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I’m always blown away at the level of free, quality learning there is on the internet.  Despite the fact that the world seems nuts lately, we truly live in a blessed time my friends.

My recent ‘learning’ obsessions are a course taught by Professor Michael Ganz at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University on organizing and leadership for social change

and of course,  The Kahn Academy – which I may have mentioned before.  I am obsessed with this site.   I’m actually going to leverage this technique for employee communications (the videos I mean).  The setup is so basic and to the point.  Short, sweet, powerful and relevant.  All good.

I so deeply appreciate folks who share their knowledge so freely.  Again, it’s a great world.  Enjoy!

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Wow, has it really been over a week since I posted last!? Unbelievable how quickly time flies. Too much stuff going on I guess. Not the least of which – I was asked to manage publicity for an Off- Broadway show entitled ‘Friction’ which is opening here in NYC on November 5th. I’ve never done work like this before, and I love learning new stuff, so its been an interesting few weeks. So far I’ve supplied the play’s tagline, the synopsis, press release and am organizating the opening night. Here’s the website if you’re curious or even better, in town, on any of the performance dates! www.frictiontheplay.com

Now to the topic of my post – developing a talent management program. I’ve found that this can, in general, be a daunting task for most organizations. First of all – if you’re embedded in a group, or division etc – you are in reality a team within a team. You need to manage your talent within a larger talent construct. If its the opposite and you’re at the top of the house, you need to corral the cats and ensure the folks down below fully understand and leverage what’s being provided to them in the larger structure. It’s tough any way you look at it, and more often than not the reality falls just a tick short of glory.

To help, I’ve included this one pager/graphic I’ve cobbled together over the last few years that for me continues to provide a blueprint and guidepost for the kind of program I always seek to create when positioned in a ‘talent’ role.

Generic Talent Model by ThePeopleStuff.com

I think its robust, cohesive, and flexible and, when I’ve been able to fully execute on it, it has worked for me a like a charm. Here’s why:

Other than quickly organizaning my thinking and allowing me to accurately assess a current state, this model helps to ensure a few key things:

1. I am addressing all phases of the employee lifecycle – Attract, Develop, Retain and Retire
2. I am ensuring close alignment to the overall business strategy and keeping management in the loop through creation of a Workforce Planning Committee – which consists of the senior management team
3. I am clearly indicating that ‘I can’t do it all’, nor should I, by outlining where responsibility sits with HR, and where it sits with my function

This can all, of course, be modified to suit each unique group and situation, but by leveraging a model of this kind – I assure that I don’t miss the important stuff AND it allows me to communicate clearly to all my key stakeholders in a simple and straight forward way.

In upcoming posts I’ll expand upon each component of this model – so please subscribe for the latest updates. Oh! And if you think you can make this better, or have a model of your own you’d like to share – please do!   I love feedback and believe as Emerson did that “Our best thoughts come from others.”

A few years ago, while working at another investment bank, I received a random call from the head our division (I ran global communications for him). He told me that our CEO had just communicated his vision for a new aspirational culture which was to be based upon several core principles – all of which began with the letter ‘I’. These words became known as the ‘Five I’s’. Rigggght.

Anyway, at the time I was tasked with making sure that EVERYONE in our division knew what these Five I’s were. As ridiculous as the premise sounds, we did come up with some creative ways of accomplishing our goal – but that’s not really the point of this post. (If, however, you are curious about some the methods I used, shoot me a note and I’d be happy to share.)

No, the point of my post is actually this…. it just happened again! Today, I am at yet another large investment bank and was just told we’re going to use yet another set of words all beginning with the same letter, to describe our aspirational culture. Sure there are bigger problems in the world – war, hunger, poverty, global warming – but seriously folks, this must stop!

So I say this to all my tens of readers, please don’t lean on schtick or gimmicks when seeking to develop or improve a team or corporate culture. Rather, lean on honesty and transparency, talk about the real problems and how you’re going to address them, talk about how you’re going to engage employees in helping to solve the problems that are of concern to them, talk about the kind of place you want to be, and about what’s genuinely important to you and about what you value…I could go on, but you get the drift. Define your culture using conversational words that you can stand by through your actions and that (very important) your employees truly understand, can relate to and feel they can follow.

Rather than this…

Our core principles are…
Invigorate!
Innovate!
Investigate!
Inspire!

Work on developing something like this…

In our company we believe in respecting each other above all else, in working hard for our clients, in collaborating to solve problems and in taking care of our people.

Just put down the dictionary and the thesaurus and TALK to people, in a genuine way, about the kind of place you’d like to become. Then once you’re done, work to ensure you are living and breathing that vision, and make decisions that lead everyone down that aspirational path (i.e. don’t preach ‘communication’ and spend all day in your office with the door closed) What’s the point of that?

If you can start with a statement that people can relate to, I guarantee your folks will feel way more Invigorated and Inspired by that than by all the ‘I’ words you can dig out of the dictionary.

