The Key Ingredient You Need to be Successful at Work! (and Life)

Ugh, I hate that I wrote that title. I. AM. NOT. A. LIFE. COACH!

I don’t write about sports as much as I used to. When my sons were in sports, and I was coaching, I bet I wrote some sort of sports analogy about once per week. The thing with this idea is it works in sports, but it really works in almost anything in life.

Okay, here it is:

“Having people around you who want you to win is key to success.”

I’m not going to take credit for this, nor will I give credit to anyone because I have heard something like this for the last twenty years, but I find almost always people forget about this one simple but powerful idea.

We discount how much of our success is tied to being surrounded by people who want us to be successful! Or we give ourselves too much credit for our own success. We think we’re smarter or better when in reality, we are all about the same, but the circumstances we find ourselves in are very different!

I tend to find myself in conversations with parents regarding their high school and college athletes who are working on going to the next level because I’ve had kids and a wife who played sports at a high level. What most parents and kids don’t understand is how important it is to play for a coach who truly wants to see you succeed. Wait!? Don’t all coaches want to see every player they have on the team succeed? Nope. Unfortunately.

In college athletics, when coaches change, they inherit a bunch of kids who they didn’t recruit, so they aren’t fully invested in these kids. While they will need some or most of these kids, in the short term, to be successful, Almost always, they will bring in their own kids and be more invested in them.

We are currently seeing massive transfers in all sports taking place in college athletics, and a large part of that is kids trying to find a coach(s) who truly wants to see them succeed!

It sounds like when leadership changes take place at work, right?!

When a new leader comes into your company or work team, we see the same type of behavior. New leaders want to bring in their own people. Why? Because you need to surround yourself, even as a leader, with people who want to see you win! Individual contributors need this. Leaders need this. Anyone who wants to win needs people around them who want to see them win!

It’s not about just making it. Keeping it going. It’s about seeing you win. That’s key. Don’t think you can exchange that for something less.

This is why it’s key for you to put yourself in a position where you feel everyone around you wants to see you win. If you’re a leader and you have people on your team that you are unsure they want to see you win, you need to get rid of those people. If you are in a job where you have a leader or peers who don’t want you to win, you need to find a new job immediately!

See, this is why I would be a shitty life coach. I never want people to leave their job. It’s not in my DNA. Keep that job. Make it work! Then I write this post and say leave your job immediately if you are not surrounded by people who want to see you win!

I have some very close friends in my life. The one trait I feel for each of them, without an ounce of jealousy, is I want to see them win! My own team at HRU, without a doubt, I want to see each person I work with be massively successful and win all the time! Surround yourself with people who want to see you win!

Timmy Sackett, World’s Worse Life Coach, Out.

What is your measure of success? #HRTechConf

I’m out at the world’s largest HR Technology Conference this week, learning a ton and having some amazing conversations with peers and practitioners. One, in particular, is sticking with me about how we measure success in HR and Talent Acquisition.

With the increase in the capture of data across our technology stacks, we have more information than ever to give us insights and really give us better robust measures of success. But we tend to hang on to old measures that have little correlation to actual success.

There are a bunch of things getting in the way of us successfully determining what should be the measures of success in our functions:

  • We need to measure things that are challenging but not too challenging.
  • We tie our success metrics to annual bonus potential.
  • We don’t really know what success should look like from a benchmarking standpoint.
  • We have legacy measures that everyone is just kind of used to, and the majority of the industry still uses them. So, we should follow the pack.
  • We need measures that we can quickly manipulate of having excuses if things go sideways.

We will never admit the truth above.

From the HR Technology standpoint, your technology vendors assume you are much more sophisticated than we really are. I don’t mean that in a way that is meant to slight our expertise and knowledge. If I had HR and TA leaders rate their own skill competencies, almost always, technology would come in dead last. Most of us have this as an area of massive improvement.

Why does this matter?

Our technology will drive our success measures. Our technology vendors believe we know what success looks like. So, they build our measures, even when they know there are actually better measures of success that they can pull and put together. True, black and white measures that are not subjective and can’t be manipulated.

