April 17, 2018 - No Comments!

April Newsletter: Artificial Intelligence and Business Intelligence with Gene Tange

Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence. It has leapt into the consciousnesses of many, including CEOs and today’s leaders. As it becomes a reality for many of us, there's been a focus on how to raise our workers' abilities to learn and improve. In the face of such a big change, how can we realize better outcomes, stronger growth, and the ability to compete for the best talent? The journey may begin by understanding the islands of disconnected data that exist within our companies.

With all the discussion about human and intelligent machines, I reached out to my friend and highly respected business owner, Gene Tange, CEO of PearlHPS. Gene’s company, based in the bay area, is a cloud-enabled predictive analytics firm shaking up how we predict the successes of teams. He helped me understand this arena and the technological and cultural accelerations occurring that will determine the winners and losers as we move forward.

Sherry Benjamins:  What are CEOs talking about in the context of BI/AI?

Gene Tange: Business Intelligence is the use of data to derive insights. There are some misused terms in AI. In order to simplify it, think of AI as a way to do research and build a capability which uses tools to look at data. When it comes to thinking about AI, I’m meeting CEOs who are in three camps. The first, which makes up about 70%, are listening and engaged in learning. There’s a 20% camp that's doing something about it; building an AI team, applying tools and looking at ways to strengthen business outcomes. And then the last camp, which makes up around 10% or less, are companies like Netflix or LinkedIn that are already transforming how their companies work. They're determining how to derive value to the business. This means improving revenue, net income or reducing cost.

SB: What attracts C levels to use AI/BI?  What are the applications?

GT: A joint venture between Avanade, Accenture & Microsoft produced a study of 500 business leaders looking at smart technologies that will deliver ROI and game changing solutions.  They talked about doing business in this competitive environment in three areas of impact: sales revenue, financials, and business execution.  This last category is where the people and human impact applications are studied.

CEOs know that most acquisitions don’t get the results they set out to achieve. Building human expertise inside their organizations is critical and the stakes are high to get this right. Five years ago we would have looked to the single individual leader to get the “execution plan” right.  Today it is all about a cross-functional team and their performance.

SB: How will CEOs prepare their organization for this new intelligent technology machine age? 

This is a massive challenge and demand is exceeding supply. Right now, there are over 10,000 openings in the US for Data Scientists yet we don’t yet have the capability to fill those needs. Our client, the CEO will look at where the biggest impact can be in his/her organization so that there is a prioritization of need. They will experiment with solutions that tackle a specific issue. Is there a tool that might advance a product release into a competitive market or accelerate an acquisition’s track record? It is easier to start in one segment and expand to other areas once there is success. A good example of one early introduction is the launch of Amazon Go's pilot store early this year in Seattle. It is the first semi automated retail store. No checkers or lines!  You take the product off the shelf and walk out and the application automatically charges your account. It also tracks inventory, buying habits and a host of other bits of information to make your buying experience better.

SB: How will HR move forward in this arena?

GT: The HR function is not moving as fast here as other functions. They have historically focused on tactical initiatives in Total Rewards, Talent Acquisition and Development. The cross-over to a business outcome with measurement on the impact to the bottom line will shift them from tactic to strategy. Teams are the source of most complex business outcomes. This seems obvious but it is a critical revelation. Data that provides insight into team performance in a predictive manner will change the conversation and credibility of HR. I see more CEOs looking at resource allocation and making sure that HR is focused on the core drivers of business.

Concluding Comments

Just a few years ago, who would have thought that data initiatives would have created platforms with tools that can talk to you or predict the operational success of a team launching a new product? Imagine the culture change in companies that are implementing these predictive execution tools that Gene has developed in his company. The good news is that this work will elevate our role and add value to the business if we boldly go into this future. Do you have an analytics function? Lead the way in this effort and reimagine your work. Ask the tough questions about your company’s readiness to compete and join the winners in this landscape.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Blog, Newsletter

April 17, 2018 - No Comments!

