Performance He Created

Two and a half years ago, a group of HR practitioners and bloggers took a chance on me, this rookie blogger that was trying to find his place in the game. After only being in the HR social media space and blogging world or a few months, having anyone notice me, yet alone reach out to ask me to participate in anything, was quite the shock. Thankfully, along with a few of the other contributors, Chris Ponder decided that I would be a fit for the team at Performance I Create.

71775_440045768806_2649634_nI didn’t know what to expect, especially since I was the new kid on the block. To help ease me into the group, Ponder (as we affectionately call em) opened up every line of communication to me in case I had concerns, questions, or if I just felt the need to talk ideas through. His openness and his ability to come up with important, relevant and timely HR topics helped to provide a structure for me that I didn’t have at that particular time in my career, especially because of the what I was doing professionally.

Ponder’s ideas, organization and leadership helped me not only write my pieces for PIC, but for this site as well. Because of PIC’s structure, I learned that I could express myself in writing in both formal and informal ways. I believe that it was this balance that enabled me to make a little name for myself in the HR and social media space…growing ruHRelevant, networking with more practitioners at various SHRM conferences and ultimately becoming a “veteran” among our outstandingly thorough and thought-provoking troop.

I am happy that Chris Ponder is finally able to explore things now that he couldn’t previously because of his time commitment to Performance I Create, but I’d be lying if I said that his decision to move on from the site didn’t make me a little sad.

I find comfort now in knowing that the team that he helped to assemble is a determined and strong one…one that will take Ponder’s vision of Performance I Create and build on it. While we were working to improve performance in the workplace, Ponder helped to create performance in me as this site stretched me to do things I didn’t really know I was capable of. Because of the outlet he created, I know that we will continue to grow and Create Performance, 500-800 words at a time.

Please continue to support me and my PIC family at Performance I Create; as our best is definitely yet to come. Thank you to Chris Ponder for everything you’ve done for me, the Human Resources profession and the entire social media space and blogasphere!

#ThanksPonder

#CUPAHR14 Wrap-Up

There’s nothing I enjoy more than being able to hang out with and grow with my peers. The icing on the cake is when all of those peers not only work in my discipline, but in the exact same industry as me, Higher Education.

IMG_7767This was the case this past week as I attended the College & University Professional Association, Human Resources (CUPA-HR) National Convention and Expo in San Antonio Texas. More than 900 Higher Ed HR folk descended upon the Alamo to fellowship and grow professionally.

I had the pleasure as serving as the “Social Media” team and I was afforded the opportunity to host an event on the River Walk for Young Professionals. As a first-time attendee, I felt as if I blended right in and was able to benefit from every event and session.

Check out my Day One and Day Two blogs about the conference at the CUPA-HR site!

Special thanks to the staff at CUPA-HR for trusting me with their Social Media coverage and for believing in my ability to help make other first time attendees feel welcome. I’ll definitely be seeing you all again in Orlando next year for #CUPAHR15!

Virtual Gluttony and Cries For Attention

As a huge proponent of Social Media and all that is right with it and all the good that it can do, it also has a way of making us feel as if our life sucks…comparatively speaking. Especially when things seem to be going well for everyone around you but you’re stuck in neutral. Or even when it seems that everyone is bigger, faster and stronger than you and that it’s not even worth competing anymore.

ladiesYour connections are traveling the world, but two weeks ago they asked you for $20. “Friends” letting the world know that their kindergartener, middle-schooler or teenager is smarter than yours…God forbid we have “regular” “non-superhuman” children. Or the ones that are sooooo successful and inflate themselves online, because no one is doing it for them in real life. Then those that are online tough guys or gals but wouldn’t say a contrary word to anyone face-to-face. 

We all know them. And as much as those things frustrate us, de-motivate us or annoy us to a point that we obsess over what we aren’t and what we don’t have, we keep subjecting ourselves to more. We are gluttons for punishment and wait in line asking, “May I have more please?”. We can’t put our phones down and we have to see what people are saying. We can’t help it. We’re addicted to virtual realities. And we don’t feel validated unless we’ve hit a certain amount of views or “Likes”. I’m guilty too, so don’t think I’m preaching. 

“If you’re not trending, you’re not living.” – Society, 2014

So was the introduction of social media into our lives and workplaces really done to help it, or was it done because that’s the only way to communicate to people these days. Were we getting so few pats on the backs that we only feel good about ourselves when strangers click a thumbs-up bottom? Was its invention a matter of innovation or was it a matter of necessity, because no one knows how to converse anymore? I don’t know, we could Chicken or the Egg it all day long, but it is here and we have to be smarter with how, why and when we use it. Or just not use it at all. I’m perfectly fine with some people being banned. Because it’s those people that turn others off from social media and keep the people it could benefit away.

