Every week I like to round up five blog posts that I found to be especially good reading over the past week. Below are five posts I recommend checking out from the week of June 21st - 27th, 2010. Enjoy!
Gina Trapani, Fast Company: Work Smart: How to Avoid "The Busy Trap" - In our work lives, there is the "perfect world" where we plan out our tasks and projects for the day and complete them one by one in order of importance, and then there is the "real world" where emergencies and interruptions are frequent and can easily derail an otherwise productive day. Gina refers to this as the "busy trap" and has some thoughts on how you can work smarter and avoid it.
Institute for Corporate Productivity: High-Performance Organizations View Interns as Long-Term Investments - Summer is here and if you work in a medium to large sized organization there is a good chance you are seeing a new crop of bright, young, smiling interns walking the halls and adding to the break room banter. While many companies use interns, some do a much better job than others according to a recent survey from the Institute for Corporate Productivity. I4CP points out that the highest performing organizations view interns as a great way to fill the talent pipeline and get a feel for future potential as opposed to a cheap way to tackle the "grunt work" nobody else wants to do.
Chris Ferdinandi, Renegade HR: 21 Random Ideas About HR - Chris has been doing some thinking about the human resources industry and has come up with 21 random thoughts (and links to several relevant posts) about what he sees happening in HR and how the function should contribute to its organization's performance. My favorite: #21 Great HR is about getting out of the way (and letting people do amazing things).
Nick McCormick, Joe & Wanda on Management: Play to People's Strengths - Chuck Martin stops by for the latest Management Tip Podcast to discuss how to manage more effectively by recognizing your employees' strengths and drawing on them as opposed to dwelling on their weaknesses and taking futile efforts to change what is not natural.
Michael McKinney, Leadership Now: 12 Leadership Guidelines for Leading Through Learning in Turbulent Times - Micheal provides an excellent review of the book Riding the Tiger that describes how an Indian software company was able to rebound and rebuild after a major accounting scandal by using a leading by learning strategy. Included are 12 guidelines for utilizing this strategy during any turbulent time.
Each Friday I like to feature a resource that I feel will help you in your quest to Maximize Possibility. Today I would like to highlight a great resource that comes out each month from LinkUp that will help you keep tabs on which direction the employment market is moving. Enjoy!
The Resource: LinkUp Monthly Jobs Report
What It Is: LinkUp is a job search engine that finds and displays employment openings directly from the career section of employer websites for companies of all sizes. Currently LinkUp is keeping tabs on job postings from over 21,000 organizations.
Using data from these employer direct job listings, LinkUp generates a monthly jobs report that highlights trends it perceives to be taking place in the job market based on the total number of current job listings found on company websites, as well as the number of new employment opening during the month. The monthly jobs report from LinkUp also breaks down the data state by state and provides the percentage change of both current and new job listings for each state compared to the month before.
Why You Should Follow This Report: I really like the approach that LInkUp has taken with its job search engine portal. The majority of employers use their website to post job openings and given the high costs of third party recruiters, online job boards such Monster and Career Builder, and the dwindling effectiveness of classified print ads, a company's website is the only place that many advertise their need for new employees.
As a result of this direct approach to keeping tabs on current job openings, LinkUp is in a great position to gather data from a massive sample of over 21,000 employers and provide a unique insight as to what is happening in the broader employment market as a whole. By going directly the employing organization, LinkUp is able to eliminate duplicate job postings, openings listed by 3rd party recruiters, and even fraudulent or bogus postings from classified sites such as Craigslist to provide highly accurate data in its monthly jobs report.
Here is how LinkUp describes the data used to generate its monthly jobs report:
"Because the index is updated daily and only includes job listings that are found on career portals within company websites, the completely unique jobs data is extremely reliable. There are no jobs from recruiters, headhunters, search firms, or staffing companies, and no scam jobs, phishing jobs, ‘money mule’ ads, or other fraudulent postings. And because LinkUp only indexes jobs from a single source – the hiring company itself – there are no duplicate listings that pollute job board aggregator sites such as Indeed and Simplyhired. Perhaps most importantly given the current high-unemployment environment in which companies are not compelled to advertise as aggressively in order to generate candidate flow for their openings, the jobs data is not based upon paid help-wanted advertising activity."