April Newsletter: Amy Sfreddo and the Importance of Social Capital

Companies growing social capital makes a Difference

Our community is known for its entrepreneurial growth in technology, life sciences, medical device, cyber security and more. There is another dimension to this growth which transcends across all business and that is “doing good” in the community.  As a Board member of OneOC, I am learning a lot about companies that are seeing bottom line results and improved employee engagement in doing good work and doing good in the community. I met with my board member colleague, Amy Sfreddo, Philanthropy Publications Director, at the Orange County Business Journal, to learn about her work and her leadership in how companies are getting recognized for their impact.

Sherry Benjamins: What led you to working with companies that embrace purpose?

Amy Sfreddo:  When I transitioned my business journal career from the bay area to Southern California in 2005, I joined the Orange County Business Journal with a primary responsibility of helping nonprofits with their marketing and donor outreach. Over time, I created and managed four different annual nonprofit publications to help build more awareness and support of the OC nonprofit community. My goal continues to be helping grow our impact and seeing the difference we can make in supporting community minded businesses and incredible non-profits in our county.

SB: Where do you see the greatest opportunity for impact?

AS: There are so many small to mid-size companies that see the power of engaging their employees in something greater than themselves. Some have CEO role models who know the value of connecting their mission to something bigger. In a strong economy like this one, having a clear “social good” platform to communicate gives your talent a reason to stay and/or join you. We know that the millennials place giving and volunteering high on the list of criteria when deciding where to work and what to buy. We see an opportunity in having a company start small and link it to their mission.

SB: How might a company build on its success and its brand in giving?

AS:  You can set goals that move you forward in volunteering or giving initiatives and measure results. Learn about the non-profit organizations in our 2018 Giving Guide.   Create the stepping stones for growing this effort, engage your employees, share the success and ultimately be recognized for your work. The Civic50 provides a platform for this recognition. This is our second year in hosting the Civic 50 awards luncheon in partnership with OneOC. It is an opportunity to recognize the 50 most community-minded small, medium and large companies in OC. Civic 50 is based on an on-line survey that measures dimensions like employee time, talent or skills, investment and leadership and allows a company to apply for this recognition and be considered for the award. The survey is open from 4/16 to 6/29. Those selected are honored at an awards luncheon in October 11, 2018 at Hotel Irvine.

If you are interested in learning more feel free to reach out to Tiffany Bogle at tbogle@oneoc.org or access the survey and more details at http://www.oneoc.org/occivic50.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Blog, Newsletter

March 22, 2018 - No Comments!

What is our weapon to successful candidate engagement?

It’s our creative and strategic approach to search marketing....something we have learned over 20 years of search and recruiting at the management level in competitive environments.  Supply of experienced professionals and leaders is limited and demand is growing.  How do we get a great talent to engage in a conversation?

 IT ALL STARTS WITH THE STORY

No matter how adept a recruiter is at finding and connecting with great candidates, they need a compelling story to tell that piques the candidate’s interest.  Since the best candidates are already employed (most not even looking for a new position), we have found that it takes much more than a company name, job title and list of qualifications to engage them.

This is why we spend more time on the front end of a search with a new client – taking a deep dive to better understand the culture of the company and the nuances of each opportunity.  We conduct interviews with key members of our client’s team to get at the  management style, respected values and critical characteristics of the role.  This allows us to create an authentic and compelling story about the company, the leadership and the opportunity. It helps us accomplish the following:

  • Engage the most desirable candidates
  • Allow the recruiter to better assess for best fit
  • Help set candidate expectations more accurately
  • Create an urgency and encourage a call to action

Use a quote from a marketing document or strategic plan. For example;

“We’re entering a stage of rapid and meaningful growth, and that’s where you come in.  We need your talent and expertise, and we need it now!”

BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME

When a candidate is approached by a recruiter, often times they want to learn more about the opportunity before committing to a conversation.  They’re busy, and while they might take 2 minutes to click through to a website in order to learn more, they may not want to spend 5-10 minutes talking to a human being right off the bat.  And lets face it, the most sought after candidates get a lot of recruiting calls.

Our first goal, then, is to pique their interest so they will engage.  We accomplish this by creating a “teaser” message that encourages them to view a branded microsite we create using the story content, allowing them to learn more.  Now they can peruse the opportunity at their leisure as their schedule allows.  Once there, they can also contact the recruiter directly through the website, while their interest is piqued.

