Who Are Your Conversation Catalysts?

Do you want to spread your message for a product, service, or maybe an important organizational change?

Here's a question to answer: "Who are your Conversation Catalysts?"

In the midst of working with a client on a new marketing approach, I was reminded of an article that conversation and connection maven Valeria Maltoni  wrote quite a while back about a Keller Fay Group research study showing that 15% of the population to be  Conversation Catalysts.

Conversations"These influencers tend to recommend brands and products more often at the tune of 149 times a week vs. 79 for the average population. They also tend to have more conversations -- 184 vs. 114 -- and talk more about brands than others."

Valeria then did a nice job of highlighting the level of various media influences and, ultimately, what this means for the importance of a company website.

But the take away for us is this: Conversation catalysts talk to a whole lot more people and will be happy to share their experiences with them -- good, bad, or indifferent.

Let's connect the dots to make this work for you now

1. Who are the 15% in your customer base or organization? Find out and reach out.

2. What do you want them to say, think, and feel about you and your product or message?

3. How can you make that happen? For real. Genuinely. Authentically.

Hint: The answer involves first reaching that critical 15% in the most effective way (you may want to go back and look at the media research).

Note: If you try to fool the 15% with your puff-piece equivalent of Flash technology, remember that they have the power to reveal you as a fraud.

The takeaway for today

Your customers are going to talk about you. If you are a manager, your employees are going to talk about you.

Regardless of the audience, are you influencing the conversation with the right people at the right timein the right way in order to create the right conversations for success?

Think about this: They now have the ability to create a repuTweetion for you in 140 characters or less.

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Help Kids, Learn About The Age of Conversation: 3

I am fortunate to participate for the third year as one of the authors for the Age of Conversation 3It’s Time to Get Busy!

Everyone who reads it will learn a lot and all proceeds from this book go directly to helping kids through the Make a Wish foundation.

Kudos to all who contributed.


Age of Conversation 3: It's Time to Get Busy

Adam JosephPriyanka SacharMark Earls
Cory Coley-ChristakosStefan ErschwendnerPaul Hebert
Jeff De CagnaThomas CliffordPhil Gerbyshak
Jon BurgToby BloombergShambhu Neil Vineberg
Joseph JaffeUwe HookSteve Roesler
Michael E. Rubinanibal cassoSteve Woodruff
Steve SponderBecky CarrollTim Tyler
Chris WilsonBeth HarteTinu Abayomi-Paul
Dan SchawbelCarol BodensteinerTrey Pennington
David WeinfeldDan SitterVanessa DiMauro
Ed BrenegarDavid ZingerBrett T. T. Macfarlane
Efrain MendicutiDeb BrownBrian Reich
Gaurav MishraDennis DeeryC.B. Whittemore
Gordon WhiteheadHeather RastCam Beck
Hajj E. FlemingsJoan EndicottCathryn Hrudicka
Jeroen VerkroostKaren D. SwimChristopher Morris
Joe PulizziLeah OttoCorentin Monot
Karalee EvansLeigh DurstDavid Berkowitz
Kevin JessopLesley LambertDuane Brown
Peter KorchnakMark PriceDustin Jacobsen
Piet WullemanMike MaddaloniErnie Mosteller
Scott TownsendNick BurcherFrank Stiefler
Steve OlenskiRich NadwornyJohn Rosen
Tim JacksonSuzanne HullLen Kendall
Amber NaslundWayne BuckhananMark McGuinness
Caroline MelbergAndy DrishOleksandr Skorokhod
Claire GrintonAngela MaiersPaul Williams
Gary CohenArmando AlvesSam Ismail
Gautam RamduraiB.J. SmithTamera Kremer
Eaon PritchardBrendan TrippAdelino de Almeida
Jacob MorganCasey HibbardAndy Hunter
Julian ColeDebra HelwigAnjali Ramachandran
Jye SmithDrew McLellanCraig Wilson
Karin HermansEmily ReedDavid Petherick
Katie HarrisGavin HeatonDennis Price
Mark LevyGeorge JenkinsDoug Mitchell
Mark W. SchaeferHelge TennoDouglas Hanna
Marshall SponderJames StevensIan Lurie
Ryan HanserJenny MeadeJeff Larche
Sacha Tueni and Katherine MaherDavid SvetJessica Hagy
Simon PaynJoanne Austin-OlsenMark Avnet
Stanley JohnsonMarilyn PrattMark Hancock
Steve KelloggMichelle Beckham-CorbinMichelle Chmielewski
Amy MengelVeronique RabuteauPeter Komendowski
Andrea VascellariTimothy L JohnsonPhil Osborne
Beth WamplerAmy JusselRick Liebling
Eric BrodyArun RajagopalDr Letitia Wright
Hugh de WintonDavid KoopmansAki Spicer
Jeff WallaceDon FrederiksenCharles Sipe
Katie McIntyreJames G Lindberg & Sandra RenshawDavid Reich
Lynae JohnsonJasmin TragasDeborah Chaddock Brown
Mike O’TooleJeanne DininniIqbal Mohammed
Morriss M. ParteeKatie ChatfieldJeff Cutler
Pete JonesRiku VassinenJeff Garrison
Kevin DuganTiphereth GloriaMike Sansone
Lori MagnoValerie SimonNettie Hartsock
Mark GorenPeter Salvitti

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HR Online Influencers: Top 25

I've been tracking John Sumser’s unfolding list of top 100 HR influencers with interest

Top 25 Digital BadgeJohn has now published a new list which uses algorithms to rank online footprints and identify the top 25 online HR influencers -we're ranked at #19. Check out the HRExaminer site for info on all of the writers; you'll find some unique contributors.

I found John's approach to the rankings refreshing. He took time to decide upon a set of meaningful criteria and stuck to them. The ranking is a combination of three different percentages:

  • Reach: This score (a percentile) estimates the number of people who see the material. It’s a measure of "eyeballs" or audience size.
  • Resonance: This measures the number of inbound links, mentions, blogroll listings, & community participation
  • Relevance: This score describes the fit of the individual's work with a cloud of keywords.

Many thanks to the other influencers and contributors for linking here.  And special thanks to you for reading!

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HR & Social Media: What Would Jesus Do?

Are you an HR person wrestling with how best to use social media?

You've got plenty of company.

At this week's IQPC Corporate University sessions there was an entire two-day track dedicated to Social Media. Speakers included Sharlyn Lauby and Jessica Lee, HR pros who know their way around the online community and the tools available to best do that. 

The questions from the audience surprised me since I've been online for some time:

 1. Do we need legal regulations before we start using social media? (This was the starting point for a lot of people; their management wanted to nail down any liability before seriously discussing social media).

2. How do we control "it"? The concept of losing control to gain relationship--as well as instant feedback from customers and employees--is still terrifying to many.

3. How do we explain and best use tools like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and LinkedIn?

Socialmedia-icons These are all reasonable questions.

They are also indications that, while a portion of the population takes social media for granted, businesses do not. That means HR pros who believe there is a place for social media will have to introduce them in the same way as any other change: Awareness, Education, but most importantly, specific examples of Application.

Then, organizations need to do what they do with everything else: answer the question, "What is our strategy and how can we use some or all of these to further it?" 

Note: If you are charged with this, a good example would be Scott Monty at Ford Motor Company

Fluoride, @Jesus,
& Social Media

You may not know this but there was a time when, like social media,  people were scared to death of Fluoride. Yep, the stuff that's in your toothpaste to help prevent cavities. When I was a child there was a movement to put Fluoride into drinking water. The population rose up indignantly claiming, amongst other things, that it was a Communist plot to poison us all. I recall my parents and our neighbors in hugely emotional discussions about Fluoride. (If you Google "fluoride" you'll see that it is still unpopular in many circles). 

Fluoride was Twitter. All of the implications weren't understood, it was a new "solution" and, as such, it became a rallying cry for many "slippery slope" arguments.

Which is why executives aren't totally crazy when they hear the mention of a new solution named 'Twitter' as a business tool. I give you, cut and pasted directly from Twitter (drumroll): @JESUSLordThyGod, Thank you for being my 3000th follower.

This first grabbed my attention because, as a follower of Jesus, I thought that the "following" part was the other way around. I had absolutely no idea that Jesus was using Twitter Himself.

Then I put myself in the position of a COO sitting next to the kids at home watching this particular tweet go by. If I'm the COO I'm not going to be comfortable with this as a  "solution" until someone shows me specifically, with a 'sticky' business example, how my company can use Twitter to further some part of the mission. And, in ways that minimize misunderstandings and liability.

There was a time, not long ago, when web portals and email raised eyebrows. It took time to figure out what was useful, what was 'safe', and what simply didn't matter. Most of all, it took hands-on experience to discover the answers.

What to do? Stop talking about social media and start showing examples of internal chats and how they cut communication time and increase project understanding. Show how many high potential employees have been hired through LinkedIn and Facebook. Design a learning program using all of the tools, pilot it, and do an honest evaluation about what works and what doesn't.

Don't dump social Fluoride into the organizational drinking water. Introduce it purposefully--think "business toothpaste" for a better chance at a brighter smile.

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Five Good Tips For Busy People

"Unless you are an hourly worker in America, boundaries between work and leisure are dead. Work bleeds into life, and life bleeds into work. People have the smart phone, aka the “digital leash”. Work will never be the same. It’s already gone."

          Kris Dunn, VP of People, DAXKO, The Blurring Line Between Work and Life

___________________________________________

Kris and the group speak the truth. We all know it although we may not like it.

So, what do you do to "mesh" the elements of your life without it becoming blurry. I'm not a fan of blurry; clarity yields a more peaceful lifestyle.

So, as I head off to sunny (hopefully) Florida to moderate a Learning panel at IQPC Corporate University week, I'm thinking about personal blurriness and how to clear it up.

Here are 5 Tips that work for me and I believe will do the same for you:

1. Scrutinize Meetings: Look at every invitation skeptically. If there's no clear agenda, stated ending time, or no purpose that involves your own purpose, "no" would be the right response. BTW: A lot of people would rather avoid the "no" and believe they can sit in the back and work unassumingly on something else. Nah, doesn't fly--and, it's not very courteous.

2. Learn when to stop: There's a fascinating dynamic at work here: the more pressure we feel the more we tend to hunker down and work even harder and longer. Harder and longer usually lead to working past the point where we're 100% attentive. The result: Reduced, or little, effectiveness.  And, it often requires going back and doing the work all over again.

Busy-people 3. Do take time:  to accurately convey your thoughts to others. How easy it is to rattle off instructions by phone or email when we're hassled. The result? Discovering (too late) that someone responsible for a key part of your project misunderstood what you said you wanted.

Accurate communication is always a time-saver over the long run.

4. How many ways can you learn to say "No!"? Develop at least a half dozen polite variations until you can say them on cue.. Then use them. A lot.

The best way to prevent personal overload is to stop saying "Yes" to requests.

Oh, the person requesting your time is your boss? Here's what to do: seriously and politely ask for clear priorities and explain that you need to know what to drop to make room for the new assignment. I think you'll be surprised at how often this will prompt your boss to reconsider the work assignment; and, (s)he will realize that your request has been helpful in clearing up departmental priorities.