The first thing that would help with creating real HR measures of success would be to decouple our bonus compensation and measures. Having a person design their own measures of success and tying it to a compensation outcome is a recipe for failure and underperformance. If anything, HR and TA should have their bonus tied to business success outcomes and measure functional success separately. In the long run, a highly successful function should help the business achieve better outcomes.

This one practice frees us up to really dig into our data and our technology and redefine what success looks like around the HR umbrella of functions. To really use our data and our insights to reach new levels and better understand how we can make an impact and improve. We should feel like we can build measures of success and fail at those measures without killing our livelihood. That’s the only way we can hope for true change and worthwhile long-term measures that help us succeed.

What I’m finding is the HR technology community is ready to help us do this. We just have to ask them! We have to ask them to define our success using a data analytics approach and understand the outcomes and insights we can gain from these new measures. This also takes a big of courage because we’ll be leading not following and that’s always a vulnerable spot. But, one I think separates great leaders from average leaders.

Are you “Rainbow Washing” your corporate logo for Pride Month?

I know you’ve seen this going on in June, but you might not have known what it was called. “Rainbow Washing” or “Pride Washing” is when a corporation turns its logo, for the month of June, from its traditional colors to rainbow colors to show its support of Pride Month.

Here are some examples:

Is there any harm in doing this?

My initial impression was “No”. I’ve got gay people in my life and for far too long most companies were scared to even acknowledge gay people were real, let alone show their support, so for me, this is an amazing time. We have billion-dollar corporations willing to come out publicly and state they support their gay employees and customers in a very public way.

But, we also have the bad marketing side of the world.

We have organizations that will Rainbow Wash their logo for June, to act like they are Prideful of their LGBTQ workforce and customers, but then do nothing else the rest of the year. Wait, how do you pronounce “Cinco De Mayo” or isn’t February the shortest of the months for Black History? I joke, this is classic in most organizations. We say we care, but we do the least amount to show we care.

The worst of this is when the organization says one thing, like, hey, look at our rainbow logo, but then goes and gives political donations to politicians who are actively working to reduce or eliminate gay rights. Yes, this is happening. This is far worse than those acting like they care but doing the minimum to increase sales. This is actively lying to employees and the public through behaviors and dollars working to support the other side.

Do you have to rainbow wash your logo to have Pride?

Nope. In fact, I’m sure the LGBTQ community would prefer you not wash your logo and just actually give a damn through your actions and funding of policies that support their community. But, doing those things and washing your logo is also awesome!

Signs and symbols of support shouldn’t be discounted. They are important. A corporation could be the biggest donor to gay rights but hide the fact they do it, that also isn’t great. “Pride” is about having pride for the LGBTQ community and showing your support in a public way that will show those who don’t support that you do and you’re not afraid to show it. Because for way too much of our history way too many were afraid to show their support.

Can Rainbow Washing go too far?

Well, maybe if it goes down the male genital route, you go too far!

This isn’t real, but it demonstrates how a brand can go over the edge with Pride!

Now, you might love the OG and be Gay, and I’m here for it! Everyone loves those breadsticks and salad!

Rainbow washing goes too far when you are doing it for promotion and marketing and not because you want to show Pride for the LGBTQ community. I know, for 100% fact, that some CMO and Revenue officers have had the discussion, “hey, what happens to our sales if we wash the logo? Oh, it’s up 7%! Should we keep it a rainbow for July!? No! That’s the American Flag washing logo, you idiot! Sales went up 8% last year with Red, White, and Blue!”

Rainbow wash your logo. Show support. Give to Gay Rights and Politicians who support Gay RIghts. Show your Pride!

The Human Resource Executive 2022 Top HR Tech Influencers! Do Lists Matter?

A big list got released yesterday and I wouldn’t be writing about it unless I’m on it, right?! Well, I might write about it if I wasn’t on it. I mean, it feels great to be recognized for something you have passion for and enjoy. Recognition at any level tends to feel good, which is why it’s so powerful.