Microsite, podcasts, interviews with current employees all add to a richer story about why talent might come work for you.  Let us know if we can help you build that story - you have the data and passion - we have the ability to transform that quickly into a unique message.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Uncategorized

March 13, 2018 - No Comments!

Sherry Benjamins on “Work ReImagined” for The Next Chapter Podcast

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Today Sherry and I will engage in a discussion on the dynamics of an entirely new concept of what the workplace and the world of work is going to look like in the very near future. In fact, many companies have already adopted or are in the process of adopting these changes.

The old idea of 9 to 5, show up at the office, do your delegated job and go home is quickly becoming outdated. There is a New Show in the world of Work and that’s what we will be discussing today.

It was an honor to be featured on an episode of The Next Chapter with my friend Charlie Hedges where we discussed the future of work. You can listen to the full episode by clicking on the PLAY button below or read more about the episode here!

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Uncategorized

March 12, 2018 - No Comments!

A talk with Brandon Moreno, President of EverHive: A New Blended Workforce is Here

A tidal wave of change is coming that will make the way we work almost unrecognizable. There will be new ways to organize, recruit and manage.  Imagine having a seamless blend of high quality workers who work, on demand, to fill the talent needs of your company as it grows and changes. In this new future, which has already arrived for many, you have mastered this worker challenge and have a strategy to manage it proactively so that trusted relationships are built with the best individual and team players. Getting really good at this is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.

Those leading business today must figure out how to deliver value with new solutions.  Research states that already 40% percent of our workers are “non-employee” and are flexible on-demand skilled resources. Work will be delivered via platforms, projects, gigs, freelancers and technology has empowered us to be creative and solution driven.

Brandon Moreno, former HR & Talent Acquisition executive, now president of EverHive, is clearly ahead of the curve and helping organizations build strategy, processes and technologies to manage this growing blended worker cohort like no other services firm. His bottom line results are impressive. I was intrigued to learn more about Brandon’s perspective on the future.


Sherry Benjamins: Brandon, What led you to this business? 

Brandon Moreno: I have been involved in HR since 1993 and learned a lot from the leading companies that I was able to work with. Working with these business leaders and executives, we saw early on that if we did not add value to the business, we would be relegated to a merely transactional function.

The playbook for Talent Acquisition had to change. I am passionate about educating clients and elevating the conversation and actions to be taken around flexible, on demand highly skilled talent. The growing space of contingent workers captivated my attention and I decided to build a capability and solutions model to help companies manage these non-employee resources with a line of sight to improving the bottom line.

Sherry: How can managing the contingent workers impact productivity?

Brandon:  First, the growth in this segment is taking companies by surprise.  There are many organizations that seem to be running this ad hoc or with little priority on the program. We are seeing more CFO’s and CTO’s involved in the discussion along with Procurement, HR and heads of Talent Acquisition. We start with a client by understanding their current state, analyze spending and then partner with them to map out their future state of their entire end-to-end contingent worker program.  The goal is to architect and design a program that is customized but also efficient, effective and flexible.  There are many factors that impact productivity and creating base line metrics to manage this program sets the stage for meeting worker demand.  My goal is to help the client establish strategy, elevate and optimize their contingent worker function, achieve significant cost reductions, enhance compliance and streamline process.

Sherry: Why should the CEO pay attention to this change? 

Brandon: If a company’s non-employee workforce spending is growing (and many are in the $10 – 400 Million range), this has significant impact on the bottom line.  Surprisingly, there are many companies that do not have a handle on this aggregated cost.  Talent is the number one issue that keeps most leaders up at night and it’s their limiting factor for growth.  I understand how hard it is to predict what will be needed as the business changes, however, without a forward looking plan or integrated forecast, the CEO is reacting to changing demands and ad hoc solutions.  The ultimate goal is for organizations to have access to on-demand and flexible workers to complement their overall talent acquisition strategy.  Not only will this have cost benefits to the bottom line, but it frees up current employees to be more strategic and elevate overall business operations.

Sherry:  When launching this business, what have you learned that you didn’t expect you would?