5. Consider Consequences. Think ahead, and not just about what you want to see happen. 

Business folks are, by nature, results driven. "Driven" can lure us into focusing only on the goal and forgetting about the fact that bad things can happen. Tight deadlines can really be an enemy to ignoring risks. Rushing into action without counting the cost can prove to be the most costly way of operating.

What could go wrong and what will you do if it does? An ounce of prevention. . .

Off to Orlando in the (too) early a.m. Will try not to do the next post from the back of the room!

Related reading for busy people:

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How To Join in The World Business Forum 09 Online

I'm looking forward to meeting the bloggers listed below at next week's World Business Forum 2009 in New York City.

We'll be using the #wbf09 hashtag for real-time updates of the conference.

Anyone can participate  in real time by following the #wbf09 hashtag on Twitter. To join in, simply use the #wbf09 tag in your tweet. You can pose a question, share an opinion, or reply to anyone directly. To reach a specific blogger, just start your tweet with their Twitter ID.  (For example, to reach me, simply start your tweet with @steveroesler and use the #wbf09. I’ll see it and reply.)  Including #wbf09 in any of your tweets will make it visible to anyone participating in the conversation.

Here's a list of folks you can follow at  WBF09:

Wall Street Journal | Kelly Evans | @Kelly_Evans
Wall Street Journal | Paul Glader | @PaulGlader
The Huffington Post | Shahien Nasiripour | @huffbusiness
BusinessWeek.com | Reena Jana  | @RJMAC
Reuters  | Felix Salmon  | @felixsalmon
Newsweek | Katie Paul  | @newsweek
Business.com: What Works for Business | Daniel Kehrer  | @whatworks
asmarterplanet.com | Adam Christensen | @smarterplanet
Jossey-Bass on Leadership | Carolyn Carlstroem | @josseybassbiz
mashable.com | Ben Parr | @benparr
billgeorge.org | Zach Clayton | @bill_george
The Big Picture | Barry Ritholtz
Purse Pundit | Jacki Zehner 
Execunet | Lauryn Franzoni | @LaurynFranzoni
Execunet | Robyn Greenspan | @Robyngreenspan
Execunet | Joseph McCool
Execunet | Jeffrey Sherman Thompson
1 to 1 Media | Don Peppers | @donpeppers
Path Forward International | Julie Lenzer Kirk | @YourBoot
Path Forward International | Renee Lewis | @chiefcatalyst
Thought Bright Blog | Robert McNeill
Working Knowledge | Andrea Meyer | @AndreaMeyer
Working Knowledge | Dana Meyer | @WorkingKnowledg
Business Boomer | Arabella Santiago | @businessboomer
Information Playground (EMC) | Steve Todd |  @SteveTodd
Social Media Blog Stu | Stuart Miniman | @stu
Insights on Leadership and Employee Engagement | Michael Lee Stallard  | @MichaelStallard
Innoblog | Renee Hopkins | @Renee_Innosight
Business Strategy Innovation Blog | Braden Kelley | @innovate
HSMInspiringIdeas.com | Graciela Gonzalez Biondo | @HSMAmericas
Gizmodo.com | Joanna Stern | @gizmodo
Time Leadership | Jim Estill | @JimEstill
Goodness500.org | Michael Mossoba | @creativemichael
All Things Workplace | Steve Roesler  | @steveroesler
Orrin Woodward Leadership Team | Orrin Woodward | @Orrin_Woodward
Influential Marketing | Rohit Bhargava | @rohitbhargava
GDGT | Peter Rojas | @peterrojas
Brain Leaders and Learners | Dr. Ellen Weber | @EllenfWeber
Brain Based Biz | Dr. Robyn McMaster | @robynMcMaster
Triple Pundit | Jen Boynton | @triplepundit
Triple Pundit | Nick Aster | @triplepundit
Triple Pundit | Ryan Mickle | @triplepundit
Marketing Thoughts Blog | Ken McArthur | @kenmcArthur
Training Magazine’s Training Day Blog | Margery Weinstein | @margeryw
Awake at the Wheel | Jonathan Fields | @jonathanfields
Hot Mommas Project | Kathy Korman Frey @chiefhotmomma
Hot Mommas Project | Amber Hunnicut | @HotMommasIntern
Youth Entrepreneurship Lady | Julie Kantor | @NFTEJuliek
Vault.com | Philip Stott | @VaultCareers
Vault.com | Linda Petock | @VaultCareers
Economist Mom | Diane Lim Rogers @EconomistMom
Hank Wasiak | Hank Wasiak | @hankwasiak
Chris Brady's Leadership Blog | Chris Brady | @rascaltweets
The Complete Innovator | Boris Pluskowski | @bpluskowski
PR Mama | Stephanie Smirnov | @ssmirnov
Ramblings from a Glass Half Full | Terry Starbucker | @Starbucker
Conference Hound | Jordan Enright-Schulz | @conferencehound
Conference Hound | Bruce Carlisle | @conferencehound
Successful Blog | Liz Strauss | @lizstrauss
Collaboration Solutions in Industry Segments | Bob Preston | @BobPrestonCCO
5 Blogs Before Lunch | David Allen Ibsen | @daveibsen
Fast Company Expert Blogger | Seth Kahan | @SethKahan

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Is Social Media Replacing Email?

Judging from the number of Twitter direct messages I receive, my knee-jerk reaction to the question was "Absolutely."

But the correct answer is "No." In fact, a Nielsen study shows that active social media mavens use email more. It makes sense because Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others receive a steady barrage of messages initiated by the various social network sites.

After giving it some thought and looking at my email, it's obvious that the research rings true here. My observations mirrors Nielsen's thoughts:

"Social media sites like Facebook send messages to your inbox every time someone comments on your posting or something you’ve participated in, and depending on your settings, can send updates on almost every activity.  Also, it’s perfectly logical that as people make connections though social media, they maintain those connections outside of the specific platform and may extend those connections to email, a phone conversation or even in-person meetings."

Here's a graphic display of the data:

Social_media_email
Two questions for all of us:

1. Are we conscious of how we're spending the totality of online time?

2. Is the answer consistent with our personal and professional purposes?

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Do You Know Your Conversation Catalysts?

Do you want to spread your message for a product, service, or maybe an important organizational change?

Here's a question to answer: "Who are your Conversation Catalysts?"

In the midst of working with a client on a new marketing approach, I was reminded of an article that conversation and connection maven Valeria Maltoni  wrote a while back about a Keller Fay Group research study showing that 15% of the population to be  Conversation Catalysts.

Conversations "These influencers tend to recommend brands and products more often at the tune of 149 times a week vs. 79 for the average population. They also tend to have more conversations -- 184 vs. 114 -- and talk more about brands than others."

Valeria then did a nice job of highlighting the level of various media influences and, ultimately, what this means for the importance of a company website.

But the take away for us is this: Conversation catalysts talk to a whole lot more people and will be happy to share their experiences with them -- good, bad, or indifferent.

Let's connect the dots to make this work for you now

1. Who are the 15% in your customer base or organization? Find out and reach out.

2. What do you want them to say, think, and feel about you and your product or message?

3. How can you make that happen? For real. Genuinely. Authentically.

Hint: The answer involves first reaching that critical 15% in the most effective way (you may want to go back and look at the media research).

Note: If you try to fool the 15% with your puff-piece equivalent of Flash technology, remember that they have the power to reveal you as a fraud.

The takeaway for today

Your customers are going to talk about you. If you are a manager, your employees are going to talk about you.

Regardless of the audience, are you influencing the conversation with the right people at the right time in the right way in order to create the right conversations for success?

Think about this: They now have the ability to create a repuTweetion for you in 140 characters or less.

Like this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed.

Age of Conversation 2 Launches Today

You Can Buy It Now

AOC2Well, the time has finally come - Age of Conversation 2 is officially launched today.

Along with 274 marketing thought leaders, I'm participating in the book sequel that is a treasure of content for anyone in looking for insight into the business communication processes and thinking of the future.

Copies are available for purchase at Lulu.com. The goal is to raise over $15K for Variety-The Children's Charity, so pick up a copy as soon as you can.

Congratulations to all the authors who participated. Here is the entire list and where you can find them.

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

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Age of Conversation 2 Update

We live in an online world where content leads to conversations that continually re-shape the content.

There is probably more interactive learning online than in many classrooms. If this is so, it makes sense to gather a group of involved "conversationalists" and do something to heighten awareness.

Aoc2cover Age of Conversation 2: Why Don't They Get It? is scheduled to be published shortly. Proceeds will again go to the kids helped worldwide by Variety Children's Charity.

I'm honored to be a contributor. This is a group of marketing, business, design, and thought leaders whose sites will add some daily spark to your RSS reader:

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

Preview of Book Cover designed by David Armano

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Work, Expecations, And Choice

Unmet expectations and the Chicken Little Effect

Isn't that what really lies underneath many of the alleged workplace "issues?"

Chickenlittle001_2 Not unlike newspapers and TV, actual online headlines scream out:

"Businesses Must Close the Disengagement Gap"

"Six Fatal Flaws of Employee Compensation Programs"

"Managers Fail to Live Up to Expectations"

Each of these implies that there is some "way of being" that has been denied. That there is a huge chasm between "What is" and "What Should Be." That you and I are somehow being short-changed and we shouldn't put up with it any longer.

Closer examination will show that many of those headlines are generated on sites and blogs written by businesses that provide services in Employee Engagement, Compensation, and Management Training.

I'm all for improving one's condition in life. To do so, we have to have an accurate assessment of What Is Actually Possible, What Is Actually Probable, and What We're Willing To Do in all of this.

So I think an important question is:

Who Are We Allowing to Influence Our Expectations?

Rowan Manahan brings a wealth of experience to the world of career management. He sees--and has seen--a lot. So Ireland's Evening Herald interviewed Rowan about career expectations.

He notes that some parents, in a misguided quest to "build self-esteem," actually produce a houseful of "Little Emperors." Here's what he sees at college graduation/employment time:

Graduates, Manahan says, have hopelessly unrealistic expectations of what any job will entail. “They think the world is a simple meritocracy, and they believe that their talent will out,” he says. “They think teams are collaborative and co-operative. They are convinced that they will have it all. Work comes as a huge culture shock.


So now we've got two undeniably powerful influences on expectations: Parents and Media. If either or both of those is inaccurate--regardless of the generation--it's understandable how any individual or group expectation can become skewed.


What Do You Expect and Why?

This is a reasonable and potentially life-changing question that can lead you to a genuine breakthrough, especially if you are feeling inexplicably discontented.

It took me nearly a lifetime to understand this about work:

The overarching concern of profit-making companies is to make a profit. They may genuinely want to be "people-oriented," "socially-conscious," and collaborative. But profits are the corporate equivalent of the blood running through human veins. No blood? Death.


When you and I start bleeding, we don't care (primarily) what the ER folks do as long as they stop it and keep us alive. When corporations start bleeding, they don't care (primarily) about what it takes to sustain life and live another day. That's why some folks are laid off and find themselves hired back 6 months later. Expecting that companies run by humans will behave in an other-than-human way under threat and duress is an unrealistic expectation.

It may feel inhumane; but the stimulus-response is quite human and, therefore, to be expected.

Do this:

If you woke up this morning alive and with the prospect of a full day ahead, you were presented with a canvas on which to paint your life. And some expectations to go with it.

Did someone else somehow start filling in the space without consulting you first? If so, you'll be completing someone else's painting. Sooner or later you'll become frustrated and may not know why.