There are so many people on the 2022 Top HR Tech Influencers that I admire and call friends including my two HR Famous podcast partners – Jessica Lee and Madeline Laurano! They both made the list. Also friends like: Steve Boese, Sarah White, Laurie Ruettimann, Jeanne Achille, Stacy Zapar, Jackye Clayton, Torin Ellis, Kyle Lagunas, George LaRocque, Trish McFarlane, Erin Spencer, Joey Price, Jason Averbook, and so many others.

What the heck is an HR Tech Influencer?

I know, personally, probably 65% of the Top 100 list. So, I can only speak about those individuals, but I’m guessing the rest of the list is fairly similar. First, they are super passionate about HR technology. We are all super nerds for this stuff and when we get together the talk gets deep into nerdy. Second, they all care about making technology and the function of HR, and all the sub-functions of HR, better.

Some do this through working as an actual practitioner in the weeds of day-to-day HR. Some do it by working on the vendor side to improve and create the next generation of technology we will come to rely on. And others work in the analyst space building a bridge between the vendor and practitioner improving the knowledge base about what we buy and why.

Every single one of these folks is a 1%er when it comes to HR Tech knowledge. Meaning, on average, they would know more about HR Tech than 99% of the other folks working in HR. They are the definition of Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. They made themselves into experts and that by itself is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Not many folks in the world could call themselves an expert at anything!

Who has the “real” juice?

Damn! That’s the million-dollar question! And I literally mean, a million dollars! Because vendors and conferences are trying to figure out who has the juice! What’s the juice? It’s that something special that a person has, through a combination of a lot of factors, where they command a large audience of potential buyers. It’s a combination of expertise, personality, access, charisma, honesty, giving back, etc. No two folks have the same factors or create the same juice.

In the HR Tech World, there is one person who has more juice than anyone at the moment. That guy is Josh Bersin. Josh is like the gallon-size bottle of juice and most of the rest of us are like the 6 oz glass of juice in comparison! That’s just a fact. I’m lucky that Josh invited me to be a faculty member in his academy, but I’m not saying this because of that. The reality is he moves the market like no one else in our space.

Vendors are always trying to figure out who has the juice. Who is going to bring buyers into the tent? Honestly, if you can’t afford Josh, it’s probably a combination of a lot of folks on that list, as well as a bunch of folks who aren’t on the list but still have juice (William Tincup, Matt Charney, Kris Dunn, Deb McGrath, Rob Kelly, Hung Lee, Guillermo Gorea, Chris Hoyt, Gerry Crispin, Erica Young, Chris Harvilla, etc.).

Juice has little to do with the social footprint, but you can’t ignore a large audience. Some folks might have a ton of juice on Twitter, but nothing on LinkedIn, or IG. No presence on Twitter, but a great following on Facebook. The key is interaction on whatever platform they are on. Like, are you really on Twitter if you tweet and no one engages?

TL;DR – There’s Josh Bersin, then there is a cliff, and then there are the rest of us at the bottom of that cliff. Also, no one wants to see their real “juice” number, it’s humbling.

Do these lists matter?

So many people will say, No. I get that. But, for the millions of HR pros out in the world, this is a great start if you are trying to educate yourself about technology within HR. So, in that vein, these lists do matter. I got into HR Tech because of a conversation I had with William Tincup seven years ago! I met him through my interactions with other influencers on the list. I became an expert in this space because of that interaction.

Because of lists, like the Top 100 HR Tech Influencers, I have people reach out to me daily with questions they have about the technology in our space. A list like this gives people an avenue to pursue and access expert opinions.

Are these lists inclusive of every voice that should be heard? Of course not, that would be impossible. It’s also super hard to get minority and young voices on these lists, based on the demographic of HR Tech nerds in general. But this list does an exceptional job at adding these voices, especially around female voices (which make up the majority of HR pros!). It’s a snapshot of a moment, and the list is ever-evolving. Also, vendors rarely make it on because of conflict of interest with selling, but some of the best minds in HR Tech are working at vendors. But they do matter to a great number of people who are trying to better their HR Tech knowledge.

Shout out to the HR Exec team, including, Elizabeth Clarke and Rebecca McKenna for putting in the work to create and edit this list. It’s a thankless task usually that only comes with criticism.

You can check out the full list right here.