Bottom line, if you are in the talent management game in one form or another, it is important to have your finger on the pulse of employment market. While the poor economy and high unemployment may make finding qualified candidates seem easy now, that will not always be the case, and it is critical that you are aware of any signs of change that may impact your organization's talent acquisition strategy.
The LinkUp monthly jobs report is a great way to gauge employment trends both national, regionally, and at the state level. Head over and check out their archive of press releases that contain several recent months of jobs reports, and be sure to check back each month to stay atop the latest data and trends.
Now go Maximize Possibility!
Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend and a wonderful Fathers Day! As I like to do at the start of each work week, I have scoured the HR, talent management, and leadership development blogs to pick out five posts that I found to be particularly beneficial to help Maximize Possibility in your life. Enjoy!
Dan Bobinski, Workplace Excellence: Do Leaders Shape Cultures? - Dan muses over the interesting question of whether leaders shape the culture of their organizations or if the culture of a company shapes its leaders. Check out his post and see what you think.
Ann Bares, Compensation Force: Are Your Values Delivering Value? - Regular readers of this blog know that I am fascinated by organizational values and the role they play in establishing and supporting a company's culture; so naturally this post by Ann caught my eye. With a recent Harvard Business Review blog post by Rosabeth Moss Canter in mind, Ann has some great thoughts about an organization's stated values and whether or not they are used in a way that creates value for the company.
Steve Roesler, All Things Workplace: Ten Ways You Can Be More Persuasive - The power of persuasion is an incredibly important and often misunderstood professional skill. Regardless of job title or place of employment, your ability to persuade others to see and act on your convictions will play a big part in determining how successful you are in your professional life. Steve has ten great tips to help you be a more effective persuader.
Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership: Making the Move to Boss: Three Phases of Transition - Making the move to a management role can be a difficult transition for many people. Unfortunately a high percentage of new bosses are unable to successfully make this transition and in the process cost their organizations considerable time and resources and also incur a great deal of personal stress, frustration, and heartache in the process. Wally examines three transitional phases from individual contributor to boss and offers some suggestions on how you can make this transition more successful for yourself and those around you.
Bob Sutton, Work Matters: The Best Bosses Are The Most Self-Aware - Self awareness is one of those "soft" skills that can be difficult to define, but is nonetheless important to one's professional success. Bob feels that this is especially true when it comes to leadership and managing others and points out that the best bosses have a good understanding of what it would be like to their employee, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to adjust their management style to compensate for this. On the contrary, bad bosses often live in a "fools paradise" of self oblivion that ultimately damages the performance of their team. Check out this great post for more of Bob's thoughts on self awareness and leadership, as well as a couple of great links to additional reading on this important topic.
Happy Friday! It has been a while since I shared a good book with you, so today I would like to feature a great one I recently read that has provided me with a fresh look at the way I approach many of the tasks and projects that I encounter on a day to day basis. Enjoy!
The Resource: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
What it is About: As its title would indicate, this book is of course about checklists. However, don't let that scare you off or lead you to purchase the book as a sleeping aid as it is far from dull or boring. In his book, Gawande explores the practical and powerful uses of checklists and how they can help to ensure that even the smartest of individuals avoid making simple mental errors that can often lead to catastrophic failures. Drawing on his experience as a surgeon and his involvement with the World Health Organization's efforts to improve the safety and success rates of surgical procedures across the globe, Gawande shares a collection of fascinating stories of how checklists have been and are currently being used to prevent simple errors from derailing many of the highly complex projects and operations that are common in today's society.
In a very surgical manner, Atul examines several different situations where proper checklists were able to contribute to a successful outcome such as the "Miracle on the Hudson", the construction of large commercial buildings, and of course in the operating room where a simple checklist was able to remind doctors of what they already knew they should be doing, resulting in thousands of saved lives by preventing central line infections.
After illustrating the clear benefits of using checklists to prevent simple errors, Gawande goes on to describe how to implement them into your professional life.
Why You Need to Read This Book: As I mentioned above, don't be put off by the title of this book and its seemingly drab subject matter. The Checklist Manifesto is one of the more engaging and enjoyable books I have read in some time.