The weekend is upon us. What a perfect time to reflect and ask, "What do I really expect--and why do I expect it?"

Monday may be a lot more satisfying as a result.










 

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Update: Age of Conversation 2

Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton are shooting for an August release of Age of Conversation 2.Peoplemobimage_2

The purpose of this effort is to improve the lives of children around the world by donating the proceeds to Variety: the Children’s Charity.

As soon as the book is available, we'll post the details at All Things Workplace.

In the meantime, here is a list of contributors whose blogs you just might want to check out:

  1. Adrian Ho
  2. Aki Spicer
  3. Alex Henault
  4. Amy Jussel
  5. Andrew Odom
  6. Andy Nulman
  7. Andy Sernovitz
  8. Andy Whitlock
  9. Angela Maiers
  10. Ann Handley
  11. Anna Farmery
  12. Armando Alves
  13. Arun Rajagopal
  14. Asi Sharabi
  15. Becky Carroll
  16. Becky McCray
  17. Bernie Scheffler
  18. Bill Gammell
  19. Bob LeDrew
  20. Brad Shorr
  21. Brandon Murphy
  22. Branislav Peric
  23. Brent Dixon
  24. Brett Macfarlane
  25. Brian Reich
  26. C.C. Chapman
  27. Cam Beck
  28. Casper Willer
  29. Cathleen Rittereiser
  30. Cathryn Hrudicka
  31. Cedric Giorgi
  32. Charles Sipe
  33. Chris Kieff
  34. Chris Cree
  35. Chris Wilson
  36. Christina Kerley
  37. (CK)
  38. C.B. Whittemore
  39. Chris Brown
  40. Connie Bensen
  41. Connie Reece
  42. Corentin Monot
  43. Craig Wilson
  44. Daniel Honigman
  45. Dan Schawbel
  46. Dan Sitter
  47. Daria Radota Rasmussen
  48. Darren Herman
  49. Dave Davison
  50. David Armano
  51. David Berkowitz
  52. David Koopmans
  53. David Meerman Scott
  54. David Petherick
  55. David Reich
  56. David Weinfeld
  57. David Zinger
  58. Deanna Gernert
  59. Deborah Brown
  60. Dennis Price
  61. Derrick Kwa
  62. Dino Demopoulos
  63. Doug Haslam
  64. Doug Meacham
  65. Doug Mitchell
  66. Douglas Hanna
  67. Douglas Karr
  68. Drew McLellan
  69. Duane Brown
  70. Dustin Jacobsen
  71. Dylan Viner
  72. Ed Brenegar
  73. Ed Cotton
  74. Efrain Mendicuti
  75. Ellen Weber
  76. Eric Peterson
  77. Eric Nehrlich
  78. Ernie Mosteller
  79. Faris Yakob
  80. Fernanda Romano
  81. Francis Anderson
  82. Gareth Kay
  83. Gary Cohen
  84. Gaurav Mishra
  85. Gavin Heaton
  86. Geert Desager
  87. George Jenkins
  88. G.L. Hoffman
  89. Gianandrea Facchini
  90. Gordon Whitehead
  91. Greg Verdino
  92. Gretel Going
  93. & Kathryn Fleming
  94. Hillel Cooperman
  95. Hugh Weber
  96. J. Erik Potter
  97. James Gordon-Macintosh
  98. Jamey Shiels
  99. Jasmin Tragas
  100. Jason Oke
  101. Jay Ehret
  102. Jeanne Dininni
  103. Jeff De Cagna
  104. Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral
  105. Jeff Noble
  106. Jeff Wallace
  107. Jennifer Warwick
  108. Jenny Meade
  109. Jeremy Fuksa
  110. Jeremy Heilpern
  111. Jeroen Verkroost
  112. Jessica Hagy
  113. Joanna Young
  114. Joe Pulizzi
  115. John Herrington
  116. John Moore
  117. John Rosen
  118. John Todor
  119. Jon Burg
  120. Jon Swanson
  121. Jonathan Trenn
  122. Jordan Behan
  123. Julie Fleischer
  124. Justin Foster
  125. Karl Turley
  126. Kate Trgovac
  127. Katie Chatfield
  128. Katie Konrath
  129. Kenny Lauer
  130. Keri Willenborg
  131. Kevin Jessop
  132. Kristin Gorski
  133. Lewis Green
  134. Lois Kelly
  135. Lori Magno
  136. Louise Manning
  137. Luc Debaisieux
  138. Mario Vellandi
  139. Mark Blair
  140. Mark Earls
  141. Mark Goren
  142. Mark Hancock
  143. Mark Lewis
  144. Mark McGuinness
  145. Matt Dickman
  146. Matt J. McDonald
  147. Matt Moore
  148. Michael Karnjanaprakorn
  149. Michelle Lamar
  150. Mike Arauz
  151. Mike McAllen
  152. Mike Sansone
  153. Mitch Joel
  154. Neil Perkin
  155. Nettie Hartsock
  156. Nick Rice
  157. Oleksandr Skorokhod
  158. Ozgur Alaz
  159. Paul Chaney
  160. Paul Hebert
  161. Paul Isakson
  162. Paul McEnany
  163. Paul Tedesco
  164. Paul Williams
  165. Pet Campbell
  166. Pete Deutschman
  167. Peter Corbett
  168. Phil Gerbyshak
  169. Phil Lewis
  170. Phil Soden
  171. Piet Wulleman
  172. Rachel Steiner
  173. Sreeraj Menon
  174. Reginald Adkins
  175. Richard Huntington
  176. Rishi Desai
  177. Robert Hruzek
  178. Roberta Rosenberg
  179. Robyn McMaster
  180. Roger von Oech
  181. Rohit Bhargava
  182. Ron Shevlin
  183. Ryan Barrett
  184. Ryan Karpeles
  185. Ryan Rasmussen
  186. Sam Huleatt
  187. Sandy Renshaw
  188. Scott Goodson
  189. Scott Monty
  190. Scott Townsend
  191. Scott White
  192. Sean Howard
  193. Sean Scott
  194. Seni Thomas
  195. Seth Gaffney
  196. Shama Hyder
  197. Sheila Scarborough
  198. Sheryl Steadman
  199. Simon Payn
  200. Sonia Simone
  201. Spike Jones
  202. Stanley Johnson
  203. Stephen Collins
  204. Stephen Landau
  205. Stephen Smith
  206. Steve Bannister
  207. Steve Hardy
  208. Steve Portigal
  209. Steve Roesler
  210. Steven Verbruggen
  211. Steve Woodruff
  212. Sue Edworthy
  213. Susan Bird
  214. Susan Gunelius
  215. Susan Heywood
  216. Tammy Lenski
  217. Terrell Meek
  218. Thomas Clifford
  219. Thomas Knoll
  220. Tim Brunelle
  221. Tim Connor
  222. Tim Jackson
  223. Tim Mannveille
  224. Tim Tyler
  225. Timothy Johnson
  226. Tinu Abayomi-Paul
  227. Toby Bloomberg
  228. Todd Andrlik
  229. Troy Rutter
  230. Troy Worman
  231. Uwe Hook
  232. Valeria Maltoni
  233. Vandana Ahuja
  234. Vanessa DiMauro
  235. Veronique Rabuteau
  236. Wayne Buckhanan
  237. William Azaroff
  238. Yves Van Landeghem 

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The Employee Free Choice (?) Act

HR pro Kris Dunn raises a bright red flag with his informative article on a little-known but potentially chilling piece of legislation cleverly called The Employee Free Choice Act. Kris' intro:

"This piece of legislation would cripple the competitiveness of American business, limit the rights of employees and eliminate the need for independent-thinking HR pros, all in one easy-to-sign law."

I work closely with HR VP's on a daily basis and have never heard this mentioned.

Read it and ponder the implications regarding freedom for the individuals and the businesses involved.

Note: Before you shrug this off as "Managerial Steve" dumping on the legitimacy of unions, I have been a member of three different unions as well as the president and chief negotiator for one.

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Bowser Ate My Browser

Wikis, video conferencing, in-house IM's and blogs...the list continues to grow when it comes to staying connected in the workplace.

I'm not sure--universally--how much of the available "connecting" technology is being used effectively or used at all in many organizations.

But I do know this: The next generation of workers will simply expect it as a matter of course. For them, it's life...not new technology.

Doghomework_2 Educational consultant extraordinnaire, Angela Maiers, gave a tweet-out that pointed toward what's happening now with educational wikis. I had a look at the way some of the teachers were using them and was really impressed. Everything from podcasts to video to syllabi to this week's assignment. . .

Thinking back to my own (somewhat) misspent youth and the number of times our Labrador Retriever allegedly devoured my homework, here's a question for fourth-graders everywhere:

Can you keep a straight face when you say "Bowser Ate My Browser"?

photo attribution:  virtuealert.blogspot.com

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Life In The Conversation Lane: AoC 2

41eevukp5l_sl160_ The front end is done.

This week 275 authors submitted their individual chapters for Why Don’t They Get It,  a follow up to The Age of Conversation. (All proceeds go to my long-time fave, Variety, The Children's Charity.)

The segments of the new book, set for an August release, are:

        • Manifestos
        • Keeping Secrets in the Age of Conversation
        • Moving from Conversation to Action
        • The Accidental Marketer
        • A New Brand of Creative
        • My Marketing Tragedy
        • Business Model Evolution
        • Life in the Conversation Lane

Here is a bit of "The Paradox of Large" from my "Life in the Conversation Lane" chapter:

“Large systems have the money and people to create massive change. But what they most want to change is revenue from the outside, whether it's in the form of money, donations, or souls.

What they really don't want to change is life on the inside. And the inside is all about. . .”

Take some time to click and visit the “Age of Conversation 2 - Why Don’t People Get It?” authors:

Adam Crowe, Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob Carlton, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Bradley Spitzer, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Clay Parker Jones, Chris Brown, Colin McKay, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Cord Silverstein, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Goldstein, Dan Schawbel, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Darryl Patterson, Dave Davison, Dave Origano, David Armano, David Bausola, David Berkowitz, David Brazeal, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Emily Reed, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, G. Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Graham Hill, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, J.C. Hutchins, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeremy Middleton, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, Joe Talbott, John Herrington, John Jantsch, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Flowers, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kris Hoet, Krishna De, Kristin Gorski, Laura Fitton, Laurence Helene Borei, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Barnes-Johnston, Louise Mangan, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Marcus Brown, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Mark McSpadden, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Hawkins, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Monica Wright, Nathan Gilliatt, Nathan Snell, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul Marobella, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Beeker Northam, Rob Mortimer, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Cribbett, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tiffany Kenyon, Tim Brunelle, Tim Buesing, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Longhurst, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

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Systemic Mismatch?: Talent and Education

We Don't Need As Many College Grads As People Think

You've suspected this for a long time. Me, too.

Look around at the growth of technical specialties, professional 'assistant' roles, and retail employees. Then look at the charts below:

Bartonchart1_2

It's important to differentiate between media headlines and sound bites that scream, "Ten fastest growing occupations!" at some given moment in time. The consequences could be far-reaching: Do we really need to be sending Brittany, Madison, Monroe (and maybe even John Quincy) into Saturday SAT tutoring to bump up those scores from 1218 to 1241?

