It’s Friday, so I wanted to share some of the best articles I’ve read this week. In no particular order:
- Tim Sackett has a great piece up on his blog wherein he talks about the powerful effect that ‘filling buckets’ can have on your life and the lives of the people around you. The idea of ‘filling buckets’, is essentially that everything you say either lifts people up or takes them down a notch (emptying buckets). Sackett advocates surrounding yourself with only positive people, forming meaningful connections with others (not just making small talk), being appreciative of what you have, taking pains to be a listener, and even hugging people that don’t expect it as just a few of the things that you can do to uplift yourself and those around you. An especially powerful note here is that, often, the higher you climb up the corporate ladder, the less often you get their buckets filled/lifted up (which makes giving people higher on the org chart uplifting feedback especially appreciated). Check out Sackett’s piece here… and then go fill some buckets.
- Ram Charan has a piece up on HBR here wherein he suggests splitting the CHRO function between administrative (e.g. comp/ben/payroll etc.) and leadership/organizational develop roles (lead by high potential operations leaders as a stepping stone up the organization). His proposal is based on a belief that to be a truly effective business partner to the CEO, a CHRO generally needs to spend time immersed in the business as a line leader or in the finance function. I don’t disagree with the notion that being an HR process and policy expert alone is rarely enough to be effective in the senior executive HR roles… but do disagree with where the author lands here to address the issue of many top HR folks not having great capacity on the business side: Namely, I think that splitting the HR function is neither the best way to develop talent internally (HR expertise extends beyond administrative functions and is a competency that should be developed over years) nor is it the best way to develop HR professionals (who to the authors point out would generally speaking be well served to develop more financial competencies). But I’m still recommending the piece because I think it introduces some novel ideas and is a good jump off point for discussion around how to develop HR’s operational competencies.
- Rebecca Knight writes about managing people with more technical expertise or intelligence than you. I love the piece because it tackles a reality that I am finding is increasingly true as one advances in one’s career – that being that the larger your span of control is, the harder it is to be a subject matter expert on all things within it. Knight recommends doing several things in order to effectively navigate such a people manager role, including (I) Enabling your team and removing barriers as opposed to micromanaging/meddling, (II) Embracing your team member’s strengths and knowledge as opposed to being threatened by them, and (III) Getting educated on what your team does at a high level so that you can support them, evaluate their performance, and coach them. I absolutely loved this piece, and think it’s a must read for anyone moving into a role where they aren’t expected to make an impact chiefly as an individual contributor/subject matter expert. Check it out here.
- Erin Meyer shares his thoughts on how to navigate the challenges that come with maintaining company culture across a global workforce in this HBR piece. It’s a great read because it confronts this challenge in a more nuanced way than a lot of other literature on the same subject, acknowledging that it isn’t always a good idea to standardize norms and processes across an organization (e.g. creative groups should mostly be left alone to identify a communication and work style that fits their group), while also acknowledging that there are things that need to be done across the enterprise (such as putting processes in place to ensure everyone has a voice).
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.