As I read this book, Gawande's writing style and natural story telling abilities very much reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell as he masterfully intertwined a handful of unrelated vignettes to paint a greater picture of how and where checklists can benefit our lives. Gladwell must have been impressed by the book too, as he wrote an exclusive review for Amazon.com which also choose The Checklist Manifesto for its book of the month in December 2009.
My biggest takeaway from this book (and my biggest surprise as well) was that checklists do not automatically equate to a rigid and a robot-like workplace. Instead they simply ensure that the things we already know should be done get taken care of and in doing so reserve our brain power for more complex, creative, and unstructured tasks.
After reading this book you will quickly start to see tasks and processes in your work environment that could benefit from a checklist procedure. I can personally say that implementing the theories in this book have helped to simplify some of the work tasks I approach on a regular basis and allow me to rest worry-free knowing that I have not forgotten anything important, but seemingly simple.
I highly recommend that you put this book on your reading list. It is a quick and engaging read, and I am confident that you will walk away with a new perspective on how you approach many of the regular tasks you face in your organization.
Focus on the positive. When faced with a situation that seems dire - focus on what you can do - not what you are unable to do.
It was another action filled week in the HR, talent management, and leadership development blogosphere, but I managed to narrow all the posts down to five that were especially good reading. Here are my top blog picks for the week June 7th - 13th, 2010. Enjoy!
David Zinger Employee Engagement: Engaging Questions: A Free Employee Engagement E-book - David and the folks at the Employee Engagement Network have done it again and released another great e-book on improving employee engagement. This time they challenge you with a powerful collection of questions that are sure to get your wheels spinning about the importance of employee engagement in your organization. It is hard to beat a free resource like this, so go check it out!
Tom Peters! Leadership: Building Success - In the latest installment to his Little Big Things series, Tom shares a great lesson learned from RE/MAX founder Dave Liniger about the importance of working to help make your team members wildly successful in order to best serve the customer. Watch the video here, or feel free to download the PDF transcript.
Heather McCulligh, Halogen Software Talent Management Blog: Why You Need a Strong Talent Bench - Most leaders and executives would strongly agree that an executive succession plan is critical to an organization's continued success. But what about the positions left vacant by individuals moving onto more senior roles? Heather explains why it is important to have a strong talent bench throughout the organizational hierarchy.
Sharlyn Lauby, HR Bartender: Examining Employee Turnover - As the economy shows signs of stabilization and recovery, the issue of employee turnover is creeping back into the business conversation. Sharlyn has some great thoughts to keep in mind as you look at the rate of turnover in your organization and reminds you that things are not always as they seem on the surface.
Tim Sanders, Sanders Says: Don't Take Your Employees for Granted! - In a nice post to read in conjunction with Sharlyn's post above, Tim points out that we aren't operating in Q1 of 2009 anymore and that fewer and fewer employees are willing to stick around in a job working for a boss they can't stand. His words of advice: "Whatever you do, don't take your people for granted."
Every Friday I like to pick out an online resource that has been valuable to my own professional development and share it with the hopes that you will have a similarly positive experience. This week I have a great management blog carnival to share with you. Enjoy!
The Resource: Management Improvement Carnival
What it is: The Management Improvement Carnival is similar to other blog carnivals that you may be familiar with (e.g. Carnival of Human Resources or Leadership Development Carnival) in that it features a collection of blog posts from various authors that relate to given subject matter. The Management Improvement Carnival naturally features posts on how improve your management skills and systems within your organization, but also has a special focus on how this can be accomplished using lean management practices such as Kaizen, Six Sigma, and even Hansei.
Why You Should Check it Out: The format on this blog carnival is a little different than other carnivals I have visited and been a part of. In lieu of taking submissions from bloggers wanting to participate in the carnival, it is actually up to the host to pick the posts that he or she would like to include and feature. As hosting duties are regularly passed between bloggers, this format affords an excellent opportunity to discover new authors that have influenced the host's own writing perspective that you may not have otherwise heard of or come across.
I really like the carnival's focus on lean management techniques, which I feel is especially relevant in today's tenuous business environment as all of us can afford to seek out additional operational efficiencies via lean management processes.