Caveat: Just in case you think I'm dumping on the advantages of a good education, I'm not. I've been a public school teacher and college administrator in an earlier life. Which is also where I first began looking more carefully at the relationship between "what is taught" with "what is needed." Thus, the use of the term "good education."

If you look at the top chart of the 10 occupations with the highest rate of growth, you'll see that six require either an associate or bachelor's degree while the other four require short to moderate OJT.

Seventy percent of the the top 10 with the largest growth don't require college; 30 percent do.

Here is another graphic to tweak your career/talent/education synapses:

Edlevels_2

Add up the actual percentage of jobs requiring a Bachelor's Degree or more--now and in 2014--and you might be surprised at the results.

The Education/Job Implications?

Here are just a few that come to mind:

1. Is there a realistic connection, beginning early in public schools, with what is really going to be helpful to job candidates and employers?

2. Same question for colleges and universities.

3. The biggest piece of the pie (OK, Bar Chart) belongs to On-The-Job-Training. Yet the figures I've seen published in ASTD and other sources show that large companies are cutting back; (medium and smaller companies are actually increasing their T&D investment).

4. Is the intense competition--and unbelievable tense high school prep--an unhealthy response to an overstated and misunderstood need?

I want to be clear that what I've presented so far is designed to take interested readers to a more complete and fully contextual article in The Carnegie Foundation Change Magazine. The synopsis above is from the article. Kudos to Paul E. Barton on his clear and easy-to-digest explanations of the facts, the evidence and some of the implications in How Many Çollege Graduates Does the U.S. Really Need? He also does a nice job of clarifying the distinctions between fast-growing and largest growth; two terms that are often tossed around without a closer look at what they are really saying.

When it comes to Talent and thinking systemically about it, we can't ignore the institutions who educate and supply the workforce. We can and should question whether the current system is designed to effectively produce what, and who, is needed. In fact, while I was putting together the material for this post, Tammy Erickson was overhearing a here-and-now example.

Although these figures represent the U.S. the readers here at ATW are totally global. What are you seeing in your country that may reflect a mismatch between the education system and the real-life workplace needs?
 


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When Work Life Becomes Life

"I am often astonished at how deeply CEOs really love their work. Some have gone as far as sharing with me, "You know, Tony, as much as I love my family, it's work for me to leave this place, to leave the office and spend time with my family—as much as I love them." I even had one client tell me that if he had to give up either sex or running his company, he'd give up sex."

Anthony Smith, consultant and author of The Taboos of Leadership...from a Business Week interview with Marshall Goldsmith.

If that isn't enough to get your attention, according to a new report only one half of one percent of men in Japan take time off to be with their families. That from Tom Stern in his Fast Company article Wins of Our Fathers.

What You Can't Not Do

Readers here will recognize the expression. When people ask about pinpointing their strengths and talents, my first response is always "Look at what you can't not do." It's in your DNA. And if you have  leadership DNA, which seems to be intimated as well in the Business Week interview, then the inclination would be to lead. And to want to do it well.

At the same time, the very gift that allows leaders to successfully run large, healthy, organizations has the the potential to contribute to unhealthy families. If we really believe, as is so often touted, that "children are our future", then what are the future consequences of absentee parents? Are we setting the stage for young people to figure out life by watching their parents on media clips rather than receiving guidance across the kitchen table?

I'm not offering a sweeping criticism of leaders who love their work. In fact, I'm banging this out before heading to two days of client meetings away from home.

What I am suggesting in light of the articles above is this:

Really good leadership requires a soul-searching journey. Regardless of DNA or ambitions, living a full life as an effective adult also means weighing the totality of our responsibilities, choices, and their consequences.

Leaders are talking, with pride, of "giving back to the community" in order to help create a better world. That's great.

What are you giving or taking away from your family that will have even more impact on them and the world in which they'll have to live as a result?


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Employee Needs: Workplace Spirituality a Workplace Reality

Spiritualitygoogle_2

Here's how this got started:

1. Graeme Codrington's Corporate Chaplaincies post from an article in The Economist grabbed my online attention.

The factual heart of The Economist article is that spiritual support is being made available to workers in many places. I found the "spirit" of the article to be snarky and condescending to people of faith.

2. While reading the articles, I received this brief email:

Steve

Thanks for your time.  I appreciate your help; does this make you (company name)'s
spiritual advisor?

What had I done?

I had spent about an hour listening to a client's struggles for which I had no solution. The only thing I could do was acknowledge the depth of the situation and how it must feel.

But I was struck by his reference to the spiritual nature of the interaction.

3. Science Daily popped up on my RSS reader with the research finding Thoughts Related to God Linked to Altruism.

Researchers Azim Shariff and Ara Norenzayan found that people just having thoughts about "God concepts" increased altruism.

After discussing their experiment, Shariff said:

"These are compelling findings that have substantial impact on the study of social behavior because they draw a causal relationship between religion and acting morally -- a topic of some debate."

Based on a lifetime of experience and observation I can't say that the conclusion was startling. But for those seeking research-based evidence to help put certain pieces of life together, the findings could be profound.

Why Does Any of This Matter in the Workplace?

Everyone who has ever held a job knows that workplaces are social communities. They reflect the breadth, depth, intellect, emotions, and expertise of the people who inhabit them. And people are inhabiting them for longer hours due to demands for productivity.

At the same time, organizations ask for engagement and commitment as well as espouse the merits of "authenticity".

What that really means is that companies are asking for the "whole" person to be present.   

If that's true, then any fragmentation of one's "self" would, by definition, weaken one's ability to  engage completely and in a fully authentic way.

Asking employees to park the spiritual foundation of their belief systems at the door is, therefore, a recipe for weakness. Just google Workplace Spirituality and you'll find that this post is only one of the 1,780,000 search results. The reality of spirituality has meaning to many.

What's going on in your world of work when it comes to faith and spirituality?

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Social Bookmarks: Help with Organizing

15 billion webpages--so little time.

Here's a terrific video to help your online productivity using a tool you already know about but may not use effectively (I don't!). And you can leave your boss amazed at your sudden display of time management.

Thanks to Mashable for evangelizing the always-helpful work from the folks at Common Craft.

.

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The Age of Conversation Arrives Today

The_age_of_conversation_badge Today marks the official launch of The Age of Conversation, an eBook co-authored by more than 100 authors from 24 states and ten different countries.

One of the fascinating facts about this book is that the authors hunkered down and served up their commitments in 7 days! Kudos to Gavin Heaton in Australia and Drew McLellan in Iowa who organized and coordinated the project with grace while performing the online equivalent of herding cats! Visit Drew's site to find out who else went the extra mile and how.

The best part: all sales benefit the kids served by Variety, the Children's Charity.

What Is It About?

It's all about how citizen marketers are changing the way marketing is done and how the Internet can bring people from all over the world together to make a big difference in the lives of others.

But it's not just about marketing. My chapter looks at the relationship between conversations and organizations: "Want to Change the Organization? Change the Conversation."

As you consider your summer reading schedule, give some thought to kicking back on the beach or by the pool with The Age of Conversation. I believe you'll find that it's time well spent--and at the same time,  you're helping a youngster who really needs it.

Some very cool things have already happened: Preliminary press in  AdAge and Social Computing Magazine. That's a testimonial in itself.

And there are three ways to "get the goods" at Lulu.com , each very affordable and suited to all tastes:

Hardbacks $29.99  ($8.55 goes to charity)
Paperbacks $16.95 ($8.10 goes to charity)
E-book $9.99 ($7.99 goes to charity)

Note: No author is being compensated in any way for this project. Learn more at Age of Conversation. 

More Than 100 People Who Will Help You Grow

Here are links to the contributing authors. A visit to each will bring a new look at some aspect of life, marketing, and business.

Contributors

Gavin Heaton
Drew McLellan
CK
Valeria Maltoni
Emily Reed
Katie Chatfield
Greg Verdino
Mack Collier
Lewis Green
Sacrum
Ann Handley
Mike Sansone
Paul McEnany
Roger von Oech
Anna Farmery
David Armano
Bob Glaza
Mark Goren
Matt Dickman
Scott Monty
Richard Huntington
Cam Beck
David Reich
Luc Debaisieux
Sean Howard
Tim Jackson
Patrick Schaber
Roberta Rosenberg
Uwe Hook
Tony D. Clark
Todd Andrlik
Toby Bloomberg
Steve Woodruff
Steve Bannister
Steve Roesler
Stanley Johnson
Spike Jones
Nathan Snell
Simon Payn
Ryan Rasmussen
Ron Shevlin
Roger Anderson
Robert Hruzek
Rishi Desai
Phil Gerbyshak
Peter Corbett
Pete Deutschman
Nick Rice
Nick Wright
Michael Morton
Mark Earls
Mark Blai

CB Whittemore
Mario Vellandi
Lori Magno
Kristin Gorski
Kris Hoet
G. Kofi Annan
Kimberly Dawn Wells Karl Long
Julie Fleischer
Jordan Behan
John La Grou
Joe Raasch
Jim Kukral
Jessica Hagy
Janet Green
Jamey Shiels
Dr. Graham Hill
Gia Facchini
Geert Desager
Gaurav Mishra
Gary Schoeniger
Gareth Kay
Faris Yakob
Emily Clasper
Ed Cotton
Dustin Jacobsen
Tom Clifford
David Polinchock
David Koopmans
David Brazeal
David Berkowitz
Carolyn Manning
Craig Wilson
Cord Silverstein
Connie Reece
Colin McKay
Chris Newlan
Chris Corrigan
Cedric Giorgi
Brian Reich
Becky Carroll
Arun Rajagopal
Andy Nulman
Amy Jussel
AJ James
Kim Klaver
Sandy Renshaw
Susan Bird
Ryan Barrett
Troy Worman
S. Neil Vineberg

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Can You Be Productive, Successful, and Satisfied 9 to 5? Part II

8hoursday_banner_1856 Well, sometimes tomorrow comes a little later than usual.

My intentions were good when I said last Thursday that I'd do Part Dieux on Friday. Life intervened. So now we're back and ready to go...

Judging from the comments in Part I, people feel strongly--in different ways--about the trend toward fulfillment in work life. No one is against it. Just thinking about it from different viewpoints.

Wally Bock poses some useful questions to ask yourself once you've decided to follow your talents. These are the kinds of sensible, personal style questions that often go un-asked yet really lead to a more fulfilling work life:

  • How do you organize your day or week or month?
  • Are you a lark to a night owl?

  • What do your energy flows look like?

  • How do you find the large-enough blocks of time to do serious work on a project?

  • How and what kind of breaks do you need?

  • What about days off and vacations and other times when you lie fallow?

Thanks, Wally.

Is The 9 to 5 Workday Obsolete?

When and where did the eight-hour day originate?

Briefly, it was the result of the Short-Time Movement  that emerged in Britain as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Poor working conditions, child labor, and long hours helped bring about the movement in the mid 1800s. Between that time and the early 20th century, most industrialized nations were forced to adopt a 40-hour week.

What's Happening Now?

Consistent with some of Wally's questions, John Wesley has a terrific post that talks about our Natural Productivity Cycles . Most of us have alternating periods of high and low mental alertness.  And let's face it: how long do you and I sustain those? He suggests a few hours, which is probably dead on. Which means that 8 consecutive hours don't mean 8 hours of productivity.

Since the 8 hour work day is an industrial revolution solution, how does it fit with the knowledge economy?

