My buddy, Chris Bailey, from the Cayman Islands called me and said, “Hey, I’m helping out with this HR thing called InnovateWork. Will you come on the event and do a talk?” I ask, “How long?” He says, “9 minutes.” I say, “9 minutes! I can definitely talk for 9 minutes!”
Great question, but I have a way that I think we can discover who is great in your organization! Yep, in 9 minutes I’m going to teach every single person on the webcast how they can discover who is great in your organization No technology needed. I’m not selling anything. Well, I’m selling you a great idea and an exercise that your leadership teams will love!
In 9 minutes I’m going to actually walk you through the exercise that you can then take back to your own organization and use! It’s simple but powerful, I’ve literally done this in organizations and had people crying!
Come check it out! It’s an hour or so out of your week, and I guarantee you it will be worth it!
One of the great things that blogging about recruiting and HR topics over the past decade has given me is a bunch of international friends and contacts. One of those friends is the founder of Recruiting Brainfood, out of the UK, Hung Lee.
You won’t find a nicer dude, doing great work for the recruiting space around the world. If you haven’t heard of the Player’s Tribune, it’s a sports website where instead of journalist writing, it’s the athletes themselves. You hear very personal stories from the athletes in their own voice.
Hung had the idea to do this for our industry (The Recruiting Brainfood Tribune) and he asked me to do this for his site through answer a series of twenty questions. I hope you like it, and make sure you subscribe to Hung Lee’s weekly Recruiting Brainfood newsletter – it’s exceptional!
Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?
Ruth Kemp, high school English teacher. She forced us to journal, and this was in the 1980s! So, each day we had to just write for 20 minutes a day. Write about anything, but you had to write even if you just copied text from a book or magazine. The cool part is she would read everything you wrote and respond with comments. So, even though I didn’t want to write, I loved her reactions to what I wrote! For me, it became a game to try and make her laugh or be shocked. She was smart and playful and always played along with my creativity. She taught me that I actually loved to write, I just didn’t know it. I ended up being her teacher’s aide for my junior and senior years. We would talk for hours about anything and everything.
She retired years ago, but when I wrote my book, The Talent Fix, I wanted to send her a copy because she was really the reason that it happened. I found out, through the school, that she was doing some volunteer work at the local airport assistance desk with some other senior citizens. I fly a lot, so I thought eventually I would run into her. One night on a last flight of the night coming into the airport at almost midnight, I finally ran into her on her very last day of volunteering ever. It had been 30 years since we had seen each other (she totally looked the same!). I walked up to the counter, and she asked me if she could help me. I said, “I’m Tim Sackett!” and she replied, “Of course you are!” We hugged and shared stories, and it brings tears to my eyes as I write this that I could see her one last time and let her know what a dramatic impact she had on my life.
At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?
I don’t think my wife thinks I’m an adult yet! I tell people I was raised by all women. My Grandmother was the matriarch of our family. She had five daughters, my mother being the oldest. The first grandchild in our family was my sister. I was the second. My parents divorced when I was four, and my grandparents help raise me a lot, being that my Mom was a single parent working a ton launching her business that I currently run. My grandfather passed away when I was twelve. At his funeral, I was sitting between my Mom and my Grandmother. My Grandmother leans over during the service, puts her hand on my knee, and whispers into my ear, “You are the man of the family now.” I’m quite sure I wasn’t an adult at that moment, but it definitely shaped so much of my life moving forward! To this day, I still hold the title as the senior-most “blood” male of our family, and my 90-year-old Grandmother still expects me to be the man of the family.
What do you think is true that most people think is false? What do you think is false, that most people think is true?
I think if you fail a lot, you are more likely to keep failing. Our society tends to believe the opposite. Fail more! Fail faster! It’s all bullshit. I coached baseball, and if I had a…
I love this concept. It feels hopeful and aspirational.
I don’t do this enough. I don’t count myself as a dreamer, but I encourage my children to do this. I want them to be the MLB Shortstop, the famous Fashion Designer, and world-renowned Environmentalist. They have Gigantic dreams.