The Management Improvement Blog Carnival was started way back in 2006 by John Hunter of the Curious Cat Management Blog and just recently celebrated its 100th installment, which I feel is a strong testament to the quality of this blog carnival and the content it shares. You will also enjoy that the carnival is held three times each month, so you will always have a steady stream of great management improvement blog posts to read and learn from whenever is convenient for you.
Ready to improve your management skills? Head over to John's blog and check out the archive of previous blog carnivals and be sure to tune in every 10 days (or thereabout) for the latest installment of the Management Improvement Carnival. And, by the way... while you are at John's blog, be sure to check out all the great content and articles he has to offer and congratulate him on the 100th installment of the carnival he started back in 2006!
Happy Monday! You may or may not be aware that the Maximize Possibility blog recently had the privilege of hosting the June 2010 edition of the Leadership Development Carnival. Given this special occasion, I thought I would change things up a bit with my weekly Fab Five blog picks and feature five posts that I especially enjoyed from the Leadership Development Carnival. Enjoy and be sure to check out all the other great posts that were included in the carnival!
Heather Stagl, Enclaria: 3 Traps That Keep Change Agents from Getting the Support They Need: True agents of change are a special thing to find within any organization. As dynamic as these rare individuals are, they still need support to bring about positive change that will benefit their organization's culture and bottom line. Heather clues us in on three traps that can keep change agents from getting the support they need.
Jason Seiden, Fail Spectacularly: 16 Rules for Giving Feedback - Providing feedback is arguably one of the most important duties a manager has when it comes to optimizing the performance of their workforce. However, it is often one of the most difficult things for many to master. In fact some even recoil at the thought of holding a difficult conversation with an employee whose performance is below expectations. Jason provides 16 rules for providing feedback to help you with this sometimes difficult part of your managerial responsibilities.
Mary Jo Asmus, Aspire Collaborative Services: 10 Things That Will Foster Safe Conversations - One of the most important things a manager can do when communicating with employees (especially when giving feedback) is to keep conversations "safe" to promote an effective exchange of ideas and information. Mary Jo has an excellent list of 10 things you can do to foster safe conversations with employees in your organization.
Bret Simmons, Positive Organizational Behavior: Want Your People to Care More? Help Them Perform Better - Bret feels strongly that there is simply no substitute for performance and no substitute for caring. Furthermore, he finds that the two are intricately connected, suggesting that without the ability to perform at a high level an employee will not have the capacity to care. Want your people to care more? He suggests starting by helping them perform better.
Utpal Vaishnav, Utpal Writes: Contribute Beyond Your Title With Assumed Responsibility and Take the Right Decision - Utpal shares a great story about a project manager named "Peter" who handled a difficult situation with integrity by assuming responsibility and leading beyond his official title.
Hello and welcome to the June 2010 Leadership Development Carnival - it is an absolute honor to be your host!
This month's edition features an excellent collection of 34 blog posts aimed at helping you become the best leader possible. Without further delay, let's get to it!
Miki Saxon presents brilliantly-powerful thought regarding the "real alpha male", who to trust, and who to follow.
Stephen Warrilow presents How To Manage Change - Putting It All Together posted at Change Management - Practical Strategies For Success, saying that in the current economic climate, all organisations are experiencing the impacts of change and many could now benefit from the practical knowledge of how to lead and manage change.
Eric Klen presents The problem with being positive posted at Dharma Consulting.
Dan McCarthy presents A View from Inside the Leadership Pipeline posted at Great Leadership where he provides a summary of research from CCL and his recommendations on how to manage high potentials.
Gilda Bonanno presents Dress Rehearsal for Your Presentation posted at Gilda Bonanno's blog. Gilda thinks that public speaking is an essential success skill for leadership development yet many aspiring leaders still struggle with it. This post explains how to conduct a dress rehearsal of your presentation so you can avoid preventable glitches and prepare for potential obstacles.
David Zinger presents Zinger’s 5-Item Employee Engagement APGAR Pulse Assessment posted at David Zinger Employee Engagement.
Wally Bock presents The Perfect Leadership Book for You posted at Three Star Leadership Blog saying that you'll search the stores and online sites in vain for the perfect leadership book. But don't despair.
