Time to stop talking about talking

Was listening yesterday, to the excellent radio show by Bill Kutik when he essentially asked “are people just talking about XYZ or are they really doing it“. 

Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that about HR initiatives I’d be on my way to a college fund for my girls (and if I had a quarter for every time I have said “if I had a nickel” I’d be five times richer but I digress).

I’d like to say here and now, that this is just not true.  In fact a lot of companies are doing and not just talking.    Here are some of the things that leading companies are doing.







If your company is not doing but just talking, I recommend you start talking about things you are doing or better yet, start doing the things that you are talking about.

Well done Sister Suffragette

In my family the women are taking over.  It happened on my mother’s side in her generation.  She had one sister.  On my father’s side it was my generation.  I have one sister and one [female] cousin.  My sister has two girls as do I.  

My upbringing was not particularly political, my general education on the US Constitution was pretty spotty as well.  In high school the “women’s issues” we tended to cover were around Nancy Regan’s wardrobe and if there was a discussion about the 19th amendment I do not remember it.  

I was not really aware that the ratification of the amendment was 88 years old this week until I hear about it on Twitter and I was surprised at the emotions that the topic has brought out in me.  As I consider the opportunities I have had in my life and those that are available to my girls I realize that in 1922 a challenge to a women’s right to vote was taken all the way to the Supreme Court.    I realize that when I gave my youngest the middle name of Cady it did not spark historical recognition in any member of my family, even my father who is a history buff, had never heard of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

So, for those of us educated in the US, or just not paying attention in our teen years, I found this timeline of women’s suffrage a good read, especially noting that there are entries as late as 2006.  I know that we have additional mountains to climb here in the US, in the area of equal and human rights, but I want to say thank you to those who have gone before me, providing opportunities I would not have had otherwise due to my unfortunate gender.

I also would like to give a hat tip to Mrs. Banks and the men who wrote the excellent song below.

We’re clearly soldiers in petticoats
And dauntless crusaders for woman’s votes
Though we adore men individually
We agree that as a group they’re rather stupid!

Cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sign in grateful chorus
“Well done, Sister Suffragette!”

From Kensington to Billingsgate
One hears the restless cries!
From ev’ry corner of the land:
“Womankind, arise!”
Political equality and equal rights with men!
Take heart! For Missus Pankhurst has been clapped in irons again!

No more the meek and mild subservients we!
We’re fighting for our rights, militantly!
Never you fear!

So, cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sign in grateful chorus
“Well done! Well done!
Well done Sister Suffragette!”

What I am passionate about [today]

Well of course you already know what I’m most passionate about.  Setting and achieving goals.   There is something in me that really likes a BHAG and then making progress toward it.  I also like smaller, more achievable goals.

The most obvious BHAG going on in my life, is the Fusion project, bet you want to know about it too!  But, of course, you aren’t going to hear about it from me, at least not now.  I do believe a day will come when I will get a chance to talk about it though, and that is what has created for me, a new passion. 

I have decided to get passionate about presentations.  Creating them, sharing them and learning how to better communicate.  Part of that thought process has me joining the TalentedApps Blog team and participating on Twitter.  I am also doing a lot of reading and observing.  I’m pretty good at following patterns, so I’ve been searching out people who I think are doing a great job and seeing what I can learn from them.  I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far and get some tips of great things I’m missing.

Some presentations I’ve found compelling

Some Blogs I’ve found helpful

The Executive summary seems to be

  1. Be passionate about your topic
  2. Tell stories don’t read to people
  3. Show images NOT bullet points
  4. Use a remote to advance your slides
  5. Invest in yourself and your material
  6. Practice

This is what I’ve learned so far.  I have been doing some experimenting internally, testing out what I’ve learned and the support I’ve gotten has been very encouraging. 

OK readers, what have I missed?  Sound off in comments with your favorite links and tips.

My next focus will be delivery so if you have any links to excellent delivery style I’d love to hear about that as well (preferably short ones as I am doing this in my “spare” time).

Think you are entitled to a promotion? Prove it

  Really.  I mean it.  Prove it.  And don’t attempt to give me a lame story about how Joe, who is way less qualified then you, got promoted and you didn’t.  The world is full of people who got jobs they might be questionably qualified for.  No one wants to hear about how unfair this is for you.  Seriously. 

If that’s all you got to prove you are entitled to a promotion, then go talk to someone who is legally obligated to be on your side.  It’s possible life is unfair for you, it is even possible you have a legal case but I hope you can do better then it’s not fair.  Maybe I spend too much of my non-working day with the pre-school set, but I can promise you that while I might be polite and listen to your case, what I’m thinking on the inside is nobody likes a tattletail or a whiner.

So what’s a person to do?  How do you make a case for promotion that is likely to get my attention, or even better garner my support?  Well this is not attempting to be a comprehensive list by any means, but here are some of my thoughts on the topic. 


