A #SHRM17 Interview with Valerie Grubb - Part 1


Valerie M. Grubb is the Principal of Val Grubb & Associates Ltd. which she founded after holding a succession of leadership roles within major corporations including NBC Universal, Oxygen Media, InterActiveCorp (IAC) and Rolls-Royce, plc. She is an innovative and visionary operations leader with an exceptional ability to zero in on the systems, processes, and human capital issues that can hamper a company’s growth. Val regularly consults for start-ups wishing to expand and mid-range companies seeking efficiencies in back-office operations. Her expertise and vibrant style are also in constant demand for executive coaching and corporate training. 

Valerie graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Kettering University and obtained her MBA from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Valerie’s recent book entitled Clash of the Generations: Managing in the New Workplace Reality (Wiley, October 2016) offers direction to new and seasoned managers on how to motivate and engage four generations in the office.

1.     What key highlights would an HR practitioner gain from reading your book?  

It's gotten way harder to lead the human capital functions in corporate America. More Boomers are sticking around than originally expected (and by 2020, 25% of the labor force will be over the age of 55) and we still haven't figured out how to cope with Millennials in our midst (although it's been 10 years since they showed up). To make things even more challenging, members of Gen Z are poised to enter the work force in just a few short years. With employees spanning four or five decades in the office, the stage is set for disaster for those companies still lagging in their ability to manage the new workplace reality.

Why does it matter so much? Every generation in the workplace has value; each has their own strengths, their own weaknesses, and their own unique talents. Each is indispensable, and when they come together as a synergistic force, they can be unstoppable. Effective management means bringing out the best in your workforce, and Clash of the Generations: Managing the New Workplace Reality, can help you streamline your varied workforce into a team more valuable than the sum of its parts.

This highly engaging and interactive book details the top management practices for overcoming the wildly different ideas between the generations about work ethic, work-life balance, and long-term career goals, among many other issues. Drawing on real-world success stories from small, medium and large employers, Clash of the Generations provides proven strategies that HR leaders can immediately employ to help new managers and seasoned leaders get the best performance from employees of all ages.

Just in case this is useful John, Clash of the Generations has received some outstanding praise by numerous senior leaders:

  • “Clash of the Generations offers insights into what motivates and engages employee of all ages. Whether you’re a new manager or a seasoned one, this book will strengthen your management game!” Marshall Goldsmith; Thinkers50 most influential leadership thinker in the world and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Triggers
  • “Having supervised junior employees to senior executives, I find Clash of the Generations to be the ultimate how-to manual for multigenerational managers.” Kathryn McManus; founder CNN Japan, executive consultant and faculty associate at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Clash of the Generations offers a fresh approach to the management book genre by drawing on Grubb’s expertise as a manager and business leader and her insights into meet the needs of all in multigenerational environments.” Dan Taitz; Chief Operating Officer, Penthera Partners and former Chief Administrative Officer, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

2.     Are there other key points from your session that you feel HR practitioners would learn from that are outside your book?

Actually I’m not speaking on the topic of my book although I will be signing books after all my sessions. I’m covering a wide variety of topics from soft skills (growing your career, influencing without authority) to hardcore technical skills (project management, negotiation) at this year’s Conference. I’ve actually been speaking at the SHRM annual conference since 2005 and I’m particularly excited to have four sessions this year: 

  • Saturday, 6/17, 1 – 5 pm: pre-conference workshop – Preparing to Lead: Critical Project Management Skills for the HR Executive
  • Sunday 6/18, 8 am – 12n: pre-conference workshop – Leadership Skills for the HR Executive: Mastering the Art of Negotiation
  • Monday 6/19, 4 – 5:15 pm: Influencing without Authority: 8 Steps to Get Results when You Don’t have Direct Authority
  • Tuesday, 6/20, 12:20 – 12:38 pm: SmartStage presentation – Grow Your Personal Brand – Grow Your Career

3.     What book would you recommend, other than your own, that HR folks would benefit from? It doesn’t have to be a straight HR book.

  • Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean, Karen Berman and Joe Knight
  • The Essentials of Finance and Budgeting for the HR Professional, Harvard Business School Press

Both are fantastic books on the dollars and cents aspect of HR.

4.     What speakers do you plan to see at SHRM17 and why?

I can hardly wait to see Kat Cole, Group President, Focus Brands. Her story is amazing and she is quite the inspirational leader. Other favored speakers (that I look for every year) include Steve Browne, Todd Hunt and Cy Wakeman. All are such great presenters – I want to see them for pointers on their speaking style(s) as well as their message(s)!

Both of Valerie’s books are available in the SHRM Store and she will be signing them on:

        Saturday, June 17 at 5:15 PM

        Sunday, June 18 at 12:10 PM

        Monday, June 20 at 5:30 PM

        Tuesday, June 21 at 12:40 PM



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