Your LinkedIn Newsletter Sucks, and Other Truths No One Is Telling You!

Before I get into this rant, let me give a shoutout to Hung Lee. Hung runs the Recruiting Brainfood newsletter out of the UK and it is seriously the best recruiting newsletter on the planet. Also, Hung believes everyone should start a LinkedIn Newsletter, which leads me to believe that maybe he caught the Covid or something and his brain is slipping!

First off, is there a glitch in the Matrix or something? Since the beginning of the year, I’ve seriously received over 50 LinkedIn Newsletter invitations. Somedays I’m getting over 5 per day! What the heck is going on?

Second off, no one needs all these dumb newsletters!

Have you seen some of these!? Most are bad life coaching newsletters or professionals who are working at home and just flat bored with nothing else to do. I have yet to receive one that looked half-interesting. Here’s a sample of the newsletter titles:

  • Leadership and You
  • The Cup’s Half Full Newsletter
  • Leadership Insights
  • The Thoughtful Leader
  • The Top Talent Newsletter

Reading these again just made me fall asleep, where was I again?

Why Shouldn’t You Start A LinkedIn Newsletter?

You shouldn’t primarily because you won’t sustain it and ultimately it makes you look like you’ve got a follow-through problem professionally!

Look, here’s the deal. Most people suck at writing. Some are good, but will just run out of things to say in around ninety days. Either way, all of these newsletters will just sit there with old content. Then one day, someone will find it and their first thought won’t be, “OMG! This newsletter is amazing and changed my life!” It will be, “this is odd, this person hasn’t written in 18 months, I wonder if the Covid got them!?”

To Hung’s belief, yes, everyone has a voice. But this is where Hung I part ways. He believes because you have a voice you should use it. I believe most voices suck! If yours sucks, don’t use it, use something else you’re good at! What the last twelve years of writing have shown me is most people’s writing voice isn’t very good, and no one wants to read it. But you’re bored and you think what the heck, someone might turn their life around by me sharing my “Thoughtful Leadership” thoughts, but they won’t, in fact, you might actually be the catalyst that finally pushes them over the edge! Let that sink in, you LinkedIn Newsletter Murderer!

By the way, this is not an indictment on LinkedIn! That would be like me blaming Taco Bell for fat people. No, Taco Bell is awesome, I love it. My low willpower is to blame, not Taco Bell. I don’t blame LinkedIn for stupid people. LinkedIn just provided a great tool for stupid people to spread their stupid. How did LinkedIn know stupid people wanted to share their stupid?

Another reason you shouldn’t start a LinkedIn Newsletter is that you actually don’t have an opinion. “Racism is bad!” Groundbreaking, thanks. Any other hot takes, Sparky? You actually have to have an opinion. Have a legitimate take on something. Stating the obvious, while probably be cathartic at some level for you, isn’t readable!

This isn’t to say that LinkedIn Newsletters can’t be ultra-popular. One of the Top 5 LI Newsletters is a dude who gives career advice. He has over 750K followers. I’m sure it’s great stuff, like, don’t stink and don’t throw up during an interview. All the ‘real’ stuff job seekers need to know. I haven’t read his newsletter but I’m guessing he had a 13-minute career as a recruiter which makes him highly qualified to now give out this life-changing advice.

I know. I know. You’re going to make so many new sales and clients with your newsletter, plus your Aunt Jenny who’s a retired accountant told you how great she thinks it is. No, you won’t and No, it’s not. Stop it. Stop sending me your damn invites. I hate your Newsletters! They’re awful! Someone needs to tell you the truth!

Okay, I have to go start my Linkedin Newsletter before I miss out on this gravy train!

6 Surprising Ways GenZ is Changing the Workforce!

I’m in love with Gen Z! It might be because I’m raising 3 Gen Zers, two in college, one on the way, but it’s also because I love how each generation is shaped by the period of time in which they are raised, and I think Gen Z, specifically, was raised in one of the most unique periods in history!

We’ve had the Millennial “differences” jammed down our throats now for a decade! When it first started, I was fascinated with the differences, now I’m just bored. I think what we learned with the Millennials was that so much of what each Generation has, is truly just based on time in life. Then we have this much smaller percentage of some stuff that truly makes each generation stand out.