Except maybe ‘Ice Cream’ – which actually works every time.

p.s.  I made it to Freshly Pressed today!  So exciting!  Thank you all for reading and if you like what you read please comment, subscribe or share via the links below.  Thanks again!

I’m currently putting together a post on Vlogging or Video Blogging as an employee communications vehicle – and am debating whether to film an actual video/vlog or just write-up a post as per usual. Anyway, until I decide here’s some food for thought on the topic of leadership. (By the way, if you have a thought on the Vlog please feel free share. Otherwise check back in a few days to see what indecision, procrastination and frustration finally led me to).

The following article is reprinted from the Financial Times. Aside from agreeing wholeheartedly with the author on many points – for me the key takeaway was simply that Steve Jobs knows who he is, and he knows/feels/breathes, with crystal clarity, Apple’s purpose and mission. This is so often not the case with leaders (or ourselves even), and yet there is so much power in that simple concept.

Time to spit out more praise for Apple
By Lucy Kellaway

Published: September 26 2010 18:14 | Last updated: September 26 2010 18:14

Last week, at the very moment I was writing a column praising Apple for its plain way with words, Steve Jobs was entering into an e-mail exchange with a young woman who took plainness to a whole new level.

Chelsea Isaacs, a student from Long Island University, had got in touch with the Apple press office to get some information about the iPad for a paper she was writing. Six times she tried, but no response. So she e-mailed the chief executive to complain.

“Mr Jobs, I humbly ask why Apple is so wonderfully attentive to the needs of students, whether it be with the latest, greatest invention or the company’s helpful customer service line, and yet, ironically, the media relations department fails to answer any of my questions which are, as I have repeatedly told them, essential to my academic performance.”

Mr Jobs replied: “Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry.”

Chelsea composed another long message in which she argued that Apple should have answered out of common courtesy.

This time he responded: “Nope. We have over 300 million users and we can’t respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind. Sorry.”

So she pointed out she was a customer and did have a problem.

He replied: “Please leave us alone.”

It is just possible that Mr Jobs himself didn’t write these e-mails. Indeed, Apple’s media relations department has no more replied to queries on that score than they have to Chelsea’s.

Yet whether he did or not, the world is judging him badly. “Profoundly unhelpful,” says the Guardian. Various Apple-hating readers have gloatingly forwarded the exchange to me, inviting me to swallow my words of praise.

But I’m not going to swallow them. I’m going to spit out some more. Mr Jobs may be a slightly unpleasant piece of work, scary and arrogant. But if these messages are his, I congratulate him on his clarity, his tetchiness and on being entirely in the right.

Chelsea is to be congratulated, too. By goading the head of Apple, she has unwittingly stumbled on a much better topic for a journalistic paper than some nonsense about the iPad.

The first lesson is about brevity. Her initial message was 473 words. His was 12. His words were short and sharp and easy to understand. Hers less so. Even in the one unwieldy sentence quoted above, she makes three elementary mistakes. She uses the word “humble” when she isn’t. She refers to irony when there is none. And sarcasm is always a mistake in an e-mail, especially if you are trying to get your own way.

The next lesson is that it is OK for a CEO to be rude to a customer. The customer need not always be king, especially when he or she is behaving like a spoilt, tiresome brat. So long as the rudeness doesn’t involve a loss of dignity and it isn’t being used, Michael O’Leary-style, as a tiresome stunt to get attention for Ryanair, then it is fine.

Moreover, in this particular case, Mr Jobs’ grumpiness was in the public interest. He was making a vital, though unfashionable, point about priorities. If I were an Apple shareholder I’d be reassured to know that the company’s top priority did not include helping out Chelsea.

The point needs to be made harshly, because modern students simply don’t get it. I often get e-mails from them saying: “I’m doing an essay on marketing. Can you please send me everything you’ve written on this subject?” Next time I’m going to tell them straight: “No, I can’t. It’s not my job.”

When Mr Jobs was a student, if he needed help I daresay he did what we all did back then: ask a teacher, or work it out yourself. But Chelsea’s generation has been duped by the self-esteem movement into believing its development is a matter of general concern, and then duped some more by the internet, which has taught it that the world is democratic and it can have everything right now.

Alas, these beliefs sit so deep, that Mr Jobs’ forceful messages have not struck anywhere near home: Chelsea was last week still indignantly waiting for the busy head of one of the world’s most remarkable companies to say sorry.

“I have nothing against him,” she said magnanimously. “I hope he gives me a call.”

I trust she will have to wait an eternity for that call, and in the meantime will grow up and get a job and discover that working life is not a democracy and there is a hierarchy, and being just a little humble isn’t a bad way to start.
lucy.kellaway@ft.com

Here’s an invite from Marshall Goldsmith for an upcoming (and free) teleforum on leadership.  I’ve participated in forums such as this in the past and they are absolutely worth the time. I really try not to miss these when they’re offered.

