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IMG_8486-224x300I want to hear how technology works for the HR professional in the trenches, and I have two spots available for HR Tech briefings on Wednesday.

Let me know if you’re in, okay?

I don’t want to talk about marketing. I know, I know, I know. It’s all about marketing. Too bad, though. I am turning down those requests. Although I worked at a marketing agency for a hot minute, no 30-minute briefing with me (or anyone else) will help solve your sales and marketing challenges.

If we ever did talk about your marketing strategies, your problems would get lumped in one (or all) of these buckets.

  1. Some technology companies have unrealistic expectations about the buyer and the market. Selling to a human resources department is different than selling into an IT or Finance department. There are different players, different rules and different stakeholders. There’s also a ton of history. Burned bridges. Failed deliverables. You have a lot to learn if you want to build a sustainable business in this market. Good luck.
  2. Tech companies don’t always understand the buying cycle. The market feels hot. Your product may be agile, and your pricing plan may be competitive, but your buyer might not be ready to buy for a whole host of reasons. That’s a huge discussion right there.
  3. HR technology companies have been sold a bill of goods by analysts and marketing firms. Let me throw out a few terms for you: email campaigns, social media marketing, blogging, lists, SEO, billboards, white papers, light papers, mail drops, parties, dinners, print advertising, display advertising, enhanced demos, advisory boards, briefings. I learned one thing from working at a marketing agency: it’s always easier to spend money on external practices with an agency than to move from the core and address your broken sales and marketing infrastructure. But go ahead and spend more money on marketing.
  4. Your buyers are readers. It’s great that you have a content strategy. Super happy that you’ve worked on enabling your salesforce to speak to the buyer. Where is your CEO’s book?! I don’t mean an e-book that generates leads. I mean a real book that shares a vision and big ideas on human resources, leadership and professional courage. Your buyer is more likely to go on Goodreads than Google+. Get that damn book published.

I could go on about this stuff for hours. This is not some disingenuous pitch, either. I am happy to talk to you for free about marketing strategies, but I’d like to save those discussions until after HR Tech.

But if you have something to say to my audience, I would like to talk to you at HR Tech.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

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Every summer, I earn money by working with human resources professionals who are on the bubble.

Some of these women make it. Some find new work on their own. Some of them are asked to leave.

I try not to engage in Therapy-Lite®. My coaching focuses on deliverables and outcomes. But in reviewing my notes from the summer, I can see that I am asking three types of questions of my clients.

WHEN?

When was the last time you worked hard?
When was the last time you tried something new?
When was the last time you didn’t have an answer to something?
When was the last time you were quiet and listened when you did have an answer?
When was the last time you stopped trying to make something work that clearly isn’t working?
When was the last time you were scared to say something at work but said it, anyway?
When was the last time you told yourself the truth about your job?
When was the last time you made it about someone else?
When was the last time you took responsibility?
When was the last time you said yes?

WHAT?

What if your gut is wrong?
What if you tried it the other way?
What if you stopped trusting your instinct?
What if you apologized even if you don’t mean it?
What if you stopped listening to the inner monologue in your head?
What if you’re not as smart as you think you are?
What if you dropped that horrible attitude?
What if you said yes to things you hate?
What if you gave 60% instead of 110%?
What if you were fired tomorrow?

HOW?

How can you fix this?
How do you solve this problem?
How can we help you feel better?
How do you repair relationships?
How do we make sure this specific thing never happens again?
How can we find you the resources you need to be successful?
How can you leave with dignity and respect?
How does this end?

Sometimes these questions lead us to bigger discussions about how to manage the crazy complexities of the modern HR department. Sometimes these questions are pointless and barely scratch the surface of dysfunctional work environments.

There are no right answers, and I don’t have the patience for navel gazing.

Are you struggling at work? Do you wonder if the job is the right job for you? Do you wonder when your boss will find out that you’re not working as hard as you can work? I thought it might be helpful to share these questions and discussion topics with you.

Do you want to talk about the performance of your human resources department? Coaching is no joke. These are real lives. And sometimes having the right person in the right job is a humbling experience. Drop me an email if you want to chat. I’m not always available to coach during the conference season, but I might be able to help on the side.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

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Every summer, I belch and gag my way through Instagram and Facebook as I try to avoid pictures of your feet.

For real. You are all adults, and you should stop taking photos of your feet. This includes the men, by the way. I don’t mean to buy into gender stereotypes, but most dudes have no business snapping pictures of their toes.

(Even hot dudes.)

I always ask myself, “What are these feet photos all about? What’s the point? Is it sexual? Is it meant to display some kind of inner beauty?”

Then I throw up into a bucket and get on with my day.

Since y’all have punished me with the most disgusting photos of all time, I’m going to tell you about Yoga Toes. This product is the only thing that saves my feet from curling up and cramping after my long runs. I have to wear them every night for at least five minutes before I go to bed.

For real, they work like magic on my tired and sore dogs.