Gen Z was raised during the Great Recession. This is a fact, it’s not something we can discount. The generations directly before the Boomers, the Silent Generation, and the Greatest Generation, were raised during the Great Depression, this had a significant impact on how they viewed the world, and how they viewed jobs specifically. Gen Z will have some modern similarities to these generations.

You can not be in your formidable years, have the access to information that Gen Z has always had, and see your family and friends lose jobs, houses, etc., and not then have that come out in your relationship to work in some unique way. There’s been very little out about Gen Z, to this point, but recently there was a fairly substantial study done with over 25,000 Gen Zers. Here’s what it said:

97% of Gen Z own a Smartphone, 93% own a Laptop! Gen Z is digital natives. They are the very first digital-native generation. They grew up with a smartphone in their hands before they could even communicate what they wanted or needed in a meaningful way. Gen Z will not ever work well in an environment that doesn’t use technology to solve common problems. “We have always done it this way” makes no sense to them. Not in a frustrating way, but in a truly perplexed way. Kind of like how someone looks at a Caveman exhibit in a museum.

Gen Z is very price-conscious. Employers will love them because they constantly work to get lower costs of goods and are very adept at doing things on their own when they feel they can produce similar quality for a lower cost. Again, go back to what they saw growing up. They use technology for price comparison, reviews, check availability, etc. Rarely will you be able to sell Gen Z in one meeting, and without competition also being in play.

Only 1 in 8 Gen Zs gets their information from printed materials. Good job on those printed career fair brochures! You might as well just have a big bonfire at Corporate HQ because your printed job material is almost worthless with Gen Z. Although, they do consume information through a ton of channels including social media (79.7%) – yeah, that Twitter/IG is just a fad…TV/Video, radio, and video streaming services, etc. When we go to recruit Gen Z, we have to be ready to use multiple forms of media to reach them.

Crazy enough, Gen Z actually loves to read books, not digital.  Again, generationally, Gen Z was raised during the Harry Potter days, etc. Some of the best young adult literature in history was written during their young years, and in hard economic times, a book is a fairly inexpensive entertainment option that takes up a lot of time. No wonder Gen Z is a generation of readers! 77% prefer to read a printed book, rather than digital. So, while we tend to focus employee development on online on-demand types of media, some leaders will find giving a book to Gen Z might be a real connection for them.

Gen Z demands information. Gen Zers, for the most part, won’t demand to be the boss, but they will demand to be kept in the loop. Why? Because they’ve always been able to find out anything they wanted in seconds, so you playing the power position of keeping information from them will not go over well! When you’ve never not had information, working in a corporate culture that uses information as power, is a stifling environment to be in.

Gen Z is the most diverse generation in American history. I will tell you my sons are somewhat confused by old people’s obsession with diversity issues. They understand America is far from perfect, but they also have grown up in a generation that is much more accepting than any generation before them, so they find ‘our’ obsession with these topics sometimes overdone. They would prefer to focus on how we are similar, then on how we are different.

Currently, Generation Z is about 40% of our workforce and growing. The largest generation in the workforce, with Millennials being a shrinking second place. Gen Zs are not Millennials, just like Millennials are not Gen X, etc. Each is mostly similar, with some differences. Gen Z will take some getting used to for some leaders, but those who embrace their uniqueness will truly get rewarded!

How long should it take a candidate to decide on a job offer?

When you make a candidate an offer, how long do you give them to tell you they want the job or not? 24 hours? 3 days? 1 week? Immediately?

For two decades I’ve been in the camp of a candidate should be able to tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no’ immediately, or you (the recruiter and hiring manager) did something wrong in closing! But, I think I’ve changed my stance on this, if “fit” is really important for the position, your culture, etc.

Here’s the deal, if the job and/or company fit is really important to your organization. The candidate should take as long as they need to, to make sure that your organization is the one for them. That might mean they need to finish up other interviews, do more research, go through counter-offers, etc.

So, if that takes two or three weeks, so be it. The fit is critical for you and you actually want the candidate to take their time with this decision.