————————————-

Marshall Goldsmith and Patricia Wheeler invite you to a Thought Leader Teleforum on Thursday, September 23rd at 1 PM Eastern time.

Please join us for a Thought Leader TeleForum on Thursday September 23rd on “The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter, Facts You Need to Know” with Jim Kouzes and Patricia Wheeler.

In these turbulent times, when the very foundations of organizations and societies are being shaken, leaders need to move beyond the pessimistic predictions, the trendy fads, and the simplistic solutions. They need to turn to what’s real and what’s proven, to understand what the evidence tells us about how exemplary leaders get extraordinary things done.

Join us as Patricia and Jim discuss ten fundamental truths about leadership that drive successful leadership in our current marketplace.

This 60-minute Teleforum will cover the following points, plus field your specific questions:

1. What are the must-know differences about the CONTEXT of leadership today?

2. What are the must-know differences about the CONTENT of leadership today?

3. What truths of leadership that successful leaders should embrace?

Jim Kouzes is the Dean’s Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. A highly regarded leadership scholar and experienced executive, The Wall Street Journal has named Jim as one of the ten best executive educators in the U.S. He and Barry Posner are the award winning authors of bestselling The Leadership Challenge, which has sold over 1.8 million copies; they have published seventeen books and over 50 training products.

Patricia Wheeler is Managing Partner of The Levin Group, a leadership advisory and executive coaching firm. Her clients range from global Fortune 500 organizations to mid-cap companies, and she has spent 20 years coaching and consulting with senior leaders. Articles by and about Patricia have been published in Business Week, Leadership Excellence, Capital Magazine, and HR.com. She is a contributor to Best Practices in Organizational Development and the AMA Handbook of Leadership.

There is no charge for this TeleForum, which will be held at 10 AM Pacific/1 PM Eastern time on Thursday September 23rd. Please click here to register. If this link does not work in your browser, you may cut and paste the following URL: http://www.LeadingNews.org/signupgc.htm.

To adjust for international time zones, you can visit World Time Converter

If you have further questions, please contact Lori Glover at +01 858 382-4687.

We look forward to your participation!

Patricia and Marshall

So, I attended a ‘women’s networking’ event last night and in doing so I managed to confirm that…                                 

A) I don’t care for ‘women only’ events and…

B) I will never be comfortable wearing a name badge that insists you ask me about ‘blank’.    As in, “Hi my name is Joanie!   Ask Me about that time I was forced to go to a women’s networking event.”

Anyway, I don’t like ’em.  

Ah, but what I DO like is finding ever more brilliant resources that give me a fresh perspective and some new ideas.    As promised let the sharing continue!

  • The factor that separates the men from the boys in Lean Manufacturing is the level of engagement or involvement of the workforce in process improvement efforts.   In this short video Richard Rahn and Gerard Leone from Leonardo Group Americas offer some suggestions for launching an employee engagement effort.   LOVE THIS video!  So practical, measurable and immediately applicable.
  • Campbell’s Soup Company employee engagement essays. Who doesn’t like soup???    NOTE:  To access these papers, you’ll need to create an account.  It’s free, but the ‘toll’ is you need to ‘donate’ a paper of your own.   If you’d rather not…
  • Here’s an article about how Doug Conant, Campbell’s President and CEO, turned the company around.    Love how he views ‘trust’ as the foundation of their people strategy.
  • Some great vids on Social Media can be found here

You know, you have to be careful about assuming you fully understand the opportunities present within social media.   To really (I mean really) understand the value and potential of social media, you’ve got to follow the gurus, do your homework and as Gary Vaynerchuk says – live it and taste it.   The more I learn, the more fascinating I find this stuff and the more fun I have thinking of ways to unlock this potential within my current scope of influence.  

How about you?

I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school(Peter De Vries)

How are you spending your time during these hot, humid and at least for me, relatively quiet days of August? Personally I’m trying to avoid browsing all the amazing cardis Anthropologie is stocking for the fall (fa-bu-lous-ness) and rather adhering to the advice of a colleague who many years ago advised that when things are slow you should take advantage and ‘go to school’.   It was, and is, good advice. 

So off to summer school I’ve gone!  Although not like in HS when I was actually sent to summer school for gym.  God I hated gym.     

Anyway, I’ve been spending time browsing our corporate intranet and taking any online course I can find that may help to increase my general knowledge and expertise.  I’m also taking the time to improve my understanding of our corporate strategy, initiatives, brand and so forth.    If you have access to one – I bet you’ll find a lot more on your intranet than you might think.    If not, I’d see it as a great opportunity to contribute, and maybe that’s how you end up spending your downtime (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, jab)

Although I can’t (obviously) share what I’ve sourced internally with all of y’all, I CAN share other great bits of information and inspiration I’ve managed to find online – so here you go:

I’ll keep posting as I continue discovering.   Feel free to share anything you come across as well.

Happy Summer!
Joanie

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