I will do everything I can in my power to help them reach those dreams. I tell myself I won’t be the parent who tells them they are unrealistic. I won’t be the parent to tell them they are far-fetched. I will not be the parent to tell them that their dream is out of reach. I have to keep telling myself this because as a parent it’s hard.
I have a career that has taught me to be pragmatic. I’ve seen the best and worst of people, sometimes all in the same day. When people ask me for career advice I give them the safe answer because I know the reality of life, their dreams are longshots and most people are not willing to come close to the effort they need to exert to reach their dreams.
So, I give them options I think they are willing to work for which are usually less than Gigantic.
Every day I have to consciously turn this off as I drive home. You see the reason we have dreams is that we have a belief that there is something more, something better. Dreams can be Gigantic and you reach them through Gigantic effort.
In 1942 Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist, was taken to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents. Three years later, when his camp was liberated, his pregnant wife and parents had already been killed by the Nazis. He survived and in 1946 went on to write the book, “Man’s Search For Meaning“. In this great book, Frankl writes:
“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.”
What Frankl knew was that you can’t make happiness out of something outside yourself. Riding the Waverunner doesn’t make you happy. You decide to be happy while doing that activity, but you could as easily decide to be angry or sad while doing this activity (although Daniel Tosh would disagree!). Frankl also wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
I get asked frequently by HR Pros about how they can make their employees or workplace happier. I want to tell them about Frankl’s research and what he learned in the concentration camps. I want to tell them that you can’t make your employees happy. They have to decide they want to be happy, first. But, I don’t, people don’t want to hear the truth.
Coming up with ‘things’ isn’t going to make your employees happy. You might provide free lunch, which some will really like, but it also might make someone struggling with their weight, very depressed. You might give extra time off and most of your employees will love it, but those who define themselves by their work will find this a burden.
Ultimately, I think people tend to swing a certain way on the emotional scale. Some are usually happier than others. Some relish in being angry or depressed, it’s their comfort zone. They don’t know how to be any other way. Instead of working to ‘make’ people happy, spend your time selecting happy people to come work for you.
In the middle of a concentration camp, the most horrific experiences imaginable, Frankl witnessed people who made the decision to be happy. Maybe they were happy to have one more day on earth. Maybe they were happy because, like Frankl, they discovered that the Nazis could take everything from them except their mind.
Provide the best work environment that you can. Continue to try and make it better with the resources you have. Give meaning to the work and the things you do. Every organization has this, no matter what you do at your company. Don’t pursue happiness, it’s a fleeting emotion that is impossible to maintain. Pursue being the best organization you can be. It doesn’t mean you have to be someone you’re not. Just be ‘you’, and find others that like ‘you.’
My local news station is doing just positive news for one of their half-hour shows on Thursday early evenings. I’m a cynic, I suspect it’s a play to grab ratings on a low ratings time, but you know what? We could all use some good news!
So, I sat down to think about all the Happy things that are going on that I could share. It’s not easy! There’s so much negative, I can’t even with the news anymore, but here goes:
Have you heard about this? A bunch of celebrities are auctioning off stuff and they’ve tried to make it inexpensive so everyone can have a chance, not just rich folks. So, you can be in Kevin Hart’s next movie and get the chance for $10 to put your name in the hat! Or Justin Beiber will come to your house and sing a song! You can play in the NBA Celebrity All-star game, etc. The entry fee for each is just $10 with all proceeds going to provide food for those affected by the pandemic. I’m obsessed with this, I want to do half of the stuff!
Hourly Workers Getting their Do!
To be honest, I’m not a giant fan of everyone calling themselves heroes. I like to save the “H” word for those who really put their lives on the line for my freedom and safety on a regular basis. All that said, hourly workers usually just get dumped on with crappy pay and crappy jobs, and right now many of those folks are holding this country together. I was in a gas station today and the lady in front of me was running a laundry mat and she said, “I’m an essential worker! I’m needed right now!” Yes, you are my dear! Get all the feels you need right now!
Family Tik Tok Videos!
They are corny. Some funny. Some not. All of them are families doing stuff together and I quite frankly think it’s awesome. Even those where they are just having their Mom or Dad hold the camera. At least you are finally doing something with your teenage kids! Family Tik Toks and Puppy Tik Toks, keep them coming. If you haven’t downloaded Tik Tok, it’s 99.9% stupid short videos and every once in a while some pure gold.
