• ILSHRM Leadership Game On

    Another SHRM Leadership Conference is in my future. One might think even a died in the wool SHRMie would yawn at another one, after a fashion, but yet for me it’s not like that. In fact it’s more like one of my favorite scenes from Animal House.


    Sorry I love that clip – but I do feel that way about heading out to yet another SHRM gathering of the faithful.    This year has even more of an exciting twist to it as I am now in line to be the State Director (an exciting and frightening thought all at once).

    Dave and Connie at ILSHRM14

    Dave and Connie at ILSHRM14

    This year we are changing things up a bit and doing some things that are somewhat untested – yes, pushing the envelope.  Kudos to our new Director and my partner in crime Connie Wolgemuth (whose name I will be able to spell without looking it up at the end of her term) for taking a little risk and trying some new things.

    How many SHRM State Leadership Conference invite Officials from other states to speak at their state conference?  We are going to try that this year.  Connie has asked long time SHRMie and MAC Rep Steve Browne to keynote our program and to facilitate an experiment of sorts.  If you know Steve you know he is game for just about anything.  To prove my point check out this video from Steve opening his own Ohio SHRM State Conference in 2011


    Ok so you think the guy gets crazy once in his life and someone gets him on video – such is not the case, this is how Steve rolls. Check out more of his antics at SHRM Leadership in November of 2012.

    Ok so these are a couple of gotcha moments where I happened to be around with a video device and got my fun loving buddy Steve being all in on the activity De Jour. That truly is what he is all about. Steve is all in on everything he does.   So ILSHRMies should have a  fun and learning day hanging out with Steve – in fact I guarantee it!

    As for the rest of the event I am so “geeked” (Steve’s favorite term) to be rolling to Tinley Park in the morning where I will be visiting with all of my HR buddies with lot of hugs, smiles, sea stories (from my pal Joe) and maybe time for a couple cocktails in there somewhere.

    To those of you who do not know very many people in this group, this is a fabulous opportunity to grow your network and connect with some savvy HR folks who love connecting and are frightenly passionate about Human Resources and SHRM.

    Here is a re-cap of a 2012 event if you are curious to know how a previous event went down.

    As you read this I will be northbound on I-55 and I am looking forward to seeing each and every one of you there!


  • The SHRM Pilgrimage

    VolunteerLeaderSummitIt is the week before Thanksgiving, and to the SHRM faithful that means it is time for the annual trek to Washington DC to drink the kool-aide and get the latest news from Duke Street, as to  how our mission is being refined.  I have had the good fortune to attend this event eight out of the last ten years.  It is always lively, fun, informative and energizing. The gather typically has ranged from 750 to more than 1000 over the years.  This year’s event has nearly 800 attendees registered.

    The 2014 version of the SHRM Volunteer Leader’s Summit will have a little different flavor than those of years gone-by.  We will be at a new venue this year, and some of my long time SHRMies will be visibly missing this year (Donna Rogers, John Friend and Matt Stollak to name a few).

    One of the purposes of the event is to help support current our incoming chapter presidents. SHRM works very hard to make sure that the chapters understand they have a wealth of resources and support from SHRM National.  This shouldn’t be an epiphany, as most incoming or current chapter presidents should have a good idea of how the organization functions, as taking on the role of chapter president is not something that should be done without significant planning and forethought.

    No doubt we will be hearing more about the SHRM certifications.  We will hear how it is going to rolled out and implemented, and I would bet $100 there will be a handful of naysayers who want to continue to bash SHRM over this, but I am confident they will be a very small minority.

    One other matter that takes place during the Leadership Summit is the visit to Capitol Hill.  On Thursday morning the SHRM A Team is going to empower 408 SHRM members to go to Capitol Hill and lobby their elected officials. This is awesome, it really is. WE/YOU actually get to help shape public policy – we are not that far removed!  The SHRM Legislative Affairs folks brief us, train us and send us on our way to “The Hill”  (that just sounds cool) to carry out our mission.  Here is a post from a previous visit to Capitol Hill.

    If you would like another take on the Leadership Conference, here is a post from my son Danny who got to attend a large portion of the event in 2012 and had this take on the event.

    I look forward to seeing many of you there, if we haven’t met- let’s connect.



  • That’s the Program -Got It?

    The family visiting GM World Headquarters

    Today’s workplace is a multi-generational place. We have folks interacting all the way up and down the age spectrum. This was the subject of  discussion between Laura Schroeder, and I this week.  You can see what she has to say on the matter here. Now this gerneraltional matter is something that HR folks feel compelled to want to manage this. Sometimes this is a good idea, while other times it might be best just to leave the folks to figure it out for themselves. This perhaps is one leadership tactic on addressing the issues, and some times it will work.

    One of my sons was doing a college internship, working for the General Motors Corporation (pre-bankruptcy). As a college engineering student, he was brought into the plant and nearly immediately put into a supervisory capacity. He told me he found this to be a little overwhelming, but he felt he was being tested by his superiors. Naturally he wanted to do well.