And because I hate all of you for your disgusting foot fetishes, here is a picture of me in my yoga toes as I type this.

yoga toes

(Shudder. Gag. Convulse. You bastards deserve it.)

If you’re a runner — novice, long-distance, pro — you need a pair of Yoga Toes. They will turn your life around. Just don’t look down at your feet while you’re wearing them.

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Looking back on Summer 2014, it wasn’t too bad.

I started off in Grand Cayman at a human resources conference.

Then my friend, Don MacPherson, came to town for a wedding.

Then I saw my former boss, Vadim Liberman, in New York City.

A few days later, my other-former-boss, Matthew Budman, came to town. He brought his awesome wife, which was fun.

Scrubby got some chin acne and went to the vet.

Then I went to Orlando and saw some friends for #SHRM14.

I rescued a dog and reunited her with her owner.

I went to a wedding with some friends.

Dawn Rasmussen came to town.

My husband and I ate plenty of ice cream, all summer long, and we went to a local lavender farm. The chocolate-lavender ice cream was fabulous.

I rescued that damn dog, again.

Then, on a whim, we went to France. That was pretty great.

Then I made a quick trip to Chicago to see a client. I also saw some friends and got suckered into bowling with some HR nerds. It was really fun.

Then I went to Cincinnati for an advisory meeting. I was stuck overnight, and it became a trip from hell. Except I saw good friends, so that was nice. I should stop being so dramatic.

Tim Sackett’s family came to visit me. I was able to see my boyfriend.

I also spent a significant amount of time running and hiking in the woods. And, oh yeah, I went to the beach several times.

I ended my summer by seeing the Schmidtarelli family in Virginia. The new baby is super cute, but Mugsy is also pretty cute.

The cats had a great summer, too.

All in all, I would give this summer a solid “B.”

Hope your summer vacation was just as fun!

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Every year, I participate in the 2996 Project. We remember the victims of 9/11 through tributes on our blogs.

I was asked to write about Claudia Martinez Foster. I have been doing this for many years. Here is the post.

*

claudia martinezOn September 9, 2001, Claudia was a twenty-six-year old newlywed who had babies on her mind. She went to work, one beautiful morning, as an assistant broker at Cantor Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, she never returned home to her husband and family. If you read the tributes and search for her name on Google, you can feel excruciating sense of loss.

Here is her biography from The NY Times.

As the oldest in a family of girls, Claudia Martinez Foster promised her parents she would always look after her three younger sisters. One day, she told them, she was even going to give the Martinez family its big wish: a baby boy. Married almost a year, the 26-year-old assistant broker for Cantor Fitzgerald had already begun, with her husband, to pick out baby names. They were planning to buy a house and start a family later this year. She liked the name Carlos, in honor of her father. Her husband could not decide.

“My daughter was a true family person,” said Blanca Martinez. “She was proud to be the big sister, always helping me with my youngest, taking her to the movies, bowling, shopping. She liked to call what she did ‘sister power.’ ”

Watching such a young, promising life fade away has made the grieving even more trying. “She has so much to live for, and to go like this,” Mrs. Martinez said. “I pray for God to give me strength to accept her death. But as a mother I don’t know how to let go. I want to keep hoping for a miracle.”

Our deepest sympathies and condolences are offered to the Martinez and Foster families. Years later, Claudia is not forgotten.

Additional condolences to those who lost family and friends at Cantor Fitzgerald. We remember you, too, on this very tough day.

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Do you wonder how you can think differently and act differently? Do you wonder how HR can be more disruptive and innovative without using those hollow and ridiculous terms?

(I wonder about all of that, too.)

I’m late to the game, but I was introduced to the work of Hal Gregersen. (Do you know him?) He suggests that you can be disruptive and innovative by first stepping outside of your comfort zone and working in multiple industries or enterprises. That’s a good way to begin thinking creatively and expanding your horizons.

You don’t need to leave HR, in my opinion, to think differently and make a difference. Here are some ideas for you.

  1. Tackle a project with your colleagues in marketing.
  2. Think about applying your HR expertise to different verticals.
  3. Learn more about a specialized aspect of HR. Take a night class. Do a short-course online or on the weekends.

Working in different industries — or even in different countries — may help you adopt the right kind of thinking that will help you make a contribution to your company.

You know what else I like about Gregersen? He champions the benefit of asking questions. If we don’t know what we don’t know, and we don’t start thinking about our blind spots, we will never make progress at work (or in our lives).

One simple question you can ask?

“What am I dead wrong about?”

(See why I’m excited to read more of his work?)

Anyway, when you have a different perspective — and you ask better questions — you arrive at better answers. I travel all around the world and speak to HR audiences because I am ready for HR to have better answers.

It’s nice to find a professor who offers helpful tools, tips and techniques. Check him out.

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#hrtechconf 2009

Photo by http://about.me/tracideveau

Breaking news for six people who care about these things:

I am taking briefings from human resources technology vendors at the 17th Annual HR Technology® Conference and Exposition.