Conversations at the Dinner Table!
Yep, we are all sick of each other by this point, but in a couple of months, I have had more real conversation at my dinner table than the combined past two years! That is awesome and makes me smile! My wife and I are actually getting tired of cleaning up after dinner because it’s happening every single night! I have boys so you usually don’t get a lot of conversation anyway, but it turns out if you actually sit down every night, they start talking.
The Return of Civility!
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like everyone is a nicer right now. I mean I guess any of us could kick the bucket at any moment so we tend to just be a little nicer to each other. Of course, early on we were all fighting each other for toilet paper, but once we got settled in I think people are truly caring about their neighbors and community. Even in my work interactions, everyone seems to be really concerned for each other’s safety.
I like thinking Happy Thoughts. I’m reminded of a great quote by Viktor Frankl:
Okay, if you’ve been working at home for the last month or so, you’re getting bored with video conferences with your team! You’ve also probably heard of some Zoom meetings getting “Zoom Bombed” by folks outside of your organization that figured out your public link and come in cause all kinds of havoc.
I want to Zoom Bomb your weekly team meeting! But not to cause havoc, but to just have some fun and talk shop!
Most of us set up weekly meetings with our teams. The same day, same time, same meeting link. It doesn’t have to be Zoom, could be Web-ex, Bluejeans, Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams, etc. The key being you have a normal meeting where you talk shop with your team.
I think it would be fun to drop in on some of your meetings and shake things up! So, let’s play! Here’s my promise to all those leaders out there that might have interest:
I’ll be fully dressed.
I’ll be as professional as I am on this blog. That means no porno images or hate language! I might bash the University of Michigan if you consider that hate language please don’t invite me! 😉
We’ll have some fun and learn some things, and I’ll try to help you out.
I will not tell you if I’m coming on or not!
Are you interested in having me Zoom Bomb your Team?
All you need to do is send me a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you have an interest. Give me the day, the time, and the link for your meeting. Also, tell me who’s on the call and what you guys usually get on the call for.
I mean what could go wrong!?!
Like, please don’t send me a link to your meeting and then decide to use that meeting to lay off your entire team! I mean, while I would have a great story to share, I’m not sure your team would really appreciate that! Or maybe they would, no judgment!
I hope to see a bunch of you by surprise over the next coming weeks!
The stock market is in the crapper and everyone’s 401K took a hit that will take years to recover, so how can any of this be great!?!
Oh, just give me a minute to explain…
Yeah, it sucks! I mean panic in the streets sucks, I just lost my retirement condo in Boca sucks! I’m trying to make light of a bad financial situation. Oh wait, I kind of am.
The reality is we all put ourselves in this situation. We gambled. We put our money into mutual funds and 401Ks and other investment vehicles and we loved watching them gain money for the last ten years! Since the great recession, the S&P 500 has tripled! If you got in early, you’ve seen your entire retirement increase substantially from where it was.
Good news, bad news. It sucks we are all taking this hit, but we’ve had a great ride up! Plus, it will ride up again, for those who have a few years. For those who don’t, I’m very sorry, truly. It’s a great lesson for us all that as we get close to retirement, get the vast majority of your money out of the market and into much more conservative investments.
So, what about this nightmare do I think is great?
1. GenX lives! It’s too late for the Baby Boomers, they’re out. The Millennials thought they were on the cusp of taking over, well sorry, kids, Daddy isn’t leaving just yet! Thanks to the market fall, Gen X is here to stay for another decade and the Millennials looking to take over as leaders are just going to have to sit back and relax.
2. Retirement is Boring! I know you wanted to retire. It seems so great sitting around Florida watching your friends get older, sicker, and eventually die. Look, you get one run around this rock, why just stop, let’s keep this thing going! There isn’t one part of me that is looking forward to retirement. What am I going to do, sit home and watch crappy CBS cop shows? Nope, apparently, I’ll be getting a second job to help pay for the food bill with all my Gen Z kids at home that can’t find jobs.