I feel so strongly about this, I think you should actually make candidates wait 72 hours after you offer them the job, to give you an answer! Yes! You won’t accept an acceptance from them until they’ve taken 72 hours to really think about the job, the new boss, the organization, everything!

Why wait 72 hours if they already know!? 

A “cooling down” period will give them some time to get through the infatuation period of getting the offer! It will give them some time to really think about your job, their current job, other jobs they might be considering. This time is important because too often, too many people get that offer and at that moment everything feels so awesome!

After a couple of days, they come down from the high of being desired by you and start to think clearly, and all of sudden you’re not as pretty as you looked two days ago, or you’re even more pretty by playing hard to get.

But what if a candidate gets cold feet by this technique? 

That’s a real concern especially with historic unemployment in many markets and fields. If you force a candidate to wait 72 hours there is a good chance someone else might come in and offer them a job!

Yep! That actually would be awesome if that happened, because then you would really know! Do they love you, or did they just fall in love with someone else!? Remember, this isn’t for every organization. This is only for organizations where fit is critical to your organizational culture.

If a candidate gets cold feet by another offer or by waiting 3 days, they don’t really believe your organization is the one for them. They don’t believe what you have is their dream job or organization. Also, if you get cold feet by having them wait, you don’t really believe fit is important!

So, how long should it take a candidate to decide if your job offer is right for them? 

There is no one right answer. Each of us has our own internal clock to make those decisions. If you force a candidate to decide immediately upon an offer, that speaks to your culture. If you let candidates decide on their timeline, that also speaks to your culture.

In a perfect world, I still believe if the process works as designed, and everyone pre-closed as they should, both you and a candidate should be able to make a decision when the offer is placed on the table. But, honestly, how often does our process work perfectly?

Hit me in the comments with what you believe is the proper amount of time you should give a candidate to decide whether or not they’ll accept your job offer?

My Momma Don’t Like You…

My Momma don’t like you and she likes everyone…

Do you like that new Justin Bieber song?  Yep, I’m a Belieber! Don’t hate. The kid can entertain!

How does this have anything to do with HR?  Come on, you know I’ll bring you back!

“My Momma don’t like you and she likes everyone.” Do you have someone in your organization that is a walking cultural fit filter?

I do. Her name is Lori. I call her LJ. She has been with us (HRU Tech) for over 20 years! True story we hired her when she was 18 years old, straight out of high school to be a receptionist. Married, mom of three great boys, she is still rocking it at HRU in a much more expanded role! Most days I think I probably report to her.

When we interview a candidate to work in our corporate office, LJ knows if the person will fit or not, without being in the interview! LJ is like Justin Bieber’s mom. She likes almost everyone. Easy to get along with, but most importantly she knows the HRU culture.  If LJ says the person won’t work, the person won’t work.

I think most organizations have someone like this.  No, it’s not you in HR or Recruiting. You think you know, but you fail constantly at choosing. Cultural fit filter people are on the front lines. They hear and see the crap that HR and Recruiting never get to hear and see. They know your true culture.

I’ve worked with organizations, that truly carried about cultural fit, that have added one step into their candidate screening process. It’s a cultural fit interview, with a cross-functional team on non-hiring managers, non-HR, non-Recruiting folks. It’s also a knockout screen. If you don’t make it past them, you don’t move forward.

Organizational fit has always been important, but organizations are beginning to put some real emphasis behind it recently.

I don’t worry about it much. I just ask LJ, she’ll let me know.

 

Your Superpower is Your Authentic Self!

I had someone ask me what my superpower is? I found that a hard question to answer. I mean do you think being able to write a 500-word blog post in 15 minutes a superpower!? Some bloggers probably do, but no one else!

I was told that my true superpower was me just being me. My authentic self. Then I asked this person how much I owed them for the life coaching session! 😉

We are told constantly to be ourselves, or live our true life, find a way to be yourself, etc. The reality is being your authentic self might be your superpower, but like all superpowers, they can be used for good or evil.

Let me give you the best example ever! Donald Trump is his authentic self. It’s his superpower and he rode that superpower right into the White House. His authentic self was a superpower he used for evil, and ultimately it destroyed him and his legacy.