Brandon:  I am most surprised in seeing the difficulty and fear that HR departments have in moving this conversation into a managed solution for action.  I understand this is a challenging problem for business leaders. Their positive intention is to get the work done with resources available.  I can see they have significantly less patience now compared to one year ago.  The fight for resources and the right talent is more intense now and addressing this requires a new mindset.  I am surprised that many say this is urgent, yet they are slow to act.

I have also learned that building trust, educating our clients and introducing tools that will help them start this work makes sense for many.  Others feel the criticality of an enterprise-wide solution.  Sometimes we take small steps to get them onboard.  Even smaller firms who see this tidal wave coming are better to build the platform now and think about contingent workers and unique skills required rather than wait until it is an imperative.

Sherry: What advice would you give business leaders today as they prepare for 2025?

Brandon:  Step outside of the comfort zone. Look at the talent challenges holistically and as though you are already in 2019 or 2020.  I know contingent workers have been around a long time but the growth in demand is taking many by surprise.  Ask your executives including HR to look ahead and be focused on running the business in pursuit of better outcomes and a strategic talent plan that eliminates ad hoc problem solving.  Five years from now, contingent workers will expect to be integrated into the workforce – an extension of your culture with a unique set of rewards that includes interesting and fulfilling work.

Concluding Comments

Leading the work in the future will profoundly change the world of HR.  Work will be deconstructed and dispersed with rewards being more short term and individualized. The organization will have an internal and external, permeable structure.  Kate Kjeell, SBC’s Managing Director facilitates a group of TA leaders in OC from premier companies.  She noted that managing a contingent workforce has been the top issue TA leaders have struggled with for the past three years. Awareness of the size, cost, liabilities and opportunities of this workforce is a significant catalyst for change.

To learn more about this worker and workplace change check out Brandon’s site and feel free to speak with him. (800) 945-6340, brandon@everhive.com.

http://everhive.com/

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Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Newsletter, Recruiting, Talent Economy, Uncategorized

March 12, 2018 - No Comments!

A Strategic Connection: SBC & EveryBusiness HR Essentials (EBHR)

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When two companies share a truly unique approach to their customers and are committed to the people side of business, why wouldn’t they team up? This year, S. Benjamins & Company (SBC) and EveryBusiness HR Essentials (EBHR) have agreed to a strategic partnership.  We believe that growing our shared resources will benefit our clients and teams.  Through this effort we are demonstrating the importance of openness and agility needed in business today.  SBC and EBHR are practicing what we preach.

We help organizations attract and hire great talent.  In addition to “finding the one”, we expand the conversation to include talent strategy and solutions beyond a single hire.  Sonya helps her clients embrace customized HR solutions at various key stages of their business growth.  Neither of us are a “one size fits all” firm and it is an exciting time to combine forces.

As we advise our clients about what workers want today and how they will thrive, we see less importance on hierarchy and more emphasis on reciprocity and creative collaboration.

How did we pair up? 

I met Sonya ten years ago.  We were hosting a learning event for HR leaders in transition and Sonya had just returned to California from a successful mid-west entrepreneurial venture.  She was looking for that next opportunity and what author Jenny Blake calls, “the pivot” to something new.  The successful pivot starts with a foundation of core values and understanding your strengths.  Sonya was entirely grounded on that front and was in the process of creating a vision for another chapter of her career in HR.  As  years passed, we developed a great relationship and exchanged ideas about our focus on the human side of business.  When she was ready to leave the corporate world and start her own company, we met to talk about the entrepreneurial life, which of course included the risks and rewards.

What I observed was Sonya’s quiet transparency, business savvy smarts and genuine positive spirit.  She was and remains open, curious and authentic about what matters.  She places purpose front and center.  EBHR cares about community, giving, learning and bringing the best ideas to her clients.  Our team values that too.  Most importantly we both approach our clients with a kind of care and commitment that I find energizing.  Together our firms support On Demand HR, Business Essentials (Work Design, Talent Strategy and Search) and Learning Forums/HRoundtables.