If Social Media is replacing the news and entertainment mediums, we should be able to log in and be informed and entertained, not made to feel like failures. We should be able to check statuses during a boring meeting without being surprised and embarrassed by loud, stupid videos of a fights, people twerking, or the latest challenge where someone is lighting themselves on fire, choking or giving themselves pneumonia. A lot of things can be kept to ourselves, and if it is really an accomplishment, we’ll get the accolades and recognition that we deserve when it’s time.  Give people a chance to tell you that you’ve done a good job, or that your kids are well-behaved…because when you beat us to it, you seem like a braggart and like you need attention from thousands of people that normally wouldn’t talk to you. 

Everyone doesn’t like to talk about themselves, and that’s ok. Some people like to let their work and efforts speak for them, and they shouldn’t feel like they have to keep up and advertise online just to be relevant. Tell a joke, share a real news story, share an entertaining kid story or ask for legitimate support (and tell us what the hell we’re supporting without us having to say, “What’s wrong?!?!). But let’s chill with telling people how great we are…because they actually know us. 

20140805-215920-79160132.jpgThe very tools that are supposed to connect us are actually causing resentment and reclusion. And once there’s resentment, we stop. We stop responding when you need help. We stop “Liking” when good things actually happen. We stop clapping when there’s been an accomplishment. And ultimately, we mute you. No more acknowledgement. And if we become starved of acknowledgement, Lord knows what app they’ll have to come up with to fill the gap. I’m actually afraid. 

 

Now What?

I am fresh back from a wonderful conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (LASHRM) and I am still pumped up and excited about my profession.

As I emptied my conference bag and began sorting through all of the pamphlets, pens and notes, I reflected and thought to myself, “Now what?”

We go to all of these conferences for development , fellowship, and to meet our Social Media peers and friends in person, but what good is all of that development and fellowship if the organizations that we return to don’t see and reap any benefit?

What are we going to do? What are we going to change? How are we better and will the colleagues we work with daily see it? Or are we just going to hoard all of the cool stuff we learned and keep all of the free pens and water bottles to ourselves.

I saw something special in that convention center, and because of that I’m motivated to share until my colleagues get tired of me.

I had the pleasure of working with my Performance I Create colleagues as the Social Media team for the event. We had a ball, sharing session content, promoting social media, blogging, etc. As the River Center staff began breaking down the exhibit tables and attendees were clearing out, we thought that our work was done. Just then a volunteer approached us and said that there were a couple of attendees that really needed to talk to us. Agreeing, a couple of us walked out to where our Social Engagement Portal was (that staff broke those tables down fast!) and we were immediately hit with a series of questions about how “Social” could help them in their workplace. They wanted to know how to move their thoughts from ideas to execution…and which tools and mediums would be best for what they were trying to accomplish.

connectAs we engaged them (my colleague did most of the talking, ahem), you could see light bulbs not only coming on but exploding. The concepts we spoke of were not complicated. They just needed some of that stuff that we teach and talk about to come off of the screen, out of the blogs and made plain to them in person…right there in their hands so that they could grab it and implement. What they needed was the knowledge that we had gained from doing…ideas that we got from conferences….strategies that we picked up from our peers. They needed it to make sense and tie in to what they were dealing with every day in their organization…and that if they had questions afterwards that they could reach out and get support.

“Don’t just help light bulbs come on, help them explode!” – Justin Harris, 2014

That’s what stuck with me. That’s what made me realize that it’s not that the people upstairs from me don’t care to do things differently, it’s that they don’t know exactly where to start. They have ideas, but they need help planning. Those of us that say we’re experts are needed to reach out occasionally and break it down for them. Because sometimes our messages are too big and they can’t run with that load. If we break the messages into manageable chunks, focus on process instead of the presentation, we’ll see more people grab hold and put the stuff in action.

So it starts in my shop. Being the change that I talk about and helping others to implement. Helping others to get involved and learn more about the tools of our trade. Because the Resources that we have are no good if we are not sharing them with other Humans.

To Your Network and Beyond

In March of 2013, my Performance I Create colleague Steve Browne wrote a post entitled “HR Evangelism”, charging those of us in the HR profession to “Push” and “Share” the good news of our HR community. I loved his post for so many reasons:

  • Because this type of “evangelism” is how I became interested in blogging and began incorporating social media into my practice of HR.
  • Because I love sharing thoughts and ideas; and we can ALWAYS learn from one another regardless of experience, title or perceived expertise
  • It encourages HR thinkers, practitioners, bloggers, speakers, and whatever other title there is to support one another’s work, projects, websites and endeavors.

One Step Further
One message I’ve heard at churches for years is that true evangelism goes far beyond the structure of whatever your church is. Think about it like this, in a church, most of the attendees already know the “good news”, they may just need reminders, encouragement or a different perspective. But recycling the message among a group of people who already “get it” only does so much good…especially when there are those that have never been exposed to the wonderful messages we all have to share.