What I find a leader of people is that employees living their authentic self either works wonderfully or awfully and rarely anywhere in between!

Here’s the thing about being your authentic self, you must first know if your “authentic self” something others want to be around or if your authentic self off-putting to others. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be yourself, but if your authentic self is a complete asshole, you might want to work for yourself and not someone else!

Let be really frank here, any gender can be an off-putting authentic self. It doesn’t mean you don’t love who you truly are, but you must also realize who you truly are isn’t what most people want to be around. Your superpower isn’t going to be asked to join the Justice League, you’re going to be asked to join the villain side.

In real life, you actually don’t become a villain, unless you’re DJT. Most likely you become your own boss, or you live a miserable existence trying to fit into a work world that doesn’t want you and you don’t want it. Some of the best and brightest people I know can’t work for others. Their superpower is something that allows them to be awesome, but not when working closely with others on a daily basis.

Why does this matter? 

It matters because if some idiot is trying to sell you the snake oil of “Just be your Authentic Self” you must first determine, is your authentic self something others will embrace and want to be around. If so, great, you’re going to probably have a great career. If it’s not, and you want to work in the corporate world, you’re probably in for a lot of therapy.

Also, let me be very clear, not living your authentic self while you are at work isn’t the worse thing in the world. You can be one thing at work and another thing in your personal life. Is it ideal? No. But, I’ve seen many people in my career be successful in doing this. It’s a little like Clark Kent and Superman. I can be Clark Kent at work and then go home and be Superman in the rest of my life.

The worse thing that can happen is you try and force your authentic self onto others and believe they should “accept” your authentic self. Nope. That’s not how it works. You can’t make anyone accept your authentic self, you can only make yourself accept that. If I don’t like your superpower, you can’t make me like it, and if I’m in a position to determine the trajectory of your career, you’re in trouble.

Superpowers are awesome, but they can be super for good or super for bad. Love who you are, but don’t expect others will necessarily love it.

Bad Hires Worse!

If I could take all of my education and experience and boil it down to this one piece of advice, it would be this:

Bad Hires Worse.

In HR we love to talk about our hiring and screening processes, and how we “only” hire the best talent, but in the end, we, more times than not, leave the final decision on who to hire to the person who will be responsible to supervise the person being hired, the Hiring Manager.

I don’t know about all of you, but in my stops across corporate America, all of my hiring managers haven’t been “A” players, many have been “B” players, and a good handful of “C” players.  Yet, in almost all of those stops, we (I) didn’t stop bad hiring managers from hiring when the need came. Sure I would try to influence more with my struggling managers, be more involved but they still ultimately had to make a decision that they had to live with.

I know I’m not the only one, it happens every single day.  Every day we allow bad hiring managers to make talent decisions in our organizations, just as we are making plans to move the bad manager off the bus. It’s not an easy change to make in your organization. It’s something that has to come from the top.

But, if you are serious about making a positive impact on talent in your organization you can not allow bad managers to make talent decisions.

They have to know, through performance management, that:

1. You’re bad (and need fixing or moving);

2. You no longer have the ability to make hiring decisions.

That is when you hit your High Potential manager succession list and tap on some shoulders.  “Hey, Mrs. Hi-Po, guess what we need your help with some interviewing and selection decisions.” It sends a clear and direct message to your organization we won’t hire worse.

Remember, this isn’t just an operational issue it happens at all levels, in all departments.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is look in the mirror at our own departments. If you have bad talent in HR, don’t allow them to hire (“but it’s different we’re in HR, we know better!” No you don’t – stop it).

Bad hires worse, over and over and over. Bad needs to hire worse, they’re desperate, they’ll do anything to protect themselves, they make bad decisions, they are Bad. We/HR own this. We have the ability and influence to stop it. No executive is going to tell you “No” when you suggest we stop allowing our bad managers the ability to make hiring decisions they’ll probably hug you.

It’s a regret, I have something I will change. If it happens again, I won’t allow it. I vow from this day forward, I will never allow a bad hiring manager to make a hiring decision at least not without a fight!