Our Plan

Kate Kjeell, our Managing Director and I are excited about this change and partnership with Sonya’s firm.  We’ll continue to focus on talent strategy and management search. That means finding our clients great leaders (in HR, Sales, Marketing, General Management, Operations) or helping them build their own capability to do that for themselves. For the past twenty years, we have utilized a project on-demand business model to deliver candidates and fill key management openings.  We augment our client’s existing Talent Acquisition function in a variety of ways.  Story telling in search is a key differentiator of ours.  We use creative approaches to help our clients tell their story to ensure we “find the one.”  Video, podcasts, marketing micro-sites are an example of the ways we increase our response rate with passive candidates.  The goal is to develop a high quality pool of talent for our client’s immediate and future needs.  It is all about meaningful and ongoing conversations.  We hope to hear from you to learn what you are up to and how we can stay connected and continue to learn from each other.

You can learn more about us at sbcompany.net & everybizhr.com!

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Blog, Communication, Management, Newsletter, Recruiting, Talent Economy

January 31, 2018 - No Comments!

Leadership in the Future Turns Models Upside Down

It may be too late to catch up, as Bob Johansen, author of The New Leadership Literacies states, but it is a great time to leapfrog.  Looking beyond skills, Bob introduces us to the new literacies that are really a combination of practices and world perspectives.

We will not see predictability and volatility and uncertainty will prevail.  So, how will leaders prepare for this?  In the future, Bob maps out forecasting as a tool to look ahead and then back to prepare for changes that are coming.  He also introduces low-risk gaming (great chapter on gaming)  to hone our skills.  Personal energy will need to be high and this matches up with the emphasis these days on health, well-being and mindfulness.

As a search consultant, our role has been to find the talent that our client has profiled for success.  It can be a financial leader of HR VP.  There are often long lists of requirements as we launch a search and it becomes the challenge to triangulate hard skills, strategic skills and character for a gbob j picood fit.

Clarity will be king in the future.  I mean, if we are clear on who we are and what we value, and what our business is intended to deliver, this will serve as our guide in making decisions and evaluating talent.  Those long list of requirements will transform into a "top five criteria and deliverables" for success in your organization.  The hiring team will embrace that and use advisors or trusted talent evaluators in their company to keep the team headed in the agreed upon direction.  Then, we will start to see the old job posting and description become an artifact of the past.  The new mindset is select for potential and fit with both top fives addressed.  What was certainty in writing those old artifacts will shift and be "clarity" on what it takes to succeed and show up authentically.

Future talent will be continual learners, embrace challenge and lead from the edge of complex networks.  Bob says, hierarchies will come and go and "mutual benefit partnering" will take hold.  If a new leader needs an expertise he or she is light on, there is encouragement to partner inside or out.  Experimenting and learning will be a celebrated process for the best leaders.

It used to be that leaders needed to learn it all and know it all - that is gone in this future.  Now, we will be measured on how to nurture and develop shared resources and ourselves from wonderfully diverse networks.  Sound good?  Our development will be as good as our network is.  Our success will be based on how open our companies are about listening to and learning from our talent.  Are you ready to leapfrog!

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Communication, Management, Recruiting

January 10, 2018 - No Comments!

SBC January Newsletter — Joe Musselman – Learning about Leadership from The Honor Foundation Founder and CEO

January Newsletter:
Joe Musselman

 SBC January Newsletter — Joe Musselman – Learning about Leadership from The Honor Foundation Founder and CEO

Imagine what it’s like to be a Navy SEAL deployed in a country you probably

shouldn’t be in and conducting a mission that no one is supposed to know about. The amazing individuals from Special Operations are trained to do the impossible. We wouldn’t expect that someone with such a unique character and skill set would have any challenge in navigating a new career for themselves and their families?

These distinguished veterans live inside a standard that is exceptional in every dimension, yet when they move on to the next chapter of their life, they feel lost.  That is where The Honor Foundation comes in. I met with Joe Musselman, former Navy veteran and founder of this incredible non-profit organization that was specifically designed to serve the world’s most elite group of Special Operations Forces throughout their career transition. I learned from Joe that The Honor Foundation (THF) and its 15 week program (150 hours) is the most comprehensive career transition program for SEALS and Special Operators in the country.

I wanted to learn how Joe sees the leadership attributes these champions bring from their experiences and how he helps exemplary candidates chart a path to exemplary opportunities.

Sherry Benjamins: Joe, let’s talk about leadership.  What are the hard and soft leadership skills that you see critical in the future?
 