3. Being Poor is a Great Diet Plan. Do you know no one has ever written a diet book about not having money and how it reduces your caloric intake? It seems like someone would have ‘scientifically’ picked up on that. Ugh, I lost most of my retirement in the stock market, now I have to stop going out for the nice 3,000 calorie dinners at the Applebee’s! America is way fat! LIKE WAAAAYYY FAT! We all need a diet. To feel a bit hungry again. We’ll all be tougher for it!
4. I’m buying great companies at a super discount! I’m a conservative gambler. I only like winning! Do you know how you win? Buy great, profitable companies, at 50% off and double your money in a shorter period of time! Now is not the time to be gun shy. This will be one of the top 2 or 3 buying opportunities in the history of the market!
I know, there is a portion of folks who will read this and think, “Tim’s an asshole!” How can he say this!?! He has no empathy! (Editor’s Note: Tim is an asshole.)
We all choose to react to tragedy in different ways. This sucks. This sucks for me and my family. This sucks for my business. This sucks for you. We can all agree on that. I also need to move on. To move forward. We did that after the great recession and we were stronger for it. We’ll do that again.
I’m not an alarmist, but this Coronavirus thing is getting serious!
While this isn’t a big deal in the U.S. I respect the fact that the CDC and WHO are telling us all we need to get prepared. That Covid-19 is going to have an impact on our daily lives. In HR, we tend to be the ones who are responsible for the preparation of stuff like this in our organizations.
So, what should you be doing at your company to ensure your employees are safe and you stay Covid-19 free!?! (Editor’s Note: Tim is not a doctor or a medical professional, his advice might actually kill you. Continue reading at your own risk.)
#1 – The Fist Bump!
The what, what!?! Shaking hands in the U.S. is still a thing. You know I like hugging, but holy crap, a really good hug could kill a person nowadays! That being said, I’ll still be hugging, even if it kills me. I’ll die happy. There’s actually research, from the American Journal of Infection Control, showing that a better greeting to limit virus exposure is a Fist Bump! By the way, a wet handshake or sloppy cheek kiss is definitely going to give you the virus!
That’s right, just a quick fist bump if you must have physical contact with the person you are coming into contact with. Also, stop wearing the masks, there are also studies that have shown those don’t actually work at all and you just creep everyone out!
#2 – If you are sick, don’t be a hero!
Cue Enrique Iglesias Hero song…Tim whispering “Let me be your hero…” Was there anyone sexier when that song came out and he’s in that stocking cap!? And that accent! Stop it. I’m straight and I’m fairly sure I thew my boxers on stage.
Look if you’re sick, DO NOT come to work. But my boss thinks I’m faking!?! Look, if your boss thinks that, you’ve probably given them a reason and you should be worried. Still don’t come to work and kill our entire company, you moron!
#3 – Cancel your travel to the hot zones!
No, that’s not the Cayman Islands! Yes, it’s quite temperate there, but we’re talking about traveling to places where they have known outbreaks. Next week isn’t the time to “get back into” China! “Hey Billy, buy a ticket! We’re heading to Wuhan!” Traveling on an airplane is one step away from patient-zero on your best days. I’m fairly certain I’ve had patient-zero sitting behind on three flights already this year!
If you do have to fly to the non-hot zone, be smart. Dudes! Yes, I’m talking specifically to you. I see you in the airport bathrooms taking a leak and then walking out without washing your hands! That is beyond gross! It could kill you! Two words – Antibacterial Gel! Use it. Wear it. Gargle with it! (Editor’s note: Do not gargle antibacterial gel, Tim is an idiot!).
I’m going on record right now that this entire Covid-19 thing got started by dumb dudes who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom.
So, what have we learned today?
– Fisting good.
– Enrique sexy.
– Dudes are gross.
Stay safe out there my friends and get prepared! This is not a warning!
Remember back when you were in elementary school and your mom or dad would take you to the store and you would pick out your box of Valentine’s to give out at school? You had to make one of those little ‘mailboxes’ out of shoebox so everyone in your class could drop off one, and then you would go home after school and analyze each one like the Zapruder film!
Did Amber make me her ‘special’ Valentine or did she use a generic message card on me!?! Why did Jill put a ‘heart’ on top of her “i” to me? Why did Billy give me the card with kittens? Oh, the humanity of trying to figure out who loved you through the meaning of store-bought valentine cards!
