Archive for June 17th, 2013

I attended the opening session, keynoted by Hillary Rodham Clinton. I didn’t write it up immediately, as i wanted a little time to reflect, and also to report on the “buzz” that would emerge.

I expected a loud, positive “buzz”. Mot so. The buzz, while positive, was not loud. I guess it boiled down to a perception that it was a good, well researched presentation. Expectations were high, and Hillary did fine. Just not an earth-shattering keynote.

What did i scribble while she talked?

Compliments. “HR knows what it takes to provide workers with the flexibility to care for children and aging parents. You also know what must be done to provide affordable health care to everyone.”

Big applause on health care.

No remarks on run for prez – she sure looks presidential in sincere blue suit.

Pointed out big importance of womens issues in the workplace, globally.

The best part of the presentation was 10 minutes of Q&A with SHRM CEO Henry Jackson.

Key points:

1. We’ve got to fix immigration. We educate students and then don’t let them stay. It’s a key economic issue.

2. Leadership is a team sport.

3 You can’t win if you don’t show up.

4. A whisper can be louder than a shout

5 Follow the trend lines, not the headlines

In closing, CEO Hank pressured her to return to our conference next year. She sidestepped that one nicely.



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Lots of interest in getting my slides from today – i just had them uploaded here for your downloading pleasure:


Enter your email and help yourself. Call if you have any.questions…317-250-9081


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So the description of my presentation said “…strategic, not a discussion of the details of the PPACA.  Do not come if you want details.

My opening remarks were “Welcome.  This is not a tactical session that will include any details on the ACA, such as how to calculate the 30 hour rule.  If you want that, you are free to move about the cabin.”

10 minutes in I restated it in similar form.

Nobody left.  The session appeared to go well.

On the evaluation forms, there were several people who marked me down for not covering the PPACA in more detail.

Arg,  Clearly, we have an issue with listening skills in HR…

I'm not sarcastic, just trying to be honest...

I’m not sarcastic, just trying to be honest…

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On in 5 minutes

…and the room is filling. Cool!


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Halfway through the strategic HR presentation frim Willis, and a problem just popped up.

The first points from Jennifer Barton were fine – she pointed out that stategues are being updated every year, not five. True. She explained that HR strategy was nested into Human Capital strategy, all of which were nested into Organizatuonal Strategy. All fine.

Then Debbi Davidson took the podium and hit a few personal tripwires.

She defined a single type of “High Performing Culture”. A very “Theory X” style, as McGregor would say. Debbi drscribed high performing culture as “an agressive and deliberate effort by senior leaders to focus on results. Anything that is not producing results must be redesigned.”

Wow. I’m all for efficiency, but the metrics most senior execs use for measuring hr are way out of date. Problem.

Then, there was this: “High performing cultures have high engagement survey scores”.

In my experience, not so much. You get high scores from the content and happy mid-pack. High performers are often very entrepreneurial, pushing the envelope. See the problem? High performers do NOT score well. They are pushy critical thinking types.

Anyway, i need to end on a good note. The core message was good.

1. Do a total reward strayegy
2. Focus on a high performing culture
3 Get Learning and Development right
4 Workforce planning. Gotta look ahead
5 Rewards and Recognition must align with the vision

That’s the summary. Off to the general seasion with the guy from Tom’s shoes.

I want some Starbucks, but the line is long.


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Yesterday in the speaker check in room, several new speakers griped about a 7 am presentation time.

I assured them there was nothing to worry about. I was right. It’s 7:07 and the session i’m in is PACKED.

The seasion: The role of HR as a Strategic Business Partner. Some speaker from Willis. Will summarize content, if it’s good. Will leave if it isn’t.

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Sometime you can tell how something is going to go by the opening scene.  The first few moments of a presentation, the handshake at the start of a sales call, the opening game of a playoff series. (gratuitous Pacers reference.  Sorry.)

Chicago is going well in the opening scene.  Hillary at the podium, great weather, traffic fine.  I was feeling fine, but was hoping for some personal contact with key people in the future of HR.  With thousands on thousands packing the exhibit hall, what are the chances of hooking up with people on my “wish list?”  Slim.

Then, in 10 lucky minutes, the stars aligned at the SHRM booth.  Honestly, I was just stopping in to get some “HR Dude” ribbons for my friends.

There was Kathy Fyock, a fellow speaker at the Indiana SHRM conference.  Check.

She was talking to Gary Kushner, benefits guru, futurist, and friend that I was hoping to chat with. Check.

Behind Gary was “gasp” THE CEO OF SHRM Henry Jackson.  He’s a quiet CPA type that I have been trying to meet for a couple of years.  He actually is a CPA, so he’s earned the CPA look and feel.  I jumped at the chance – congratulated him on his role, and planted a seed for greater cooperation between SHRM and Finance.  I will be following up – this is a “next step” we need to follow up with.

This conference rocks!  More to come…

Karl, meeting the CEO Henry Jackson.  Nice guy..

Karl, meeting the CEO Henry Jackson. Nice guy..

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