It certainly doesn't fit the rhythms and cycles of the normal knowledge/information worker. And with many of us connected globally, the reality of differing time zones needs to be factored in for phone and teleconferences.  Flex time makes sense--how many of you are able to take advantage of that?

The Reality: "No, we aren't working 9 to 5. We're 'on' all the time."

It seems as if the real trend is toward an "always-on" mode: doing a 5 a.m. commute to beat the traffic, coming in early to accommodate international clients, or flying on a Sunday to attend a Monday morning meeting.  Mobile phones?  Be honest. For the most part, they are on 'round-the-clock for many employees. Why? The expectation is that if you can be accessible then you should be.

Here's the catch: even though your phone may not beep, your mind stays alert to the possibility when it should be relaxing. Which means that even in the non-talking time, the body is geared up when it should be resting up.

Since the bulk of my clients are large companies, I can say that they are aware of the phenomenon. And many managers and executives talk about work-life balance and other popular phrases. But other than some who provide flex time, the pressure to be "on" seems greater than ever. The "speed" mantra, combined with quarterly earnings, appear to govern expectations.

There will always be certain businesses and professions whose services and systems require on-site staffing. I'm not sure I want my local nuclear energy facility operated remotely from a laptop in someone's barbecue pit. It's a good idea for doctors and nurses to be present at hospitals and offices, too.

But my hunch is that, like our ancestors of 100-150 years ago, sensibilities will surface and changes will be made. What I still can't fathom is, with all of the knowledge that we have about physical and mental well-being, why will it still take a "revolution" of sorts to do what we know is right?

What are your thoughts?

  • Are you working for a company that does what seems to make sense with scheduling and at-home work?
  • Are you considering any career changes as a result of current demands?

Do weigh in with a comment below!

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Can You Be Productive, Successful, and Satisfied 9 to 5? Part I

Wow. That title ought to make the search engines happy.

Are You and Your Company Thinking About These Things?

1." Nine to Five" workdays  are obsolete

2.  Productivity cycles don't run in 8 hour increments

3. New communication tools mean you don't have to "be there"

4. Satisfaction is the new Success

I started writing this as a result of the view from my laptop. Namely, the fish pond that offers a calm and peaceful view of the world from our front windows.Imgp1671_copy

I'm not trying to "rub it in," because every day isn't like this. Some days bring too much driving/flying and too many meetings. But none involve a 9 to 5 work life.

Lee Smith at Talking Internal Communication cites a survey in the U.K. by Norwich  Life that says forty-somethings are leaving the workplace to seek fulfillment . 


 Here's a snapshot of the findings:

  • Two thirds (66%) told researchers for Norwich Union they are "unfulfilled", "miserable" or "drifting" in their jobs, and over half (52%) claim they'd happily earn less money in a role that made them feel better about themselves.
  • In a new UK career trend being labelled "Zenployment", almost half (47%) say they aim to be in a second career that offers fulfillment and the chance to make a difference by the age of 45.
  • William Nelson, of trend analysts the Future Foundation, said: "This research is further evidence that we're entering a new era, with a society that is less selfish and increasingly focussed on personal fulfilment.
  • "In fact, rising affluence and high employment levels mean most of us now feel pretty secure in providing for our basic needs, especially once we are established in careers and the housing market.

I have more than a few thoughts on this and I'm sure you do, too.

The upside:

A significant number of people are no longer equating money with success (and, therefore, self worth).

People want to make a difference ( I am assuming they want to make a difference in the lives of others).

The question marks for me are:

  • If affluence and high employment are the reasons for people being relaxed enough to think in these terms, what will happen if their sense of financial security diminishes?
  • Is there something equally noble that comes from work that is not always fulfilling but that contributes to a company who can grow and employee others whose basic needs aren't yet being met?
  • Is this all really tied to an outdated model of how organizations orchestrate work life?

What happens when you think about zenployment, fulfillment, and how work is organized?

Tomorrow we'll look at the 9 to 5 workday and where that might (or might not) be headed.

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Where Have All The Men Gone?

Yesterday I was lounging at Barnes & Noble drinking expresso and reading a stack of magazines.Menshatsheader

Best Life  magazine grabbed my attention with the headline that I used here. Here's why:

I've wondered for a long time why mentoring has subsided while coaching has blossomed. And I've always had a hunch that it had to do with a change in the nature, frequency, and depth of relationships. This article really does the topic justice and is a must read for men--and women--as well.

What does the Best Life article point to?

According to the author's research, there are four contributing factors:

1. Men who have been managing their careers for years but who find themselves, midstream, feeling bereft of the kind of friendships they once had seem to have made four critical life mistakes, according to experts. The first and biggest problem involves time constraints, according to sociologist Theodore F. Cohen, professor of sociology at Ohio Wesleyan University, who has studied men’s friendship networks. “Friendship ties,” Cohen writes in the discussion of one study, “seemed always to rank behind both marriage and parenthood in terms of the salience and legitimacy of their claims on one’s time.” Add to the mix the time pressures of one’s career and you can see how male friendships can slowly start to vanish.

2. The second problem is a little more insidious and involves the way men tend to forsake their male friends and elect their wives or girlfriends as their new and primary best friends in their social worlds. Call it the Yoko Ono effect. You’ve heard it before, say, during a bridegroom’s toast to his new wife. “And most important [emotive pause], she’s my best friend.” [Applause.] One of the strongest findings in the “Social Isolation in America” study was about friendship networks: “Core confidants surrounding the typical American,” say the authors, “have become smaller and more centered on the close ties of the spouse/partner.”

3. ...the tendency for men to entrust their social lives to their girlfriends or wives. “Women have historically been the ‘kinskeepers’ of Western society,” writes sociologist Barry Wellman, Ph.D., a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto. (For a quick litmus test, ask yourself: Who does the holiday cards each year—you or your wife?) With the growth of the suburbs, explains Wellman, and the gradual evaporation of urban meetinghouses, where men used to gather and form friendships, the planning of a man’s social calendar gradually began to take place in the home, the wife’s domain. Gatherings of friends, moreover, began to occur more frequently in the home with cocktails and dinner—again territory staked out by the wife. (Suburban Man moved outside, to be alone with the barbecue.) On some level, we have never gotten over the regime.

4. The fourth mistake takes us to the problem of male friendship at its widest circumference. It has to do with the sense of manhood we inherit from our fathers and from the movies, a sense of manhood that is standard issue, handed out, as it were, when we were boys, and it is symbolized by the lone rider, brave, independent, and self-sufficient—the Clint Eastwood effect. This guy has so much shit to do that he doesn’t need friends. But dozens of studies in psychology, epidemiology, and the new field of (brace yourself) psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI, which investigates the links between the mind and the immune system, have made it abundantly clear that there are certain measurable risks involved in isolating yourself like the High Plains Drifter or reducing your life to the same dreary combination of work, home, Starbucks (repeat until the grave).

What Should We Be Thinking About?

Clearly, society--as always--is having an impact on how workplace relationships, mentoring, and the development of ensuing generations of leaders are being played out (or not). If mentoring and leadership development is a concern, then maybe we need to look at the changes in values, expectations, and demands that have pulled men away from performing those roles.

I'm always up for finding ways to be more attentive and understanding of the unique needs and differences when it comes to my wife, daughter, and women in the workplace.  Anything less doesn't reflect genuine caring. And to think that two people of different genders are the same because they both are "analytical" is sheer foolishness.

But if we're allowing flawed lifestyle and cultural shifts to override the roles that enable men to mentor and develop future leaders, then perhaps we should stop and think about where this is really taking us. Is this where we intended--and want-- to go?

The Yoko Ono Effect helped Yoko a lot, but it sure didn't do anything for the Beatles.

Photo Source: www.villagehatshop.com

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Want to Change The Organization? Change the Conversation

Lautrec Yesterday I finished my "chapter" for the Age of Conversation eBook. The title, which I used for today's post, emerged from my work and speeches about change and the conversations that inevitably follow.  Like so many other things in life, I wished the conversations had taken place before, rather than after, the fact. It was through those conversations that I heard the deeper thoughts and feelings that people had about the organizational change or the talk that I had given.

It was during these conversations that people's minds, including my own, were changed. No one was asking anyone else to "buy in" by a certain date. We were just talking about what was possible, how we could get there, and all of the related "stuff" that might be important.

That caused me to begin to reject standard top-down models for change unless we could start with a wide ranging discussion first.  Don't hear me saying that managers shouldn't manage. Do hear me suggesting that when it comes to a change that isn't a crisis, managers would be well-served to just put their idea out there and let it be the subject of conversation. It will be anyway. Why not talk, listen, and learn with everybody who will be involved?

That's how we change our framework for thinking...and that's kind of the thrust of my chapter, so...

Back to the eBook. There are 100 thought leaders and social media mavens who took time to contribute. The proceeds go to Variety, The Children's Charity . I'll let you know when it's ready for purchase; it will be well worth the wait.

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Change the Conversation--Change the Organization

Ageconversation Conversation and discourse are powerful. So why not use that power to lift up those who need help and encouragement?

That's exactly what Gavin Heaton  and Drew McLellan decided to do when they initiated an eBook project whose proceeds will go to  Variety, The Children's Charity.

Titled The Age of Conversation, 100 bloggers are creating the final product, including my piece on how conversational change helps drive organizational change. Whether you're a corporate animal, marketeer, or creative artist, you'll want to add this broad-based thought piece to your reading list. And you'll be helping kids who need your help.

All of the submissions are due April 30, and I'll be giving an update on how you can get your copy.

In the meantime, check out the blogs from this wide-ranging list of contributing authors:

Gavin Heaton
Drew McLellan
CK
Valeria Maltoni
Emily Reed
Katie Chatfield
Greg Verdino
Mack Collier
Lewis Green
Sacrum
Ann Handley
Mike Sansone
Paul McEnany
Roger von Oech
Anna Farmery
David Armano
Bob Glaza
Mark Goren
Matt Dickman
Scott Monty
Richard Huntington
Cam Beck
David Reich
Mindblob (Luc)
Sean Howard
Tim Jackson
Patrick Schaber
Roberta Rosenberg
Uwe Hook
Tony D. Clark
Todd Andrlik
Toby Bloomberg
Steve Woodruff
Steve Bannister
Steve Roesler
Stanley Johnson
Spike Jones
Nathan Snell
Simon Payn
Ryan Rasmussen
Ron Shevlin
Roger Anderson
Bob Hruzek
Rishi Desai
Phil Gerbyshak
Peter Corbett
Pete Deutschman
Nick Rice
Nick Wright
Mitch Joel
Michael Morton
Mark Earls
Mark Blair
Mario Vellandi
Lori Magno
Kristin Gorski
Krishna De
Kris Hoet
Kofl Annan
Kimberly Dawn Wells
Karl Long
Julie Fleischer
Jordan Behan
John La Grou
Joe Raasch
Jim Kukral
Jessica Hagy
Janet Green
Jamey Shiels
Dr. Graham Hill
Gia Facchini
Geert Desager
Gaurav Mishra
Gary Schoeniger
Gareth Kay
Faris Yakob
Emily Clasper
Ed Cotton
Dustin Jacobsen
Tom Clifford
David Pollinchock
David Koopmans
David Brazeal
David Berkowitz
Carolyn Manning
Craig Wilson
Cord Silverstein
Connie Reece
Colin McKay
Chris Newlan
Chris Corrigan
Cedric Giorgi
Brian Reich
Becky Carroll
Arun Rajagopal
Andy Nulman
Amy Jussel
AJ James
Kim Klaver
Sandy Renshaw
Susan Bird
Ryan Barrett
Troy Worman

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Corporate Connections and Social Networking: Worksona

Back on October 5th I did a post about social networking and its potential application in organizations:Worksona_3

"Instead of filling each other's email folders with forwards, cc's, and cover-your-behind messages, a lot of organizational knowledge could be shared and archived in a way that's more interesting and useful. Digital images can be parked for researchers in different locations to access. Projects could be organized by topic. Ideas could be inserted by people with knowledge or interest who aren't on the official email distribution. Employees could know what's happening in real-time; they wouldn't have to wait for a company newsletter.

