Monday, November 18, 2013


  I love Wikipedia. Excuse this deliberate love demonstration but I have to say, for me this thing is one of the biggest achievements of humanity. I wanted to read Goethe's Prometheus Poem and I found, once again, reasons to love Wikipedia more and more. Check this out, even if you are not interested reading the poem (although it is indeed an amazing poem, specially the last part). Isn't this astonishing?

Prometheus - Theodoor Rombouts / Royal Museum of Fine Arts Brussels
  Even if its not directly related, thinking about guilt, accusation, human striving is always inspiring to think on how corporations have been doing in the past and how they are trying to do today. 

  But this blog is mainly about HR, and I intend to keep things the way they are around here (by now) and that is why today I bring you a model, a typology on the perfect HR Manager. After finishing the book Re-inventing HR by Margaret Butteris these are some of the conclusions I came out from what CEO's and companies need from HR Management nowadays.

1. Structured leadership also in business matters. It is required HR has a wider impact and knowledge on business and specially the operational part of it to be able to adequate and reconcile the executive strategies with the company's specific knowledge management. At the end, provide the tools to help your human assets achieve the goals in a better and faster way.

2. Set up control and measuring strategies and mechanisms which permit measure and monitor the talent and the performance of their employees and this have to be dependent and specific to the role (competency models). Taking control of this patterns allow companies have a better leeway and knowledge on the relative causes of productivity and performance as well as executing as fast as possible compensatory plans (individual or team based development plans, redistribution of human capital...).

3. Promote the creation of company values that encourage a common culture and nexus that arouse a sense of belonging as well as nurture philosophies that cause positive impact attitudes in employees according to the interests of the company (increase productivity). The promotion of this enterprise culture align the individual interests with company interests.

4. Reduce the administrative tasks or even outsource them strategically to focus efforts and budget on the earlier points, which are focused on getting the most value from the specific human capital of the company.

5. Provide strategies, technical expertise and tools to increase flexibility and versatility, deal with ambiguity, conflict and change management... Ultimately to provide a human setting equipped to build a company ready to deal with dynamic and changeable scenarios.

6. Supply updated knowledge in human development, leadership and interpersonal savvy. HR should provide the company with the best practices that could allow a predictive framework on the upcoming endogenous or exogenous challenges.

Written listening to "Butthole Surfers - The Hole Truth... And Nothing Butt" album (Rate:9/10)

Friday, November 8, 2013


How does a messy corporation look like?

- Divergence between areas. There are places where energy and resources are being explicitly wasted.
- There is confusion, every leader, manager, director has its own perspective of what is going on. The culture of rumor has installed and there is little or no information.
- The leadership and the employees are highly reactive, they respond adversely to any new event or occurrence.
- There is neither intention nor purpose and the topics, decisions and actions adrift from one scene to another.

How does a fine-looking corporation look like?

- United. Leaders have learned to debate and solve openly and maturely their conflict and disagreements.
- There is common strategies, objectives and a shared operational procedure.
- Corporation takes the initiative and acts over the competitive setting.
- Employees and leaders actively take part of the corporation and they are fully engaged with the objectives.
- A common purpose sense is shared throughout the company. There is progress.

  So the question is, what do we change in "messy corp" to become "fine-lookin' corp"? First of all, we need to focus on identifying the underlying problems. But don't panic, these use to be quite predictable. Normally there can be identified 5 behaviours that need to be changed: Divergence, Reaction, Apathy, Inactivity and Drift. The leadership need to turn this trends into others.

  Once we know what to do... how do we end up changing things? Here are some proposals to get this trends swapped.

- Turn Divergence into Solidarity: Provide a more consistent understanding of what is the situation for the company, invest resources making sure everyone is in line with the company's point of view.

- Turn Reaction into Initiative: Define a well landed strategy based on specifics. Clarify how the company is expected to achieve goals with the given resources.

- Turn Apathy into Proactivity: Inspire the members of your corporation to embrace the culture of effort and illusion for achieving goals.

- Turn Inactivity into Activity: Mobilize your people to transform their resources into means to achieve the goals. Set the right expectations, reach an agreement and harmonize collectively the objectives.

- Turn Drift into Purpose: Spread the sense of responsibility through managers and employees. Everytime its possible, make them part of the decision making and strategy design so the sense of belonging flourishes among them.

  Important Note: Leadership is not something that one person is, leadership is a process, a social dynamic which is shared in a given context in a given moment. So we should stop talking about leaders as individuals and start talking on situational leadership. To know more on this topic read the super comprehensive Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory.

Written listening to "Mogwai - Kicking a Dead Pig" album (Rate:8,5/10)

Saturday, November 2, 2013


"And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very, very
Mad world"

Tears for Fears - Mad World

  I was thinking how mad the world turns when we are heading nowhere. Come on... I know it sounds lame but I'll get to a point, I promise :)

  As I was saying, everybody needs a direction to head on and this is something sometimes difficult to manage when you are leading a team. Some of the main responsibilities of a leader towards his teammates is to handle this individual development. But this is easy to say, now, how we can deal with this? First amendment of employee development: Everybody likes to feel special.

1. Assessment: Schedule a calendar in which you need to talk to your reports individually at least once in a month. Managing means having your ear ready to anything that could lead you to a better guidance with your teammates. To get the most productivity on your team you need to approach every member one to one first, make sure they are on the best possible role to help the group.

HR has to provide with specifically designed (together with managers) development plans towards a particular and measurable model of competencies. Define the necessary competencies by task, not only by role (this is a common error, in order to get the most from a team you need to go to specifics). Only then you will be able to identify the bias and develop the tools to face this better.

2. Open Cross-team Re-Recruitment Processes: Why not democratise the progress of your best talent? Make the measurements collective and accessible to all members of a group. Bring back the 360ยบ's. Make a culture on sharing best practices collectively.

I'm not saying anything new if I mention the sense of belonging is probably one of the most important engines of motivation any human being can have. Make all your team a participant of a process, specially when this internal promotion stays inside a particular working team. This will transgress the expected vertical secrecy through your company and will help building community feeling.

3. Founding Trust: As you can read in one of my previous posts, one of the most common causes of leaving the work is for trust between employee and company. When this divorce occurs, oh boy... Friedrick Nietzche said once “I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you”

If you re-recruit, if you promote your people instead of finding the resource outside, you will grow instant trust among everybody. But be careful, even though it is not your fav one, you need to base your recruitment process on pure meritocracy. Make objectivity and logic flourish in your company. Promote only the bests, but promote them, look what's inside before looking outside. This will help create a culture of competition and self-improvement.

4. Grow Culture of TalentTop Performers need excitement. They need to feel they are doing the best they can in the best place possible. Use your own talent development to convince others to embrace the culture of performance

5. Be the first to offer: You might not bear in mind that your best employees are being contacted by other companies several times a week. If you offer first the odds are high talent will stay in your company because of inertia.

6. Get out the rut: An employee excitement cycle is short. It's even shorter if this one is a top performer. Your talent behaves like the overexcited infant, once the sugar rush ends the kid crashes anyplace. Take control of this variable, promote the activity. 

  Some parts of this post were inspired by Dr. John Sullivan's (The Michael Jordan of Recruitment) article in TLNT.

Written listening to "Tears for Fears - The Hurting" album (Rate:8,5/10)