Employee Communication 101 – Tebow Style

I need to catch up on my HR/Sports related posts!  My teammates over at the 8 Man Rotation are probably feeling like I’m not pulling my weight lately, and what better way to get back in their good graces but to throw out a Tebow post!

So, the big news from John Elway over at the Denver Bronco’s camp is that Tim Tebow has earned the right to be called the starting quarterback going into next season’s Training Camp.  Basically, that means that during off-season conditioning Mr. Elway is not going to allow any other quarterback to beat out Tebow – Oh! Thanks for the vote of confidence Mr. Elway! I’m not surprised by Elway’s announcement.  What I’m surprised about, and probably shouldn’t be, was by Tim Tebow’s response:

“Nice,” Tebow said of Elway’s pledge of support. “It’s a great honor to be a quarterback for the Denver Broncos. I take that very seriously. I’m very excited about this offseason and I can’t wait to get to work and get better.”

He couldn’t have been coached better by a team of PR specialist to respond this way!

Look, Tebow gets that Elway’s endorsement, was really a partial non-endorsement – and he had a choice on how to react, and took the higher road.  He responded in the way we would like anyone of our employees to respond when put in a similar situation, and believe me, we put our employees in these situations!   We constantly have hiring managers deliver performance and succession messages to employees that sound very similar to what Elway gave Tebow:

“Mary, keep doing what you’re doing and good things will happen.”

“Bob, you control what you can control and it will all work out.”

“Gayle, with hard work, you can go as far as you want in this organization.”

“Ray, the only person who is going to stop you, is you.”

This is the classic performance management response/non-response – and we allow this to happen to often – but more amazingly than how much we allow this to happen, is how upset we get with our employees when they become frustrated with this non-feedback, and don’t give us a “Tebow” response!

Tebow is a winner in life because he understands the art of communication.  He understands that, while he has a huge platform on which to speak, using it as a weapon will get neither himself or his organization any closer to their final goal.  Elway screwed up – he should have been honest – “We’ll give Tim every opportunity to compete to be the starting QB of the Denver Bronco’s next season.  We will work this off-season with Tim to make him the best possible QB for our ororganization.” Period. Shut up, no further questions.  Tim showed the organization how to communicate – be humble, be appreciative and be gracious – you will come out a winner every single time!

Want Change? Hire Pirates!

Dollars for donuts, Fast Company is the best publication out their for anyone in the business world!  They hit a home run in my book recently with the article: An HR Lesson from Steve Jobs – If you want Change Agents, Hire Pirates!  “Why? Because Pirates can operate when rules and safety nets breakdown.”  More from the article:

A pirate can function without a bureaucracy. Pirates support one another and support their leader in the accomplishment of a goal. A pirate can stay creative and on task in a difficult or hostile environment. A pirate can act independently and take intelligent risks, but always within the scope of the greater vision and the needs of the greater team.

Pirates are more likely to embrace change and challenge convention. “Being aggressive, egocentric, or antisocial makes it easier to ponder ideas in solitude or challenge convention,” says Dean Keith Simonton, a University of California psychology professor and an expert on creativity. “Meanwhile, resistance to change or a willingness to give up easily can derail new initiatives.” So Steve’s message was: if you’re bright, but you prefer the size and structure and traditions of the navy, go join IBM. If you’re bright and think different and are willing to go for it as part of a special, unified, and unconventional team, become a pirate.

The article is an excerpt from Steve Jobs book: What Would Steve Jobs Do?: How the Steve Jobs Way Can Inspire Anyone to Think Differently and Win by Peter Sander, and it goes into some of the hiring philosophy that Jobs had while he was at Apple.

So, what did Jobs Pirates have to have:

1. It’s not enough to be brilliant and think differently- a Pirate has to have the passion, drive and vision to deliver to the customer a game-changing product.

2. Will the person you hire, fall in love with your organization and products?

3. A Pirate is a traveler who comes to you with diverse background and experiences.

4. Even though they’re a Pirate they still have to fit into the team and come with or be able to make connections.

“So, in Steve’s book–recruit a team of diverse, well-traveled, and highly skilled pirates, and they’ll follow you anywhere.”