Joe Musselman: Frankly, hard skills are still important but becoming less relevant. The changes and pivots in business come without warning. In start-ups this is especially true. For example, there are multiple skill sets needed all at once. There's chaos, uncertainty, and adventure. One skill set is needed then another, and another, and these needs continue to grow. The individual must adapt and evolve their technical skills to leadership skills for those in charge of people, growth, and the vision of the business. Often the default is to find more technical skills but we know that as the company scales, the demand for balanced leaders who can inspire, coach and manage others is top priority.
 
SB: Why are soft skills even more critical now to success?  
 
JM:  Let me first say that successful organizations need to see themselves as technology businesses. This next wave of business is all about data, robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.  Wouldn’t you want your most ethical and courageous leaders surrounding this new technology? Wouldn’t this give you a competitive advantage?
 
Success means being adaptive and agile.  We developed an assessment alongside UCSD and Stanford that helps us understand these personal readiness capabilities.  Our Fellows who graduate our program have rich life experience, cultural and emotional intelligence, not exactly technical or hard skill sets – so we suggest that CEOs let go of the traditional resume screen and be forward looking about what it takes to develop their people.  It’s not always about the hard skills, but instead a candidate with a core set of values that matches the organization’s mission.
 
Our Special Operators are trained to execute without the benefit of ever knowing what’s next, and even with continual and extensive training, a Navy SEAL knows to expect the unexpected and always operate inside a framework of strict values and guiding principles. I ask CEOs, how often do they find someone doing the right thing when they are not present? It is not grey. This is a very clear-cut question. Are they hiring leaders that know what doing the right thing always means? The bar remains high and our graduates know that mission matters as they have lived it everyday.
 
SB: What is missing in leaders today
 
JM: One of our core values at THF is “practicing artistry.” We find people who want to change the world. We ask our Fellows to be introspective first and ask themselves, “why do you matter?”  This needs to be asked of each of us more often.  Each individual seeks to achieve their own definition of excellence and they are truly artists in what they do and practice each day in the Teams.
 
SB: Are your graduates experiencing positive corporate cultures?
 
JM: We are proud of a 92% fulfillment rate. So yes, there are companies that understand the values of authenticity, fairness and purpose. They were harder to find than you think! We have only had 4 out of 167 that transitioned jobs within their first year of employment. All four cited reasons surrounding poor leadership, lack of vision, and the behavior was not aligned with the culture.
 
SB:  What have you learned about yourself on this journey?
 
JM:  The number one thing I’ve learned, what we all have learned at THF, is simply “be you”. We help our Fellows understand that they have the ability to stop trying to “be a role” and focus instead on being themselves. I personally have learned that it is not a bad thing to be a people pleaser. THF would not be here if I didn’t have and own that DNA. I am committed to making our Fellows a wild success and I want them to be fulfilled and happy. Their happiness is my commission. Everyone is encouraged to be who they are and be unwavering in that truth. The impact our Mission has on the lives and families of our graduates is remarkable. At graduation last week, one of the Fellows came up to me and said, “Joe, THF changed our family tree.” What he meant by that is he would not have had the opportunity to attend a top MBA program, interact with CEOs as mentors, or consider six-figure salaries if it weren't for THF. This is why we do this work at The Honor Foundation.

 

Concluding Comments
Do you want to change the world?  Joe had me reflecting on this notion of thinking big.  He asks the Navy SEAL, “why do you matter?” They have life experiences that we may never understand and they face the reality of knowing why they matter every day. Yet, when asked as they consider a professional transition, it requires more self-reflection than first imagined.

We can all benefit by answering that question for ourselves. Courage is a word that the Navy SEAL knows well. He runs bravely into battle with all his heart. In fact, the French root of the word courage is “heart.”

David Whyte, says that “courage is the measure of heartfelt participation with life, with another, with community or our work.”  It means that we can consciously live up to or into the things we care deeply about.  To be courageous as a SEAL or as a caring committed individual in this world is to stay close to the way we are made. So, why do you matter?

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Published by: Corey Kachigan in Blog, Employee Engagement, Newsletter

November 22, 2017 - No Comments!

Can You Tell Your Story in Three Minutes? Absolutely!