Nissim Ziv presents Teamwork Motivation: How to Motivate a Team? posted at Job Interview & Career Guide, saying that as it can be hard to motivate yourself, motivating others can be even harder. How would you inspire people to work together for a certain goal?
Utpal Vaishnav presents Contribute Beyond Your Title With Assumed Responsibility And Take The Right Decision! posted at Utpal Writes where he shares a great story about a leader beyond his title who chose the road less traveled by assuming responsibility and making a difference.
Heather Stagl presents 3 Traps that Keep Change Agents from Getting the Support They Need posted atEnclaria: Change Starts Here.
Steve Roesler presents Managing: You're Still In It Together posted at All Things Workplace where Steve has a reminder for managers about how to be a successful.
Richard Cummings presents Project Management: Creating Self-Managed Employees posted at Richard Cummings where he talks about how to create self-managed employees and motivate them to get the job done by having the employees tell you what they are going to get done.
Matthew Alberto presents How to Have the Self-Confidence to Change the World - Social Business Tipsposted at Matthew Alberto .com. Matthew suggests that building self-confidence is so significant if you’re wanting to create and build your social business. And it is significant if you want to be changing the world.
David Burkus presents The Hawthorne Studies posted at LeaderLab where David explains the Hawthorne studies and how they changed management/leadership thinking.
Jane Perdue presents Tea Stains, Blind Spots and Simple Pleasures posted at Get Your Leadership BIG On!.
Michael Lee Stallard presents Summer: A Season to Connect posted at Michael Lee Stallard.
Bret Simmons presents Want Your People To Care More? Help Them Perform Better posted at Bret L. Simmons - Positive Organizational Behavior.
Nick McCormick presents What?s on Your Plate? posted at Joe and Wanda on Management. In this ten minute Management Tips Podcast, Nance Guilmarten, author of the Power of Pause, offers up her work prioritization technique.
Tanmay Vora presents Building a Culture to Promote Differential Thinking posted at QAspire Blog by Tanmay Vora. Tanmay feels that the ability to think differently and bring out alternative perspectives is one of the most important leadership skills. This post offers some very practical ideas to build the culture of differential thinking. A useful post for leaders at all levels
Jason Seiden presents Seiden’s 16 Rules for Giving Feedback posted at Fail Spectacularly!. Jason feels that most advice out there about giving feedback is, frankly, wrong and he's got the real deal skinny.
Mike Henry Sr. presents Impossibly Good posted at Lead Change Group - Helping Leaders Grow Leaderswhere he says that self-leadership is the first step in maximizing influence and possibilities.
Bill Matthies presents Problem Assessment posted at Business Wisdom: Words to Manage By where he points out that you can't solve problems if you don't understand what they are.
Charles Chua C K presents 10 Instant Productive Working Habits posted at All About Living with Life.
Lisa Rosendahl presents Employment Law and Leaders posted at Lisa Rosendahl.
Eric Pennington presents Situational Mentoring posted at Epic Living - Leadership Development Career Management Training Executive Life Coaching Author where he illustrates the importance of finding the right type of mentor for your specific need and how to avoid the perils of engaging in the wrong type of mentoring relationship.
Alice Snell presents Develop, Engage, and Retain posted at Taleo Blog - Talent Management Solutions.
Sharlyn Lauby presents I Don’t Know About That posted at HR Bartender where she reminds us that part of being a leader is not turning a blind eye to questionable behavior.
Benjamin McCall presents The Problem With 2 Ears... posted at ReThink HR.
Mark Bennett presents It can happen to you? posted at TalentedApps where he shares the story of how Dreamworks found talent in a surprising place.
Elyse Nielsen presents Creating Performing Teams is Key posted at Anticlue suggesting that in order to be a successful manager, you have got to be able to create performing teams. You can have a list of initials after your name detailing certifications, accreditations, or titles but without an understanding of how to establish an environment where collaboration and self-motivation are a part of the team's culture - you have just met the Peter Principle.
Mark Stelzner presents Twitter 101 for HR posted at Inflexion Advisors.
Mary Jo Asmus presents Ten Things That Will Foster Safe Conversations posted at Aspire Collaborative Services.
Jennifer Miller presents Redemption posted at The People Equation.
Working Girl presents Diversity and good management posted at Working Girl.