I understand that security is an issue. Many company intranets have already addressed that issue so it's do-able.

Social networking is 'what's happening'--why not use it to make things happen on the job."

If this makes sense to you, have a look at Worksona. They're all about launching communities inside of existing organizations, which alleviates some of the angst around security and makes it all about connecting on the inside.

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Thinking "Linking" in Your Workplace

You want better communications in your organization. Right?

Maybe it's time to use the metaphor of links Ohcapa_helpful when we talk about better communication, especially in larger organizations.

I started thinking about this as a result of a performance conversation with the manager (Rachel) of a "non-communicative" employee (Lucas). The manager claimed she wasn't getting enough timely information from Lucas and, after numerous discussions with him, she concluded:

a. He isn't a team player

b. He is secretive

c. If he isn't a team player and is secretive, he probably doesn't have a future with the company.

When I approached Lucas (as a coach) about the issue, the response was:

a. I always think in terms of the overall team.

b. There is so much information passing through here that I don't want to overwhelm people who are already deluged with data. So I try to sort out what is meaningful and what isn't before passing it along.

c. I like working here and am actually quite successful at achieving my objectives. (Quite accurate, I must add).

Fact of life: He still needs to communicate more frequently and quickly in order to satisfy the needs of his boss.

Or, he may need to find an organization or a boss who doesn't want the same amount of information.

Thinking about Linking On-the-Job

One of the principles of coaching--and communication--is this: You've got to find what works. His model doesn't fit her model. No amount of intellectual or organizational reality seems to make a dent in his thinking. He's smart and committed to the company. So here's my next move: The Internet as Intervention.

Hang in here with me...

Two of my favorite sources for blogging ideas are Copyblogger and Problogger. Both have good articles on the benefits of linking to other sites (just click on both).

The idea is this: Use the metaphor of linking as a way to get him to see the benefit of reaching out with more information. He's fairly web savvy and the visual image could work.  My hope is that he'll start receiving more timely and useful data; then, we can then discuss the notion of reciprocity.

What do you think about the idea?!

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Nelements--The Language of Thought

Zahid Ayar commented on my Creativity, Adults, and Your Business post about some mind-mapping software that is quite interesting. It's called Nelements and allows you to map your thoughts in 3D. I'm putting up a couple of screen shots from their site so you can see what I'm talking about.

If you are interested in thoughts and related language, have a visit to the site.

Thanks, Zahid!

Living

 

Shapesncolors_1

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Who Are Your Conversation Catalysts?

Do you want to spread your message for a product, service, or maybe an important organizational change?Conversations_productie

Here's a question to answer: "Who are your Conversation Catalysts?"

Valeria Maltoni , conversation and connection gurette, writes about a Keller Fay Group research finding that shows 15% of the population to be  Conversation Catalysts.

"These influencers tend to recommend brands and products more often at the tune of 149 times a week vs. 79 for the average population. They also tend to have more conversations -- 184 vs. 114 -- and talk more about brands than others."

Valeria then does a nice job of highlighting the level of various media influences and, ultimately, what this means for the importance of a company website.

But the take away for us is this: Conversation catalysts talk to a whole lot more people and will be happy to share their experiences with them -- good, bad, or indifferent.

Let's connect the dots to make this work for you now

1. Who are the 15% in your customer base or organization? Find out and reach out.

2. What do you want them to say, think, and feel about you and your product or message?

3. How can you make that happen? For real. Genuinely. Authentically.

Hint: The answer involves first reaching that critical 15% in the most effective way (you may want to go back and look at the media research).

Note: If you try to fool the 15% with your puff-piece equivalent of Flash technology, remember that they have the power to reveal you as a fraud.

The takeaway for today

Your customers are going to talk about you. If you are a manager, your employees are going to talk about you.

Regardless of the audience, are you influencing the conversation with the right people at the right time in the right way in order to create the right conversations for success?


Image source:  www.leidsuitburo.nl

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What's Ahead for Leadership in 2007?

Images_6 Are you thinking about your personal career, your organization, or leadership in 2007?

If so, here is the complete text of a Workplace Performance article that synthesizes a study done by the folks at consulting firm Blessing White. There are some conclusions that impact personal and professional life for everyone in an organization. Read the article (the italics are mine) and then join me at the end:

Princeton, N.J. — Nov. 30

Leadership priorities will take new shape next year as senior management confronts shifting competitive and internal pressures, according to a forecast by global consulting firm BlessingWhite.

Leadership increasingly requires an essential balance between business competence and personal connection, said Christopher Rice, BlessingWhite CEO.

“It’s no longer enough to be capable," he said. "Senior executives have to build an authentic bond with their employees, customers and other stakeholders, which is admittedly a daunting challenge for most leaders.”

Employee engagement will demand the attention of senior management as never before, Rice said. 

“And we’ll see an effort to rid organizations of ‘subversives,’ the few alienated employees who are ‘extremely dissatisfied’ in their positions,” said Rice, who estimates about 5 percent to 8 percent of employees at large organizations fall into the category. “Employees who are so disengaged undermine productivity by dragging down everyone around them. They’re a threat to the bottom line.”

Leaders will focus on the following issues in 2007, according to the forecast:

  • 1. Executive Self-Development
    Expectations of leadership have risen well beyond the capabilities of most senior executives and fostered renewed interest in self-development. The best leaders grasp that they need to be compelling and inspirational.
  •  
  • 2. Correcting Cultural Corruption
    Greater emphasis will be placed on organizational audits and culture scans in order to avert ethical problems. Effective leaders will focus on building organizations that comply with regulatory requirements while at the same time working to create a culture that operates with ethical intent at every level of contribution.
  •  
  • 3. Re-emerging Focus on Retention
    As a key means of retaining high-value contributors, greater stress will be put on understanding the need for employees to do work that is meaningful to them. To attract and retain talent there will be greater emphasis on demonstrating trust and leadership credibility.
  •  
  • 4. Driving Productivity Through Engagement
    Employee engagement will continue to be a pressing concern, and those responsible for leading will need to pay close attention to not only the level of employee satisfaction but also the degree of contribution.
  •  
  • 5. Connecting Individual Contribution to Strategy
    There is a lingering gap between employees knowing their organization’s business strategy and recognizing their own role in it. Closing that gap will help improve engagement, productivity and profitability.
  •  
  • 6. Inspiring All Generations
    Most organizations today were built by and for baby boomers, and there is a growing disconnect between younger employees and senior management. The corporate clock is ticking, and the pool of available talent is shrinking. Senior management must learn how to engage people of all ages, leaders at all levels need to understand the divergent interests of employees of different ages and flexible HR practices must be employed to motivate people to stay longer and grow into mutually beneficial roles.
  •  
  • 7. Developing Leaders for Short — and Long-Term — Needs
    Most organizations realize they do not have enough strong leaders in the pipeline, hence the urgent emphasis on leadership development and succession planning. Because global competition is so intense, organizations must not only identify future leaders but also have a pool of qualified leaders who may be quickly redeployed. There is no time for learning on the job.

    “Corporate leadership now sees talent management strategies as a business imperative,” Rice said. “Successful leaders seek to have the right people in the right jobs focused on the right organizational priorities.

    "At the same time, leaders need to ensure that employees have the information and support they need to align their interests and career aspirations with the organization’s goals. That dual focus can reduce unwanted turnover and create a sustainable competitive advantage.”

  • What does this really mean?
  • If you synthesize the findings, there are at least  4 evident themes:

    • Authenticity
    • Engagement
    • Connections
    • The right people in the right place at the right time

    Here's the not-so-evident: those four themes point to a need for:

    • Discernment in identifying talent vs. administrative match-ups of competency lists and job descriptions
    • Willingness to spend time and getting expertise in finding out if Cheryl in Accounting just might have the underlying genius to become Cheryl in Marketing
    • Being honest with one's self--and others--about a career path that could wind around the company and, perhaps, around the world
    • Being honest and real.Period. Inspiration doesn't happen as a result of buzzwords, catch phrases, and poster campaigns. It happens because real people get real, act real, and stay connected for real with the people in their organizations. And not just in their socially- similar comfort zones.

    What do you think needs to happen in your career or your organization? Click on "Comments" and help out with the "getting real" part.


    Graphic Source: www.efuse.com

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    Online "Thank You." A Gift That Keeps on Giving

    David Maister just posted a "thank you" --using names and links--to all of those who took time to comment at his always-engaging blog, Passion, People, Principles.Thank_you

    Is this a variation of something that we should all be doing, regardless of the kind of organization we're in?

    What a powerful way to acknowledge customers--by name--and give them exposure as well. Blog comments require an investment of time and thought. Other customers invest their time and money.

    I think this is a thought-stimulator for ways to acknowledge those who have contributed to our own success. Maybe organizations who aren't into writing prose could start a "Thank you" blog to recognize customer relationships and contributions.

    I like it.

    What kinds of ideas does this spark for you?

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    Manager's Mood Machine: Duh?

    You are in the meeting room with your team. Your manager is in her office with what looks like a lava lamp. You all laugh at a joke. She smiles when her lamp turns yellow. You are happy so she is happy.

    GS Yuasa and the University of Tokyo are  a Symbiotic Hosting Online Jog Instrument, or SHOJI, Shoji that supposedly gives a manager--or anyone--the ability to tell what the mood in a particular room is like.  Using LEDs, the SHOJI can determine  the mental condition of the occupants of a room. A single terminal determines the mood in one room (using the sensors and microphones) and transmits it by way of the internet to another room. The LEDs show the final output using color codes for each mood; in this case there is red for anger, blue for sadness, yellow for happiness, and green for peace.

    So I'm wondering: what happens if half the room is angry and the other half is happy? Does the manager see orange? And what happens if a decision makes some people angry but gives those in agreement a sense of peace? OK, I think the technology looks like fun. Sort of a high-tech parlor game.

    If a manager were to take this seriously--and some will--it's one more way to keep them from actually relating with their people. Instead of gazing at a managerial mood ring, they could say something really profound like, uh, "Hey, how do you feel about the new project software?" Then a real discussion might follow that leads to better implementation of the software or even a different package. Suddenly, the skies would open and a yellow and green glow might naturally fill the room.

    In the meantime, I can see a lot of side benefits from having one of these gizmos at the company Christmas party. Unfortunately, it's not scheduled for release until April of 2007 and will cost between US$2,500-3,000.

    Until then, "Hi, I'm Steve. I'm an Aquarius and I feel really Yellow about you. I like quiet walks on the beach when I'm feeling Red. Most of all, I hope everyone joins together for World Green."

