liz doesn’t talk about (that being to quietly look for another job and hope to find one before your current employment is terminated), but I think option three results in the best outcome for everyone involved when utilized correctly. Again, read more about it here.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.



Examining the End





…So a leader I very much respect recently announced he was pursuing another opportunity. When I first found out, my immediate reaction was to be happy for them; after all, professionally speaking (as in other contexts) people move on. And as both an HR pro and human being, my default place is to wish everyone the best when they come upon this moment in their own lives.

With that said, my second thought was “I wonder if I’ve seen this person for the last time?”, which is of course a perfectly valid question since – as a practical matter – many people that we know in a work context disappear from our lives once said context changes.

How many other people have faded from my life the same way – and vice versa? I’ve spent the better part of an hour thinking about it, and I’m not quite sure… I lost count long ago. There have been at least a hundred people of some significance – probably more.

…People that were there until they weren’t. Some are acquaintances that are now barely a memory, while others touched me deeply in ways that ensured my life will never be the same. But – regardless of the impact they made on my life – each relationship shares a common transience that in the aggregate encapsulates the temporary nature of all things.

…I think that what I’m getting at here is that we don’t really know when the end is coming – and we can’t really pick where it will be and what it will look like. I suppose that I would say this is why it’s important to treat each moment with a person as if it might be your last, but this is jointly impractical and inadvisable at the same time.

Instead, I suppose I would recommend that we all try to appreciate the significance of the moments that really matter. For they are both fleeting and defining; failing to make the most of the moments that matter often leaves one feeling that they haven’t truly lived a life well lived.

And in the end, looking back on your life and feeling that you’ve lived it well is what matters, yes?

Happy Friday,


Infographic Thursday: What Your Dream Hires Want and Where to Find Them



Check out this great infographic from Jobvite showing what attracts today’s talent to roles, what their demographic make up is, and what level of position they’re seeking. As always, if you like today’s inforgraphic follow Jobvite here. And as always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below:

The Candidate Experience


The Impact of Attitude on Your Career


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Image Credit: <mindclockwork.com

Image Credit: <mindclockwork.com>

This morning I was reading a piece (here) on Linked from GE’s former CEO Jack Welch wherein he shared three ways to make a career comeback. Of particular note to me in the piece was the following insight:

3. Finally, if you are draining away political capital within the organization in any form, stem the flow immediately. That means you may need to stop disparaging fellow employees, even in jest, or acting in any form like a wet blanket. Right now, your attitude needs to shout one word: “Yes.”


Can we guarantee that these three “fixes” will revive your career? Of course not. The facts are, sometimes a person has been underperforming for so long that they get an embedded reputation. No matter how hard you try, you will always be seen as the same old you.

…Again, you can read the full piece (and the other two insights) here, but I loved this article because it spoke to a belief that has been integral to my life outlook for many years… that being that over the long run projecting out negative energy almost always does more harm to your reputation (and consequently life/career outlook) than good.

When someone is complaining all the time most people’s reaction is to feel uncomfortable and/or annoyed. And if you’re the cause of making enough people feel these emotions for long enough, eventually you become associated with those negative feelings on a permanent basis.

Being the person everyone cringes when they see isn’t good for your career.

With that said, to close today I have a question: If one is always in a place where they’re saying and/or doing toxic things, is it always best to try and repair what’s making one feel that way or move on? Welch explains how to repair – recommending that you move on if this doesn’t work – but I’m not entirely sure that trying to repair first is always the best first approach (and to be fair to Welch he doesn’t explicitly say that it is, either).

…Put another way; if your environment isn’t bringing out the best in you, perhaps instead of trying to change your environment (or yourself), the better approach is to move on.

Just a Tuesday morning thought stream…



Quote of the Week: A higher rate of urgency does not imply…



…ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state in which complacency is virtually absent. – John P. Kotter

Image Credit: <intranet.tlsb.co.uk

Image Credit: <intranet.tlsb.co.uk>

We can thank Harvard Business School Professor, New York Times best-selling author, and Management Consultant John Kotter for this week’s quote. The quote is timely for me because it speaks to my recent realization that urgency and patience can exist in harmony. Progress towards accomplishing your goals can come in many different forms, and being able to recognize this reality is the difference between between happiness and unhappiness.

…As we get started this week I want to tell you that success – no matter what that is for you – is not a destination. It’s a journey. Ergo, what’s most important is to focus on getting a little closer to your goals everyday. Never slow down. Never stop. Never settle. But also recognize that everything is a processEverything of value takes time to cultivate, so keep plugging away and give the seeds you’re planting and the muscles you’re building time to grow. You’ll get there.

Happy Monday.


Sunday Reading: Business Etiquette, Work Valuation, and Dual Career Ladders





Recommended Sunday reading for 11.9.2014:

1. American Author and Business Executive Eden Collinsworth has a great piece up on Linkedin wherein she recounts a point in the mid-1980s that she had to navigate a very tricky interpersonal situation in a foreign country. I won’t spoil the details, but the situation itself was shocking and the way she responded was savvy. I’m recommending this one because of the solid, common-sense insights at the end and because this piece served as a reminder that it’s always critical to understand how you’re perceived by your audience when crafting any communication. Check the full piece out here.

2. Burt Helm over at Inc recently wrote a detailed profile piece spotlighting a man named Gabriel Bristol that went from being homeless to becoming the CEO of a call center with over 300 employee that will generate over $11 million dollars in revenues in 2014. Beyond the sheer inspiring nature of this man’s story, I’m recommending this piece because of a story Bristol learned about the valuation of work early in his career: In 90 minutes, he doubled his salary and got a spot bonus equivalent to more than 10% of his annual salary after presenting a counter-offer to his company. The lesson? While what you’re worth to your company is partially driven by the relative value you add to the bottom-line… it’s ultimately worth what you’re willing to work for and what the market will pay for your skills. To learn more about this lesson (and get a healthy dose of inspiration), read the full piece here.

3. Jacque Vilet writes about a challenge many organizations face when trying to reward their strongest individual contributors in a rock solid piece on Compensation Cafe here. As a practical matter, in most functional spaces an individual contributor can only add so much value… after which in order to continue to grow their careers they must frequently move into management roles wherein they have significant people and/or budgetary responsibilities. Ergo, carving out careers for your strongest individual contributors in cases where they aren’t suited to a people management track can be challenging; failing to do so can carry significant consequences in the form of attrition within operationally critical roles. The answer, as Vilet describes it, is to create duel career paths so that your strongest individual contributors continue to see a path upward via a technical track even if they lack the competencies and/or interests to become supervisors. Vilet points out that the technical leadership track is not for everyone not cut out for management: Turning a technical leadership role into a lifetime achievement award undermines the value of the track in a way and can needlessly add additional salary costs to your budget. But – done well – the dual career track is an excellent way to incentivize, recognize, and reward all of your top talent.

Video Saturday: Is Your Sales Compensation Plan Making Money?





David Marshall, CEO, PerformanceCentre International, provides advice on maximizing the return on your sales compensation plan including: Looking at a sales plan from a purely financial view, the importance of mindset, setting measures that can be controlled, a methodology for driving pay for performance

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.




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