The first year that I attended this event — way back in 2009 when it was in Chicago — a guy chased me down on the expo floor and handed me a margarita. You can’t get a better briefing than that.

Over the years, I have feared becoming one of those independent analysts who sits in the corner of a dark room with poor air circulation and sweats through a boring technology briefing. The guy who waits for the right moment to pounce with a switcheroo and sell his overpriced marketing services to a CMO? That guy scares me. That life is not for me.

This year? I want to hear stories.

My audience covers the key demographics of HR Assistants, HR Business Partners, HR Managers, Recruiters, Talent Acquisition Specialists, and the various forms of HR Directors (compensation, benefits, payroll, staffing and general HR). I reach the people who report into the SVP of HR and the CHRO. So I want to represent their interests and know about specific technologies and how they enhance the future of human resources.

I also want to know where your technology breaks.

Do you have something to say to my audience? Do you have a new take on assessments, benefits, compensation and payroll, consulting, employee and manager self-service, employee communications, e-learning, employee engagement, HCM, outplacement, outsourcing, performance management, portals, recruitment, relocation, selection, screening, talent management, testing and surveys, time and attendance, training and development, workforce analytics, workforce management or workforce planning?

Contact me and maybe we can connect at #hrtechconf. I’m not selling anything, and you don’t have to chase me down with a margarita.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

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It’s week 6 (or something) of my marathon training, and all is right with the world. No major issues to report. I am feeling great.

When you train for a race, you gradually work your way up to a certain high-mileage marker and then back off for a week to let your body recover. This was my dip-down week. We ran 14 miles, last weekend, and I was going to reward myself with a nine-mile run on Saturday.

But one of my running partners has a different training schedule. She needed to run 15 miles, this weekend. I know that no one who signs up for a running program enjoys running all those miles alone, which is why I volunteered to join her for 12 of those miles.

It was only three more miles than I originally planned on running. No problem — except Saturday was a disgustingly hot and humid day. At one point, I ran out of water. One woman kindly offered me something to drink. And one of our other running partners was struggling near the end of the run.

Ugh.

I have had those moments where I’m struggling and barely able to put one foot in front of the other. I always say — Keep going without me! I’m okay! I’ll catch up!

(Nobody ever listens to me and leaves me behind, thank God. We leave no woman on the field.)

But there were times when it was too much to talk, let alone listen, to a group of runners making chit-chat about life and work. At those moments when I wanted to die, I was thankful for the mentors who gave me the space and distance (even if it was just a block) to calm down and slog out those miles on my own.

Motivation and support come in a variety of different forms. This weekend, I remembered those long-runs where I struggled. I remembered how important it is to be silent and conserve energy. And I tried, especially towards this week’s run, to be quiet and respectful.

So tough! So brutal! So hot! And I’m so dang chatty!

I love the summer, but I am definitely ready to run in cooler weather.

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TalentAdvisor_CareerBuilder.com

Happy Friday. If you have a few minutes, go check out Careerbuilder.com’s Talent Advisor portal.

I’m over there with my friends, and it’s a nice place to be. We will be writing about all the good stuff: celebrity gossip, politics, social media, horses, cats, kids and pizza.

We’ll weave in a few new ideas about HR, too.

As a guest editor, I’m on the lookout for good stories. Are you doing something great in HR? Do you have a story to tell about your recruiting journey? Email me and let’s chat!

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It’s back-to-school season around here. Lots of kids are trying out for sports.

Living where I do — and hanging out with busy moms — I get to hear about tryouts, overburdened volunteer coaches, and the needless ordeal that accompanies youth sports.

Sounds like a hassle. Especially when kids are rejected from the team.

I get it. This is a new era. Not everyone gets a trophy. I like the ruthlessness of performance-based selection methodologies, and I’m the first person to say that lazy bastards should suffer.

(Especially when those bastards are 11 and just want to play soccer!)

I wonder — what do you tell an 11-year-old who just wants to get a little exercise and hangout with her friends? A colleague of mine is dealing with that issue, right now. The tweenage kid didn’t make a private cheer squad through a local gym or something like that. (Those things exist. It’s like Pop Warner for elite kids on steroids.)

She asked her daughter questions like, “Are you proud? Did you do your best? You did? Okay, let’s move on.”

(Let me deviate for a second and say that this new era of parenting is confusing to me because I was raised in front of the television. I’m not complaining. I preferred it that way, and I didn’t kick a soccer ball until I was a high school sophomore. How does a fifth or sixth grader know if she’s done her best? Maybe your kid is intuitive. I was not.)

But I do like asking people — especially adults — if they are proud. There are no wrong answers, but I think the question itself allows for a bigger discussion about life.

- Do you like your job?
– Are you proud of what you do?
– If not, why not?
– Are you happy in your current relationships?
– Are you proud of what you offer to your spouse and friends?
– Do you try your hardest to be a decent person?
– Even when you fail, are you proud of your effort?

The good thing about being an adult is that you don’t have to wait for high school hockey season to ask yourself those questions.

Are you proud of your life?

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