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



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…

On in 5 minutes

…and the room is filling. Cool!


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 I’m all for efficiency, but the metrics most senior execs use for measuring hr are way out of date.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


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.

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..

“This is taking too long.  I’m bored.” – overheard from a participant in a recent 50 minute workshop

I just presented at a string of conferences and meetings, and a disquieting trend is headed our way.  Our collective attention span is trending toward a smaller number every day. Now?  10 seconds.  Soon?  Zero.

I would have said this is changing every year, but this is happening faster than that.  I’m well equipped to keep up, as I am probably slightly ADD, but it means we will have to shift how work is defined, and how people are a part of organizations.  It also puts pressure on me, the presenter, to keep moving, keep changing, and turning up the entertainment part of my platform skills.

We will also need to face facts – the speed of adaptive abilities will become a differentiator between organizations.  There are people who are not wired with short attention spans, and they need to be in positions that reward exactly that.  Every pot has a lid, and management will need to add attention span to the core competencies that fit modern jobs.

And, in the modern world, this is about the right length for a blog post.

Tomorrow, slightly shorter.

Back in the day, this was pretty high tech.  No auto correct, no cursor, and you had to THINK before you committed a letter to paper, as there was no turning back...

Back in the day, this was pretty high tech. No auto correct, no cursor, and you had to THINK before you committed a letter to paper, as there was no turning back…

I’m a slave to my pedometer.  News flash – moving around helps.
Begin wellness lecture:
Found a public transit study from 2010 – people who opted to ditch their vehicle and commute on light rail transit to work were 81% less likely to become obese. Another study looking at the same stats calculated the average public transit taker walks 8.3 minutes more per day than non- transit users.
I offer as evidence my dad.  He’s over 80, and kicking.  He has a better BMI than I do, and is frequent user of public transportation.  Also, eats healthy and reasonable portions.
End of wellness lecture.

OK, this is too good.

The AP has just aired some “dirty laundry” about management issues – no surprise there – but it is the organization that is unusual.  It’s an HR beef from inside Al-Qaida.

It seems a mid-level operative has been blowing off meetings, not filing expense reports on time, not answering the boss’ phone calls, yadda yadda.  As the story says, “After years of trying to discipline him, the leaders of al-Qaida’s North African branch sent one final letter to their most difficult employee. Most of all, they claimed he had failed to carry out a single spectacular operation, despite the resources at his disposal.

The employee, international terrorist Moktar Belmoktar, responded the way talented employees with bruised egos have in corporations the world over: He quit and formed his own competing group.”  You can read the whole letter here.  The photo below is purported to be the offending middle manager.

For those of us who work in HR, how refreshing to realize that global terror organizations are, in a very basic way, as human and flawed as the organizations all around us.



So, stress and depression are in the running for most expensive health problems based on behavior, right there with heart conditions.

May I offer a simple answer?  A balanced beverage recipe.  A kale/spinach/apple/citrus smoothie over ice, with a vodka chaser.

I call it the “Detox/Retox.

Mix.  Drink.  Repeat.  The waiter just walked away, shaking his head.