    Understand that this was at an auto plant in the Metro Detroit area. There were seven unions at the facility. My son told me he had one fellow that would not do what he asked him to do. He challenged seemingly everything he was trying to do. My son said this guy was undermining me and everything I was trying to do.

    After about a week one day the veteran challenged the intern again, only this time the intern had enough. My son said he told the fellow, “come with me.” This was one of the first request that he complied with. My son took into one of the deep dark recesses of the plant and proceeded to tell him.. “Look you no good son of a b&$*#. I know you have a problem with a 21 year-old punk ass college kid being your boss. Well get over it! I am here and you are here too. If you don’t show me some respect and comply with my wishes I am going to make it my job, to make your life a living hell the whole time I am here. OK ? And that’s the program, got it?”

    I am not sure the diatribe is verbatim but it is pretty close. This is how my son figured out how to deal with some generational differences that he was forced to address. I am not suggesting that his approach was a text book supervisory approach, but I too have encountered those folks in the hourly world who only understand management and leadership in this form.

    For the record the plant worker and my son did not cross paths again for the duration of the intership.

  • Being a Good Boss is Easy

    I have figured out the first step to being a good boss.  Don’t be a bad boss and you will be much closer to the target.  Wally Bock had a great short post the matter (how not to be a bad boss).

    My Project Social partner Laura Schroeder posted on the subject as well. Laura talks about one of her first chain-smoking bosses and some of the good boss tricks she employed.

    To the best of my knowledge, I have never been accused of being a good boss so I can only talk about things I have seen other people do that seemed to work wellFood is always good.  I think if it is something that has your fingerprints on it, then it means more.  I have had supervisor’s fix up a crock pot of soup, stew or bar-b-que and bring it to work for their troops.  There is the boss buys pizza day, or one of my personal favorites, the boss brings donuts.

    Another little trick in certain parts of the country, is to warm up cars or scrape windshields for your staff on cold winter days. I guess the inverse would work also, in a warmer place by starting employees cars to cool them off.

    The next trick is only for very secure bosses who are not faint of heart.  Have you attend Shoe Shine day where the boss is the one doing the shining – very humbling.

    Another little event is the at work treasure hunt.  By hiding things and giving clues you can create a day or week long event, awarding small prizes or tokens for the sleuths on your team who find the booty.

    One last idea is the employee showcase, where you let employees show off their work skills in front of their peers, family members or just in public.  A couple examples of this are things like a fork lift rodeo where operators are challenged to move a load, from place to place, without error and the tasked is time.  Another showcase example might be to have money handlers see who could count a given pile of cash and be accurate in the shortest amount of time.

    None of these thing cost much, if anything and if you are worth your salt as a leader you should want to do things periodically to motivate your folks.  And if in doing so you can bring yourself down off of any perceived pedestal you will relate much better to your staff.

  • Business is Down – Cut the HR Programs

    Business is down, this is your HR budget

    My partner Laura and I are taking our roles in Project Social very seriously and want to make a difference with what we are doing.  We are trying to talk at least once a week and this seems to be enough to keep the project moving forward. While this week, Laura and I continued work on our super-secret world changing project (sswcp), we talked about some more mundane HR matters. 

    I spend my most of my days in what Charlie  Judy –HRFishbowl  calls trenchHR  Laura is removed from the trenches by one degree of separation, working in the HR Software industry.  As we brainstormed about the sswcp, we traded some HR war stories, Laura recounted to me about a friend of hers who had taken on an HR position in an upstart company. Her post on that story is here. Laura said things were going well for her friend, (I’ll call her Ann) at the young company, Ann said that the Company was taking off, and was quite financially successful.  

    Accordingly most everything Ann requested funding for was funded and implemented.  But like with any success story, things slowed down, the money slowed and the financial picture of the Company changed. And now – the Company was pulling the plug on programs and not nearly so committed to the strong employee engagement programs, or other employee focused initiatives. 

    Laura asked me if I have I had ever experienced this phenomenon? This became a SAY WHAT moment for me.  The answer was yes – with about every slow down in business. 

    Like many of my trench HR peers, I have lived through this numerous times, Even if your department is allocated certain funds for a period of time that can change in an instant! When the funding/sales/revenue slows, or goes away, business functions that do not directly enhance the bottom line (product or service), quickly loose their luster, to most CEOs and CFOs. While a seasoned HR pro may be able to salvage a program or two, they  must choose their battles wisely and hold on to the program or service that is certain to bring benefits to the organization. That has to be the last thing you won’t give up – because you know it is too valuable to loose and your Company’s image may be tarnished if you let it go. For me, this has always been safety training – you just can’t stop regardless of the cost! 

    Meanwhile, it is only the true visionary leaders that manage to stick to their guns and not pull the plug on the people programs during downturns. So consider yourself one of the lucky ones if your CFO/CEO has gone through a downturn in revenue and did not take the meat ax to the HR budget or the people programs. They are the leaders who get it. 

    Like it or not this is one of the realities of HR.  As an HR pro, if you wish to understand business you need to understand this – you don’t have to like it but you need to get it. I don’t have hard date but over the year I have learned 9 out 10 times, the money people are NOT going continue with the HR people programs in a downturn. It’s not personal it’s just business.