Charles Antis, CEO of Antis Roofing invited an impressive group of OC leaders to an event yesterday (in their amazing Irvine headquarters) to learn from an accomplished and inspiring Story Teller.  Charles models the power of story and purpose in big ways for all of us. He generously hosted Jay Golden, Author, story coach and storyteller who showed us how to tap into our own stories so that they are retellable and impactful.

It only takes three minutes and within a very short time we were practicing our stories with each other.  Jay says, that "the ability to find, shape and share your own story - told one to one and one to many - is one of your greatest assets as a leader."

What is a retellable story?  Jay's new book introduces concept using a simple framework.  You would think that we know how to do this. Not really.  I learned it can be simple and yet powerful in creating connection quickly. It does start with us.  Our stories reveal a lesson that helps inform and inspire others.   Antis 2

At this time of  year, we often retell stories at family gatherings or create new experiences that become future stories.   It is not just simply a beginning, middle and end process.  There is more to it and I recommend getting Jay's book to dive into this for yourself and your team.

Stories matter today.  The human connection we make with a memorable personal story takes our relationships and engagement with others to a different level.  This takes us beyond the noise and data flying at us every day. I can see the direct link of story to insight and creativity. I am going to try this out.   Jay says in his book, "The twists and turns of the story draws us in, gives form to the journey and enables us to gain new understanding. The teller is the guide to that understanding."

The concepts fascinate me and I am going to reflect on the stories that have been meaningful for me so that I may share them, plant some seeds and see how they grow. Any one who references Joseph Campbell is my hero, Jay closes his book with a quote from Joseph, "The hero is the one that comes to know."  Bravo.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Communication, Employee Engagement, Management

October 14, 2017 - No Comments!

Are Robots Taking Over?

Some people think that dramatic improvement in robotics and AI puts us on the road to a jobless future.  MIT researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee say we are in the "second machine age."  It is true that many jobs will be at risk of being automated and it is happening right now.   It is true the workplace is transforming.  However, the job market does not show that robots are on the rise yet.  Our clients share that they see a shortage of skilled folks and not a labor surplus.  If automation to replace humans was really impacting us now, we might see more job turnover.  One study written by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation says that "levels of job churn are at historic lows."  Barcelona star sculpture

We can't deny huge changes in work, workers and the workplace.  I respect what exists today and look forward to having the influence to change everything.  This sculpture is in the harbor in Barcelona, called Miraestels.  I was just there and loved this inspiring structure - he is holding a hidden star behind and he seems to pose a question, and imagines a possibility yet he is awaiting a response.

We in the people business don't have to wait for a response.

To get at some of the workplace questions, we hosted Kevin Mulcahy, author of the Future Workplace Experience and Dean Carter, head of HR and Shared Services for Patagonia on October 3rd with 100 senior executives to ask questions and learn of their perspective on change.

One message was, "The strongest organizations today are learning machines."  That does not mean robots that learn, it means humans learning to leverage technology and be agile in the face of huge change.

There is a focus on productivity (app-ification) for almost everything, from performance, to how you give feedback, understand your talent and worker expectations as well as profiling success.  The majority of our attendees, who are senior executives in HR or Talent said that digital analytics and workforce analytics is the next big thing for them. Data is king.  But there was recognition that having a strategy and clear assumptions about change needed is essential.

Kevin Mulcahy says, "Pick your trends."  Make the case for change and articulate the assumptions around this before you leap ahead with analytics or how you want to transform the workplace.

There was also discussion about Recruiting and the automation that will allow greater efficiency and the ability to build eco-systems of talent that are aligned with the organizations values, purpose and career paths.  Dean Carter talked about building communities of people who might want to work with Patagonia but the company or individual may not be ready.  His company curates conversations with talent that shares their values and purpose driven culture.  He urged us all to think broadly about ongoing and continuous conversations with talent and why having a clear and compelling employer brand is critically important to answer  the "why work here" question.

Are you a workplace activist?  You need to be...the robot will not play that role at all.  We have the opportunity in the people business to be the catalyst for change and to speak boldly about the big bets for the future and what can be started now. Go to it.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Communication, Employee Engagement, Recruiting