Kathy C presents Four Similarities Between Dog Training and Employee Management posted at The Thriving Small Business where she illustrates the similarities between managing employees and concepts used in training dogs.
That is all for this installment of the Leadership Development Carnival. A big thanks goes out to Dan McCarthy for sharing the hosting duties! Be sure to tune into his blog next month for the July edition of the Carnival of Leadership Development!
Each Friday I like to feature a resource that I feel will help in your quest to Maximize Possibility in your life and in your organization. This week I've got a fantastic monthly newsletter that plays into the old adage that happy cows produce more milk. Enjoy!
The Resource: Fresh Milk newsletter from Contented Cows
What It Covers: There is an old saying that happy cows produce more milk. Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden have taken this bit of wisdom and applied it to the workplace. Their philosophy is that happy employees take pride in their job, produce more, deliver an exceptional Customer Experience, and ultimately add more to the bottom line.
This newsletter seeks to achieve the aforementioned benefits of a happy and engaged workplace by providing you with an excellent and actionable talent management article each month that will challenge you to change the way you think about work and the way you manage within your organization.
As there is no shortage of opportunities to reap the benefits of a happy workforce, the topical subject matter of this newsletter is almost limitless. However, I have found that Bill and Richard write especially well thought out articles in the areas of leadership, communication, employee retention, performance management, cultural change, employee coaching, and talent management.
Why You Should Check It Out: First off, let me start by saying that I absolutely love the mission and purpose that Bill and Richard bring to their newsletter and organization: Creating Great Places to Work. It lets you know their heart is in this business for the right reasons, and in many ways this newsletter reminds me why I started The Rainmaker Group back in 2001: an unwillingness to accept the status quo of today's workplace and an intense desire to make it more inspiring and rewarding for both employees and managers.
The Contented Cow Partners have been producing this newsletter regularly for over five years. In fact, they have been providing Fresh Milk to managers and leaders to help improve employee engagement long before the phrase reached buzzword status.
The articles in Fresh Milk
are timely and relevant to the major issues facing today's workplace and will leave you with a fresh perspective on how you approach your job as a manager or leader in your organization and how your actions affect your workforce (and ultimately the Customer Experience). I am also confident that you will appreciate the clear and concise writing style that Bill and Richard bring to their newsletter that is easy to follow and typically devoid of management buzzwords and HR jargon.
If you recognize the importance of having an engaged workforce of "contented cows", I cannot stress highly enough that you check out the Fresh Milk newsletter and subscribe today.
Now go Maximize Possibility!
Happy Tuesday and welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day! Here are five great blog posts to kick off this shortened work week. Enjoy!
Daniel Thomas, Personnel Today: Social Media Benefits are not Reaching HR - There is little doubt that the emergence of social media has the opportunity to impact the future of the workplace in deep and powerful ways. However, a research survey by the Melcrum Consultancy reveals that only 11% of respondents felt social media has helped human resources to be more effective. Read the article to find out some possible reasons why...
Frank Roche, Know HR: 10 Things Every HR Practitioner Should Know About Social Media - In light of the report from Personnel Today, Frank has a little straight talk about social media for HR folks. Check out his short and powerful post for 10 things you need to know about using social media. My Favorite: "be prepared to talk to actual employees".
Bob Sutton, Harvard Business Review Blog: 12 Things Good Bosses Believe - If you've ever visited Bob Sutton's Work Matters blog you likely noticed a manifesto of sorts that resides in the left hand column and shares 17 things that he believes about the workplace. In a great post for the HBR blog, Bob puts himself in the shoes of the boss and identifies 12 things good bosses believe.
Evan Carmichael: The Top 50 Human Resources blogs to Watch in 2010 - Evan has put together a great list of HR related blog posts that you should be following in 2010. Check it out to see which of your favorite bloggers made the list and to discover some great writers you may not be aware of.
Dan McCarthy, Great Leadership by Dan: Are "Classic" Management Theories Still Relevant? - The world of management is a fascinating one that never seems to be in short supply of new theories, best practices, and of course the occasional fad. Over the course of time some of these theories have come to be considered "classics", but are they still relevant or just the stuff of management lore? Dan has some great thoughts on this intriguing question.