I love blogging and expressing my thoughts and views via this site, but what good does it really do to only share my views to the people in my immediate professional network? One thing I hear all of the time is, “Hey UnlikelyHRGuy, my manager needs to read that post!” or “My friend/coworker was just talking about that issue!” The people who may really need the help or some enlightenment are those that may not be on social media or even know I exist!

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  • It may be the middle manager that doesn’t have the best example to follow
  • It may be the overlooked supervisor that has no idea how to effectively motivate his staff
  • It may be that recently promoted leader that has been given all of the online training and compliance webinars, but doesn’t know how to practically apply all of the stuff that’s been crammed in their head
  • It may be the employee at my dry cleaners or my barber or the lady in front of me in the grocery line that’s complaining about work

If our message is so good and if we love our profession so, why are we only sharing it with each other? How good is the news if the same 30 people are the only ones seeing/hearing it?

So in the spirit of Steve’s original charge to “push the great work” of HR, I want to add that we should not only push to one another but to those that we may not normally share with or touch often. We are not writing, speaking and teaching just to prove our value to one another! We expect people to actually use this stuff and to help multiple organizations grow and succeed.

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We must share beyond HR for our message to truly take root and change our workplaces. Take this and articles like it and share them with anyone that has a manager, is a manager, anyone that is looking for a job or needs help with a resume. Share with anyone that has had a bad day at work. Share with anyone that cares about how people are treated or anyone that has been recruited for a position. That means share with just about anyone over the he age of 16! For HR to be effective and for our words to resonate and create change in the workplace, we must share beyond HR and live the life we preach about.

You’re A Leader. Quitting Is Not An Option

Happy New Year!!!

I couldn’t think of a better way to begin the New Year than posting over at Performance I Create!

Over the holiday break, I became overwhelmed by all of the things I had coming up in the 2014 and contemplated quitting a few things. Here is a glimpse into the thought process I used in working my way out of the that stressful state.

Quit“Between juggling all of your tasks, everyone else’s responsibilities and then the occasional bout with self-doubt, leadership is tough! I wish I could tell you how to make it easy, but I can’t. You DO have to deal with all of those things and it IS tough. So how do you keep from running away?”

Please click HERE to view the remainder of the article and please share!

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!

Frankenmentor

Mentorship is so important in business, as one can always gain a wealth of knowledge from those that have been there and done that. From networking, to advice, to encouragement, these relationships can be mutually beneficial and educational for mentee and mentor alike.

Like any other business decision, these relationships must be kept in professional perspective and well thought out on the front end to help in avoiding disappointments from unrealistic expectations that we may have set.

Mentor Brain-Trust: Strength in Numbers
Being really successful in an area alone does not qualify someone to be YOUR mentor. To have a successful mentoring relationship, one must decide what it is about that person’s success that touches a cord with you?

Is it their business acumen that you admire? How they are able to quickly dive in and understand any given professional situation and help bring about a positive outcome.

Is it their ability to create and foster relationships? Do you admire the fact that they know no strangers and everyone seems to connect with them, love them and respect them.

Does their passion inspire you to be better and to do better? So much so that you want to study what they study, experience what they experience and go where they go.

Like every member of a team has their own unique strength, can we not have multiple mentors that fill our different professional needs based on their individual strengths?

20131102-164051.jpgIs it even possible to get everything you need from one person, or is it better to draw from the positive attributes of several that we consider influential or successful and learn for them all, creating a “Frankenmentor”:

  • One piece from the scholar
  • One from the business person
  • One from the teacher
  • One from the networker
  • One from the entrepreneur, etc.

…until we are mentee-illy complete. Not only learning different skills from each individual, but also learning how to manage multiple relationships in the process.

Pitfalls of Having Only One Mentor
Because we sometimes hold our experts and our mentors to such a high standard, we feel as if in order to be a mentor that they must be all of these things to us before we commit to learning from them. For this reason, many of us don’t have any one person that we consider to be a mentor.

When we believe in someone, it is easy to forget that the person we’re looking up to is a human being just like us. When our professional faith is wrapped up in only one person, we subject ourselves to disappointment when (not if) this person missteps, misspeaks or makes a decision that we may not necessarily agree with. Not because they are no longer any expert in their given field but because we put our trust in a gap that we weren’t originally looking for them to fill. And if one relationship fails, we are not left mentor-less.

“Being on a pedestal doesn’t exempt one from gravity.” – Justin Harris 2013

20131102-164141.jpgSo to maximize our mentee experience, it’s my opinion that we diversify, just like with any other investment and have several mentors. By spreading the educational risk around, we learn and observe each mentor in moderation, getting the best from each and forming a quality whole, ultimately learning several styles, techniques and philosophies to help us become even more successful in our given area.

Knowing exactly what we need from each mentor forces us to be specific in what we ourselves are willing to give to each mentor, so that realistic expectations can be had by everyone involved and the collaborative learning is directed, intentional and ultimately meaningful.