Talk about stress! I’m not sure a kid goes through something more stressful than getting down to those last two or three cards and having to decide which crappy card you have left to give to the school bully so you don’t get beat up!
Thankfully, we are now all adults! Now we just have some weird or creepy person at work who believes they are in love with us and also believing that Valentine’s Day is the day they should profess this love! I’m going to make it easy for you, weird, creepy peeps! I’ve been there. I’ve been in love and struggled for the right gift! No worries, I got your back:
1. Their favorite work-appropriate drink. That special someone likes Starbucks double-shot, low-fat caramel mocha whatever, get them one! If you don’t know their drink order, you aren’t even trying to be a proper crush! This says, hey, I like you, but I’m not a completely insane stalker. Drop it off and be casual, and just say, “I got you your drink, wanted you to have a good start to your valentine’s day”, then walk away, don’t make it awkward!
2. Something sweet. Candy, cookie, cupcake. It’s traditional. It’s thoughtful. It doesn’t have to be consumed immediately. You can drop it off when they are at their work station or when they aren’t with a little note. Don’t be weird and make some creepy note (“I got you something sweet because I bet you taste sweet!” Vomit!)
3. Flowers from Anonymous. If you really want to win the day. Send that special someone flowers, but make it anonymous, and keep it anonymous! The great thing about the anonymous flowers is that person will talk about it all day, if not longer. The downfall is they might assume they came from the person they are really attracted to and that person might not be you! This doesn’t work if you’re already “kind of talking” to this person.
4. Jewelry! Kidding, don’t ever give jewelry to a co-worker that you are not romantically involved with! This is super creepy! Plus, it’s poor taste to do that level of gift at work. Only give jewelry to that special someone when you’re alone. Those idiots who propose to their special someone in a public place should be shot.
5. An invitation. You don’t know until you know…The reality is we all want to be wanted, but they might not want you, or they might. An email that says, Happy Valentine’s Day! I would love to take you out for a drink or dinner or a coffee. Let me know. Big risk, big payoff or big rejection. But, it allows the person in their own space to make a decision. If you don’t push the issue, you can survive this in the workplace. Pro tip: if you get rejected on this attempt, never do it again with this person and never mention it, ever, to anyone. Lock it away! The most creepy people in the world will turn this into a public thing at the office. Don’t do that!
So, you’ve got your one-week warning! Next Friday is Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day on a Friday is like the holy grail of Valentine’s Day. Crazy stuff happens because you have the weekend to fall in love or recover from your heartbreak! Are you ready!?!
I’m a big fan of DisruptHR and the format! I’ve been part of the team that has run the first three DisruptHR Detroits and in 2020 we’ll do our first DisruptHR Lansing. Five minutes, 20 slides, each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds. Simple, yet so hard to pull off effectively!
There are now well over a hundred DisruptHR cities and hundreds of events worldwide taking place each year. My friend, Jennifer McClure, is the co-Founder of DisruptHR and it might the single best thing that’s happened to HR this decade! Truly. To get HR leaders and pros out of the office and stretch our minds, have a little fun, push the envelope of what HR could become. Give me something better than that in the last ten years!
You can start your own DisruptHR (input city name here) for $500! It’s easy, just contact Jennifer through the DisruptHR website. It’s fun. It really engages the HR community in your city. It’s fairly easy to get a few sponsors to throw some bucks at you to help with the cost. And even bad DisruptHR talks are some of the best DisruptHR talks!
I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak at DisruptHR Grand Rapids this past fall and I went with a topic that started on my blog as a series – Rap Lyrics that have shaped my leadership style over time. On my blog, I think I counted down twenty-five in the series a number of years ago. I even once did a presentation for the local SHRM chapter in Jackson, MI on the concept and watched 40 mostly white HR ladies look at me in horror! 😉 Actually, they asked me to do it! Which shows how disruptive they are!
In the comments hit me with your best Rap Lyric that shaped your leadership style!
Let’s face it. If you hate the video, you probably don’t want to work with me, and I probably wouldn’t have much fun working with you! But, if you like the video – we can probably be fast friends! Let’s talk!