  • A promotion is a campaign — treat it like one.  Respect the process.  It’s about you and how you are qualified.  So first start with getting together a good story about your qualifications.  Have examples.  Why do you think you are qualified for that job?  What evidence can you give to support your opinions?


  •  Being excellent at what you do is necessary but not sufficient – it’s not enough to be great at what you do today.  I’ll say it again, just because you have outstanding performance ratings does not mean that you should be promoted.  It just means you are good at your job.   I’m happy to give you a gold star for that, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be rushing out to give you a bigger role.


  • A promotion campaign takes time – it is insulting to the process to bring it up after it’s time to get one.  A promotion discussion is most effective before you are anxious for a promotion.  Ideally at least one year before, so that there is sufficient time for both you and your manager to plan and execute the campaign.


  •  Start building examples of how you are doing the next level job – it’s hard to argue if you are “ready” when you are already doing the job.  Be sure you are well aware of what the skills are for the job your want.  Know people who are excellent at that job and see how you can learn from them. 


  • Get the right people to support your candidacy – most promotions require the support of several people for approval.  Know what the approval process is within your company and make sure you have made appropriate connections with the people who matter.  They need to know who you are and they need to have a favorable impression of you, or they can present a roadblock to your career.

Of course, for you, it is less important what I think and much more important what your own manager thinks about this topic.  Have you talked to her about the subject?  If you haven’t I will have a hard time believing that you are seriously ready for a promotion.  Your career is your job to manage, expecting others to do it for you just proves to me that you are not ready.

Did I get it right?

I always take these tests thinking that there is a *right* answer, which I know there isn’t.  But this one did nail me I think.  How about you?

You perceive the world with particular attention to humanity. You focus on what’s in front of you (the foreground) and how that is affected by the details of life. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on humanity, you tend to seek out other people and get energized by being around others. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can’t control. You are highly focused on specific goals or tasks and find meaning in life by pursuing those goals. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.

Hat tip to Charlotte’s Web for the link.

Take your own: The Perception Personality Test at Hello Quizzy 

A culture of thanks

 Some time back, I  commented about the need to remove the sad chairs in building 300.  I happened upon one of many chair removal ceremonies a few weeks back, and I snapped this photo to share.  

Over at Fistful of Talent, they were discussing how important chairs are to innovation.  While my new chair is not the very fashionable lime green, at least it does not collapse when I sit down, and for that I am thankful.

This gets me to the point of my post.  I’ve been thinking for awhile about a culture of being thankful.  Really thankful.  Not just realizing that there are things that make me happy, but making sure to articulate them. 

I had an excellent discussion about this with a colleague the other day, about how some people are not comfortable being thanked publicly.  They might prefer private thanks.  Others want the world to hear.  So far I have never come across someone who would say that they don’t want to be thanked.  So as part of my personal goal of being openly thankful, I want to say thanks to my company for fixing the chair situation in building 300.

An unexpected side benefit for me, was the move from the 2nd floor to the 11th floor.  The 2nd floor in building 300 belongs to Apps IT.  While there are some excellent benefits to being on the same floor with IT, especially if you are nice to them, the floor did tend to look like the back of an electronic store and less like an office.  In addition, my office had a very large tree growing outside the window, so my view was obstructed.  On net, not an office to invite people to see.



As you can see, newly remodled 11th floor has a wonderful view.  In addition, there is new paint on the wall, new carpet on the floor and excellent chairs.  So thanks again to everyone who had a hand in upgrading our building.  I’m sure this has made me much more productive and innovative.

Want a seat at the table? Learn to write a business case.

At risk of repeating the sage advice of Kris Dunn, when it comes to getting a seat at the table it’s not just about sitting down, it’s about adding value.  From my safe place on the sidelines, working with HR Business leaders, I’ve come to realize that often HR leaders have great ideas on how to add value but are lacking the ability to gain support to make those ideas a reality.  The piece that is missing is the ability to write a solid, believeable business case that shows ROI.

Brushing up on your B-school business case skills will go a long way to making the seat at the table work to your advantage.   Do you know what the lack of your program is costing the business?  Can you articulate that?   


  • What is the cost when you don’t develop talent? 
  •  What is the cost of attrition?
  •  What is the cost of low engagement?
  • Etc.

What is the opportunity cost?  What opportunities is the business missing out on when they are not implementing your fantastic program?  These are the things you must be prepared to provide to be taken seriously at this table. 

As Row Henson has said several times, as a discipline, we need to move from I think and I feel to I know and I can prove. 

To be able to credibly provide a business case you need reliable data.  Therefore, in my mind, the first technology strategy item for an HR professional must be one that supports the goal of reliable and readily available data. 

Until you have a way to reliably make a business case, you will always be held back.  You can’t just be about cost, you have to be about opportunity and what works at this table is opportunity as measured in legal tender currency.