8 Ways to Feed a Need and Stifle a Fear to Innovate from the Middle

Flight Attendant vs. Consultant

“They paid some consultant millions of dollars to figure out how to load this plane. They should have just asked me. I’ve been a flight attendant for 22 years.” I overheard this on a recent flight when the boarding process caused a traffic jam of people.

Office Managers vs. Corporate Headquarters

“They said they wanted to ‘empower us’ to come up with our own ideas for developing our agents, and so we did. We actually got excited about the opportunity to do something different, but when we submitted our proposals to them,...


Cool Tools HR Tech Wrap-up 2011

There I was, at a steak house on the Vegas strip, with 4 Brits and a German who couldn't pronounce Mojave.  They had, as I had, driven into Las Vegas from Los Angeles, through the mountains and desert, a couple of days prior for HR Tech 2011. 

That dinner was one of many highlights for me during a few days spent speaking at HRevolution and covering the HR Tech 2011 Conference.

I was very impressed with the unconference conversations and sessions at HRevolution.  The...


Experimentation and Discovery: How Science can Help you Transform HR

For being a profession with heavy detail and conformity requirements, I’ve always wondered why we aren’t better at using the rigor of science within our work in Human Resources.  It would seem to me that the structure and process of the scientific method would appeal to us since we spend much of our time working with structure and process all day long. 

And yet, when we look at how we approach our work in HR, there’s not as much science involved as there should be. Science, afterall, is really the practice of studying the nature and behavior...


The Future of the Evolving Workplace

Few would argue the pace of change is increasing, especially in business and technology, along with their impact on the workplace. Wise company leaders sense these changes, and adjust, adapt, plan and execute. Each day brings an evolving convergence of many external influences that shape upcoming days, weeks and years. The workplace is greatly impacted by this convergence of external influences.

In the past, employees resisted organizational change initiated by leadership. Now that technology is causing seismic changes in how, when and where we perform work, it is leaders who are resisting the evolving, 24/7, distributed workforce.



SHRM: October LINE Report

According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) Report, hiring will come to a near standstill and compensation will inch up during the month of October.

Employers in the manufacturing sector report a virtually unchanged annual hiring rate increase of just around 1 percent while those in the service sector anticipate a year-over-year 10 percent decline. 

Both sectors continue to report recruiting difficulty, which may be attributed to new or enhanced skill requirements for recently created high-level jobs. A net...


Profits Down? Your Risk Aversion May Be High.

There has been an astronomic increase in employment litigation. The result is that there is almost an apoplectic fear of litigation. Indeed, because the cost of litigation can be so high, sometimes we try to avoid risk at all cost.

But we cannot avoid risk. It is not a question of risk avoidance, but rather risk selection.

In my experience, here are the top three mistakes that are sometimes made in managing risk and can result in buying one risk to avoid another.

  1. Failure to distinguish between what is illegal and what has legal implications. 
  2. ...

The CEO's Epitaph

Memo To:         CEOs and Aspiring CEOs

From:               John Bell

Re:                   Your CEO Epitaph

If you are already in the C-suite, I suggest you take a moment to contemplate your epitaph. Will you be remembered as Jack Bighead or Andy Goodfellow?

Epitaph of Jack Bighead:

A master dealmaker, the tenacious Jack Bighead believed a good deal was one in which the other side got screwed. Over his highly successful career, he created hundreds of millions in shareholder value by acquiring,...


The Curse of Corporate Anonymity

Over the years I’ve received a handful of anonymous notes and letters while working at various organizations.  Scribbled on pages torn from legal pads or neatly typed and sealed in envelopes, the notes often lacked specifics and were furtively slipped under the door of the HR Department –

“Some coworkers who work in my department are doing things that go against company policy. 

I thought you should know.  Signed,  A Concerned Employee.”

It’s often a challenge to determine how seriously one should treat an anonymous complaint.   Is there enough information to launch an...


Executive Book Club: September 2011

Have you ever heard of a company like this? Or is this just a dream job? 

  • Pays new employees $2,000 to quit.
  • Makes customer service the responsibility of the entire company-not just a department.
  • Focuses on company culture as the #1 priority.
  • Applies research from the science of happiness to running a business.
  • Helps employees grow-both personally and professionally.
  • Seeks to change the world.
  • Oh, and makes money too . . .
  • ...

What Does the C-Suite Want From HR?

Over the next few weeks I’ll have the opportunity to speak with thousands of HR Professionals & Leaders in business. This week I will be in North Carolina and soon following in MinnesotaNew JerseyBahamas, as well as VenezuelaOrlando and Virginia.

Part of the conversation happening in this community is the relationship between the C-suite and HR.  Does the C-suite value the work?  How can HR bridge gaps to gain credibility, support, strategic influence and cold hard cash to make a meaningful contribution? What if the C-suite just doesn’t get it?