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    Boomers Making A Difference

    Here at All Things Workplace we've posted on issues of age and ageism in the workplace. Boomers Making A Difference  is a new blog from Linda Franklin. She's writing on different life issues related to that demographic.

    Stop by her blog, see what she's up to, and let her know the kinds of info that could be helpful.

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    Work, Family Illness, and Hospital Care

    They are all related. You need to manage them. And you need some organizational understanding to doDisability that. Understanding from your organization and understanding of the hospital's organization.

    My father entered the hospital on Monday and needed two different surgeries, one on Wednesday and one on Friday. As the owner of my business I have no problem "taking off" from work. Many people do.

    Here are a few things I want to pass along:

    Work. I have spent the entire week and weekend visiting, conferring with surgeons, staying with my father in pre-op, and making sure he saw me when he woke up from the surgery. On one day that meant 12 consecutive hours as a result of unforeseen operating room emergencies and changes.

    I own a for-profit firm. Part of my role is to generate new business. The business is not going to fold because I couldn't be there. But my father might. I would urge others--from small biz to behemoth biz--to create policies to help with time off for family illness. The employee isn't going to be focused on work and needs to be focused on family care. Do what you need to do to protect against misuse of the policy. But do the right thing.

    Family Illness. This actually means two things: there is an illness in the family and that the illness impacts the entire family (as well as close friends of the family and patient). There are phone calls and emails to be done and schedules to be changed. Communication needs to be frequent and accurate. If you--or your employee--is the "senior ranking person" in the family, it can mean decision-making on the patient's behalf as well. This is multi-tasking at its most challenging.

    Hospital Care. I want to make this crystal clear: effective hospital care in the U.S. is directly related to the  family's ability to manage every aspect of it.  This is my father's sixth hospital stay this year. Here is a brief list of things that we had to manage this week.

    a. Food. That's right. The admitting doctor placed a "no food" restriction upon his admission on Monday morning. He hadn't eaten since Sunday night. Since he is diabetic that has implications. The surgical team does their visitation in the evening. All day we asked the nursing staff why he couldn't eat. They didn't know --none of the tests required fasting--but tried calling the admitting physician who never returned any of the calls. At 7:30 pm the surgeon came in and immediately removed the "no food" restriction. The nurse then announced that there was no more food available from the kitchen but she would get a container of jello from the fridge. Whoops. No jello left. "Sorry." She left. I went to a restaurant and got a take out meal.

    No family member--no food.

    b. Pre-op. Surgery scheduled for 9 am (scheduled to be second), go into pre-op area at 7:30 am. Always comforting to the patient. Talk, watch a little TV...but oops, patient #1 has problems. OK, got to take care of that. We can wait a while. Dad ultimately gets into surgery at 1 pm. He came down at 7:00 am which means that he has been lying there for 6 hours. In fairness to the hospital staff they wanted to take him back to his room to wait. But since the ongoing surgery could finish at any moment they didn't want him to have to travel upstairs and then back down straight away.

    No family member--6 hours alone in pre-op.

    c. Surgical decisions. Surgeon discusses options and consequences, patient unable to fully process the information although patient is alert. Needs help thinking through and understanding the positive as well as negative outcomes of each.

    No family member--potentially wrong decision.

    d. Medical History. Surgeon is reading charts out loud so we can follow along. We realize that there is an entire procedure missing from the records. We explain the "what and when" to the surgeon. That influences his decision making.

    No family member--incomplete history, potentially wrong decision.

    e. Anesthesiologist. We arrive for surgery #2 to find the anesthesiologist trying to convince my father to use a spinal. We know he won't and can't do that (prior experience). To our amazement, dad starts to succumb to the forcefulness of the doctor. We intervene, explain the history, and ask why _______cannot be used. He tells us that it can but he would prefer to do the spinal. Having had this conversation 5 other times this year, we tell him no spinal, use ____________.

    No family member--wrong anesthesia.

    Work, Family Illness, and Hospital Care. If you have any related experiences or suggestions, add a comment for the community. It could make a difference.

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    Corporate Social Networking? Congrats, IBM

    I wrote a post on October 5 suggesting that Social Networking would be a great tool for the workplace.

    Well, two guys at IBM in San Jose, California were already on the case.

    "Programmers at Almaden designed a posting, tagging and networking component to Big Blue's employee directory so that the 330,000 IBMers spread around the world can find out more about each other when looking for collaborators or in-house expertise." For the full story on Steve Cousins, Steve Farrell, and their more-than-useful Fringe tool, here's the insidebayarea.com article.

    This is simply a great use of technology.

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    Job Seekers Want...

    . . .what they've wanted throughout a couple of decades of surveys:

    • Interesting, challenging work

    • Recognition and rewards for accomplishments

    • A chance for fast career growth and advancement

    These were the top employer attributes cited in an Accenture survey of 4,139 job seekers in 21 countries.  FYI: Those surveyed included both entry level and experienced workers in North America, South America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. The results published by Accenture are shown on the right.Accenture_1

    Does this mean that money and benefits don't matter?

    No. Like vitamins,when it comes to compensation we all have our minimum daily requirement. Once that is met, though, professional satisfaction and recognition for a job well done make a job--and therefore an employer--more or less appealing.

    Most large corporations peg their compensation packages to some percentile of the competition. They'll decided to be in the top 15%, 25%, 30% and so forth. Job seekers can find that information either before or during the interview process. Once they realize their basic financial needs can be met, they start moving to the intrinsic motivators to make their decisions.

    This is why good managers are so important!

    If you look at most of the characteristics, the manager is the mediator of satisfaction. Challenging assignments, professional development, rewards and recognition, approachable, team orientation--all of these are within the purview of managers. That means that managers need to be tuned in to this kind of information. At least one of the implications for companies is to develop managers who can deliver the kind of "people focus" as well as the financials and other metrics. I know that's nothing new. But neither are the results of the survey. Which is why I'm thinking that we still have a way to go with applied management and leadership development vs. the program du jour.

    Another thought: job design.

    If challenging work is ranked so high then maybe part of the solution is to look at how work is designed and what can be changed, expanded, or even narrowed. As a manager, any time I had people in the right roles with the right mix of challenges they required less direct supervision but more recognition. Finding the right recognition is a pleasant price to pay.

    Take a look at the complete results. Job seekers and employers: what do you think?

    Chart source: Accenture

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    Think Red, because...

    Red_1






    ". . .if he stays here, he will surely die. But, if he goes with you, he will live."

    Read the full context in Brian Williams' MSNBC online article. It's about a dad willing to give up his child in order to save him. And about U2's Bono and Bobby Shriver teaming to use consumer brands to help women and children with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

    When I started this weblog I took a short course in business blogging. It was quite helpful. One of the guidelines stated firmly "Try to be positive. Word your suggestions in positive terms or people will tune you out." Well, life isn't always positive. Yet here is something positive to do: Read the rest of this post, click on the links, and find out how it is possible to help save a hurting, stricken person.

    1. You and I are going to buy things anyway. Buying Red can help someone get what they need as well as get us what we want.

    2. OK, so you want a good business reason? Read Jack Yan's post on Companies who see Red see black.

    3. Need a few more specifics? Information Week highlights what Apple and Motorola are going to contribute.

    Why am I writing about this topic in All Things Workplace? Because I've lost two close professional associates and friends to AIDS. I miss them and think about them regularly. Now global businesses are putting their brands out there to provide help. Sure, they are going to make money as well. That's part of the need: money. And it's still a risk to associate your brand with a disease that can provoke more self-righteous judgment than it does selfless help.

    " . .if he stays here, he will surely die." Let's make his dad wrong.

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    Career Mobility: Pausing on Purpose

    Ladder Monica McGrath  of the Wharton School is picking up on a career trend. A recent Wharton Business School article  notes that "A number of men and women in middle management are increasingly reluctant to take the next step in their careers because the corporate ladder is not as appealing as it used to be, and the price to climb it is too high."

    "These people are still ambitious, and they are still driving. They just aren't driving for the same things they were driving for 15 years ago," she (McGrath) says.

    What is really happening here is that people--especially younger ones--are defining success on their own terms.

    Related studies from the Families and Work Institute show that 34% of women and 21% of men in the "top 100" ranks of the top ten multinational companies have reduced their career aspirations. People are looking for satisfaction outside of work--through their families and other activities.

    I think that's a good thing. I've seldom seen anyone at work who performs well over the long-run and has a home life that is in disarray. And the idea of becoming involved in volunteer work and other helping activities can contribute to personal and character growth, better communities, and new skills that can be used in the workplace.

    Note to employers: This is an opportunity. Instead of focusing only on complex "talent management programs," begin having real conversations about what people are looking to contribute and what they are looking for. I'm guessing that a lot of the answers will help you fill some current talent gaps. And you'll know pretty quickly where you have to "go outside" for help.

    That's the kind of diagnostic that builds good companies and goodwill.


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    Do You Have the New 43-hour day?

    That's the total number of hours of daily activity listed by the U.S. respondents in a survey just released by Yahoo! and OMD. I shouldn't be surprised: it's Sunday and my day-of-rest includes a blog post. Clock_2

    The survey targeted 1600 families with a total of 4,783 responses from individuals 18+ years old in 16 different countries. If you wondered how to squeeze 43 hours into 24, here are some of the results from U.S. respondents. Sleep is omitted:

    USA

    -Spending time with family  4.5 hours
    -Using the Internet  3.6 hours
    -Working  6.4 hours
    -Watching TV  2.5 hours
    -Commuting  1.2 hours
    -Using instant messenger  1 hour
    -Spending time with friends  1.5 hours
    -Emailing  1.2 hours
    -Listening to the radio  1.3 hours
    -Listening to music (non-radio): 1.3 hours
    -Emailing: 1.2 hours
    -Land line phone: 0.7 hours
    -Reading online journals & blogs: 0.6 hours
    -Mobile phone: 0.6 hours
    -Text messaging: 0.6 hours

    It's probably important to note that the survey was done online. So the respondents might be more tech savvy than the average person, causing the "time spent" categories to reflect a bias toward media and technology. But one thing is for sure: There is a lot of multi-tasking going on out there.

    That should prompt us to pause (assuming we're not pausing as part of a multi-tasking effort). While multi-tasking has become a mantra for productivity, all indications are that it is a detriment to quality. Dave Boggs cites a study on the impact of multi-tasking from the National Academies of Science. And Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror even charts the effects.

    How about a multi-pause to catch our collective breaths and focus?

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    Red Hot Retirement Package

    Bluegrassred This post is not about a traditional retirement plan.

    This post is about lifelong learning.

    John McAlonan is a city guy. I know he's a city guy because we went to school together beginning at age 5 and grew up in the same neighborhood. Well, it wasn't actually in the city--we had to walk a half mile into Camden. but we weren't in the middle of a pasture, either. As an adult, John has had a professional career involving a lot of indoor work.

    Now he's a bona fide hot pepper farmer-and-bottler in Kentucky.

    Yesterday my email alert rang and there was a message from John titled "Here's Retirement." (Click and read the full newspaper story on John's venture--I have no idea how long they leave their links up.)

    I've been writing periodically about the aging workforce as well as some real and not-so-real issues surrounding it. When I saw John's email I realized that there is, indeed, an entire demographic not opting for retirement in the traditional sense. Instead, potential retirees are becoming entrepreneurs. A pension or 401K (U.S.) may make it easier to fund the business they always wanted and avoid begging the local banker--or relatives-- for money.

    There's another reason why I'm writing this. A few years ago I received a phone call telling me that John was being wheeled into surgery. The open-heart kind. I was terrified that my friend wouldn't make it and that I wouldn't see him again. So I'm thankful to be able to write about him today.

    Here are some things I've learned from John:

    a. Your friends will surprise you. He has.

    b. If they can surprise you, maybe it's time to surprise yourself. Do something instead of listening to all the people who tell you why you "shouldn't. . ."

    c. Start before you finish you're current career. John's been playing at this for some time. His product line shows that a lot of research, as well as trial-and-error, went into it.

    d. Move to Kentucky. The guys on Rogers Avenue would have beaten the daylights out of him if he had started doing something wussy like planting little seeds in the backyard.

    Drop by John's blog to see what's happening with the hot stuff and the neighbors.

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    Working Out of a "Third Place"? It's Happening a Latte

    Coffeeshop1 I don't have an office building. I used to. Then one of my independent consultants asked a very good consulting question: "Why are you paying for all of this space, equipment, and furniture when we really do our work at the clients' locations? We've got cell phones, laptops, and cars--you could save money and have us meet at a coffee shop.

    Now I have a large home office and about 20 offices in different countries. They don't charge rent, they do make good coffee and provide WiFi (a requirement). I'm doing this post from my favorite: my back porch.

    The October 5th USA Today has a wonderful story about the future of work. But it's actually happening right now. It's authored by Marco della Cava and titled Working out of a "third place." He notes that Gartner Dataquest research shows this trend growing 10% annually.

    Here's just one comment from the article: "Working from a place like this is less stressful than being in an office, and I find I get a lot more done," says (Mordy) Karsch, general manager of Spanish Sales Force, a Spanish-language marketing consultancy. "If you can make this work for you, you'll love it."

    There's even a set of Cafe Etiquette rules that have developed over time and are listed in the article.

    Can You Make It Work?

    It probably depends on the kind of work you do and how you decide to organize it. I like it because I'm not an "office" person. The more movement, the better. Everything I do is on my laptop...and my clients are spread across the globe. Vendors who do work for me often have the same lifestyle--or work style--so they are inclined to meet in the same way. And I've developed business relationships as a result of casual conversation at one of the "branch" offices.

    Before I made the final decision about changing the office space I contacted some clients. I explained what I was thinking about doing and "why." My fear: We would not be seen as a "real" organization since most of our work is done with Fortune 500 companies. The response: "Sounds great. I wish we could do that. Go for it!"

    So we did. It's been four years since the last payment for office space and the business continues to move forward. And there has even been formal recognition: A local cafe has named one of it's offerings the "Roesler Expresso," a four-shot formula guaranteed to keep you working when the internal motivation fades. But I have to check my receipts. A few more of those expressos this month and it may equal the old office rent.

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    Social Networking Instead of Emails

    Fanpop
    Why not use the social networking concept inside your organization? Instead of companies having to monitor online activity, I think companies might be able to create their own versions of social networking  for collaboration.

    I've been thinking about this for a few weeks. Then I saw Guy Kawasaki's post yesterday about Fanpop. He describes it as "a network of social portals where communities of fans can discover and share content and participate in discussions around their favorite topics of interest."

    Doesn't that sound like collaboration? Instead of filling each other's email folders with forwards, cc's, and cover-your-behind messages, a lot of organizational knowledge could be shared and archived in a way that's more interesting and useful. Digital images can be parked for researchers in different locations to access. Projects could be organized by topic. Ideas could be inserted by people with knowledge or interest who aren't on the official email distribution. Employees could know what's happening in real-time; they wouldn't have to wait for a company newsletter.

    I understand that security is an issue. Many company intranets have already addressed that issue so it's do-able.

    Social networking is "what's happening"--why not use it to make things happen on the job.

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    Why Do You Want to Work There?

    An international survey of more than 500 HR executives by global talent management firm, Bernard Hodes, has found that the quality or reputation of products and services, the corporate culture and the work environment were a business's most important attributes when it came to bringing talent aboard.

    Ethical reputation also scored highly. But benefits and compensation were, perhaps surprisingly, bottom of the list. This from an interesting article at management-issues.

    What does it tell us? That job seekers have a keen idea about the kind of atmosphere in which they want to spend their work life and are savvy and discerning in their search. Discerning to the point that the Bernard Hodes people have a group dedicated to helping companies create a "brand" for recruiting. I think that's a worthwhile service. But consultants and their client companies have to pay more attention to what's actually happening: "the war for talent" is really "the system-to-make-it-as-difficult-as-possible-to-ever-get-in-the-door."

    Is Anyone Else Experiencing This?

    My daughter graduated from a well-known university two years ago. High GPA, two semesters of study abroad in two different countries, fluent in a second language and quite conversational in a third; leadership experiences during college, worked at a real job for a government agency in her junior and senior years and had additional work experience with a professional firm. Most of all she was motivated to work and clear about where she wanted to be.Jobpal_interface

    Here's how the job search actually went:

    1. All resumes had to be submitted online (not unusual or surprising). She understood the whole "keyword" deal in order to get through internal search machines.

        a. More often than not, there was no response indicating that the document was actually received.

        b. Many websites seemed to be designed by IT people for IT people. They were difficult for even the web-savvy to navigate.

        c. Frequently--very frequently--three quarters of the way through the process all of the information would disappear. On numerous occasions she had to enter the information multiple times before the site remained "up" long enough to complete the application.

    2. Seldom did she ever receive any acknowledgment from a real human-being that the resume had been received. I understand that huge corporations receive many applications. If there is a "war for talent" and "company culture and reputation" are really important, then spending dollars on public  relations is wasted capital if no one is actually talking to the talent.

    3. Career Fairs. My favorite. She figured that if the online application system wasn't yielding results,   then some face-to-face contact could move things along. So she registered for the Career Fair and  showed up with the requested twenty resumes. Please feel free to use the following dialog if you are a stand-up comedian and need some job-related material:

        Daughter: HI, I'm interested in talking with you about___________.

        Recruiter: HI, my name is_____________________.

        (Casual conversation, brochure distribution by Recruiters)

        Daughter: I think this might be an area where I'd like to contribute. Here is a copy of my resume.

        Recruiter: Go on our website and fill in an application.

        Daughter: Uh, I thought this was a place to talk about jobs and exchange information.

        Recruiter: We don't take resumes. Go on our website and fill in an application.

        Daughter's evil thought: (What are they paying you for if you don't handle resumes. I already knew there was a website. Maybe I should get a Recruiting job with your company so I wouldn't actually have to do Recruiting and could travel and turn in expense reports for meals and hotels.)

        Her target companies were well-known and in the Fortune 500 with some in the Fortune 50. Many tout their Talent Management initiatives. Experience tells me that the internal presentations may be more impressive than the practical execution.

        Happy Ending: She started working at a global firm on a temporary assignment. She liked the  company a lot. They liked her work a lot. She's now a full-time professional there.

    If companies are waging a "War for Talent," then it would be useful to remember that wars are won by the people on the front lines doing their jobs--not in the staff headquarters or the PR office.

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    Add This To Your OE Toolkit

    Edelmanpioneer_thinking



    Pioneer Thinking models the kind of "pioneer" thinking that could help Organization Effectiveness.

    Are you looking for ways to introduce or support effectiveness in your organization?

    That was a cheesy rhetorical question. Of course you are.

    Since OE takes a systematic look at organizations, why not use all of the kinds of systems available in order to support your efforts. Or maybe you'll want to create a new one the way Edelman has so nicely done.

    I really like what they've launched at their Pioneer Thinking site. The portal combines employee blogs, podcasts, a news feed, etc. I have no idea whether or not the HR notion of organization effectiveness was included in their thinking. But I'd ask you to use a little imagination and visualize how you could use this model for your organization.

    Here are some of my thoughts:

    1) Their customers can tell pretty quickly what's going on and get a feel for the personality and energy of the company

    2). It's good PR. But it's also a medium for anyone involved in--or with--the company to hear what different departments and divisions are thinking and doing.

    3). It is easy to navigate and everyone can find a topic of interest somewhere on the page. Initiating a new program or some kind of change? It can be disseminated and discussed daily. Want to have people see or hear parts of a training program to get them eager to participate? Do a podcast and publish some feedback quotes. How about a quick survey? Do it here.

    It's obvious that a lot of thought and work went into this. There's also a lot of ownership as a result of the number of internal participants. If total organization effectiveness is your goal then I'd suggest you click, stare, and think hard about how a model like this could deeply impact your OE efforts.

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    Workplace Trends: What's the Buzz?

    PuzzledWe all know that it's healthier to live in the moment. But let's face it, the real buzz is always about the future.

    What do you think the future holds for work? What will it look like? What will the "issues" be?

    If you ever wonder about anything related to the above, I'd suggest checking out FutureMonitor.com . Here's how they describe their project: "Think of FutureMonitor™ as a virtual community of thousands of diverse contributors around the world who carry on a conversation about what’s next in business, science, technology, and policy. Together they--you-- continuously update the answer to the question, “What will business be focused on two years from now?. FutureMonitor™ is a first-of-its-kind global community, uniquely designed to capitalize on the collective intelligence and predictive capacities of diverse human networks--the “wisdom of crowds.” The emerging science of how these networks function has already shown that they can yield fresher, more accurate, and more useful intelligence than purely expert-driven efforts. The FutureMonitor™ experiment will push the science further."

    You can participate through discussion forums and surveys and have access to the findings. I like it because it's not focused on one particular country or market; it's truly global.

    What are the trend trackers saying?

    Tamara Erickson, one of the authors of the Harvard Press book
    Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills And Talent, testified before the U.S. Senate last year on workforce trends. What did she want to emphasize? Here are her main points as listed in the FutureMonitor forum:

    --The workforce is older, and limited in availability. There won't be enough workers of traditional work age to meet corporate needs.

    --The workforce will lack key skills
    , due to retirement of certain high skill workers already in short supply. "For example, the average age of petroleum engineers in the U.S. is approaching 54, while many of the oil companies still have lucrative early retirement programs that will allow these scarce resources to leave the workforce at 55."

    --The workforce will be increasingly diverse
    "in virtually every conventional dimension--race, gender, age, religion and cultural identity."

    --Corporations don't get "values,"
    which are radically shifting. "Corporations as we know them today are not well aligned with the values of many individuals within this century's workforce. Hierarchical structures, rigid job designs, unilateral employment relationships, and cascading decision-making are at odds with the idealistic values of the Baby Boomer cohort and the independence of cohorts to follow."

    --There's an "engagement" crisis.
    "[Research shows] today's workforce already experiences alarmingly low levels of engagement in work.... Only 20% of the U.S. workforce is currently significantly engaged in work."

    --Resulting trend: "Retirement" will end
    as we know it, "to be replaced by a more flexible view of work, intermingled with periods of leisure throughout all of adulthood. Already, 34% of all U.S. workers say they never plan to retire."

    --Resulting trend: "Fair, but not equal"
    treatment of employees will become standard. "Customized deals will be the norm.

    You can read the full article along with a lengthier interview at FutureMonitor.

    Take a look. And let me know what you see happening in the workplace of the future.

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