5 Reasons Facebook is the Future of Recruiting

On February 2nd, at 1pm EST, Kris Dunn, The HR Capitalist and FOT01, and I will be putting on a 1 hour webinar called: Social Recruiting MacGyver Style!   Our goal is to give the HR/Talent/Recruiting Pro who are busting there butts each day to bring better talent into their companies – so quick and easy tips on how to recruit and source talent on Facebook for little or no money.

So, what will it be all about – basically why and how we think Facebook will dominate the future of recruiting!


Here’s a few reasons:

1. 1 Billion Facebook members (they’ll hit that number soon) who are more active than LinkedIn’s core member. (Think about it – how many times per day do you check FB vs. LinkedIn?)

2. Facebook has everyone – I need to recruit many different functions  – not just professional or technical. I need clerks, line workers, customer service reps, skilled trades, Nurses, lab techs…see where I’m going with this!  Staffing and Recruiting departments just don’t recruit professionals – we need all levels of talent in our organizations.

3. I want to fish in a pond where there a few fishermen/women – not one where there is one fisherman for every fish.  Recruiters are the most prevalent single profession on LinkedIn – or so it seems!

4. Referrals are my best hires and all of my employees (at every level) are on Facebook – I need to tap their networks.

5. Facebook and some of its App Developer partners, like BranchOut, have figured out some great ways for you to tap into their membership – to see who might have interest in your company or be willing to refer your company to their friends and family.  We HR Pros love Easy Buttons!

Come check it out – if you know Kris and I we will guarantee 2 things:1. There is a good chance you will be entertained for an hour; 2. We love to share things that make HR and Talent Pros lives easier!

Register Today!




Burning Down Your HR Department

A couple of years ago my parents house burned down.  They were away on vacation and lighting struck the roof. Before the fire department could get there and put it out, most of the house was destroyed.  60+ years of memories and possessions, gone.   In hindsight, it was a bit of a blessing,  there house was at the age where everything was starting to need replacing, and my father was at the age, where he wanted to retire.  Those two things don’t go well together!  Major home improvements equals major expense, and a fixed income.  So, long-story-short, mother nature, and the insurance company, gave my folks a new house for a retirement gift!  All is well that ends well, I guess.

This situation, though, led to some deep emotional conversations about what the wish they could have pulled out, if they new this was going to happen.  As you can imagine it was all the stuff you and I would want – our photos, our mementos, some favorite things that remind us of loved ones, or things that we were proud of.  I thought about his recently when having a conversation with a friend who just started a new position as the head of a large HR shop.  His comment to me was:

“What I really need to do is burn this place down and start over!”

To which I replied, “well, isn’t there anything you would keep?”  Bam!  That is what he needed – he did need to burn it down, but there were definitely some things he needed to take out before lighting the match.

It’s a common practice that Leaders tend to do when taking on a new position – we tend to burn down our departments.  Oh, we say we won’t, as we go around throwing gasoline on everything, and we say we aren’t rebuilding as strap our tool belt on and start hammering away, but the truth is, most leaders want to remake their new departments into what they want, not what it was.

So, I’ll ask you to take a few moments today and think about the concept of burning down your HR department.  What would you pull out and save?  What would you happily allow to burn up?  What would you miss?

Everyday we owe it to our organizations to get better.  You don’t have to burn down the department to get better – but you do need to get rid of those things you know you would easily allow to burn up!

Hire More Beautiful People!

What do you think of, in regards to smarts, when I say: “Sexy Blond model type”?

What about: “Strong Athletic Jock?”

What about: “Scrawny nerdy band geek?”

My guess is most people would answer: Dumb, Dumb, Smart – or something to that context.

In HR we call this profiling – and make no mistake – profiling – is done by almost all of our hiring managers.  The problem is everything we might have thought is probably wrong in regards to our expectations of looks and brains.  So, why are ugly people more smart?

They’re Not!

Slate recently published an article that contradicts all of our ugly people are more smart myths and actually shows evidence to the contrary. From the article:

 Now there were two findings: First, scientists knew that it was possible to gauge someone’s intelligence just by sizing him up; second, they knew that people tend to assume that beauty and brains go together. So they asked the next question: Could it be that good-looking people really are more intelligent?

Here the data were less clear, but several reviews of the literature have concluded that there is indeed a small, positive relationship between beauty and brains. Most recently, the evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa pulled huge datasets from two sources—the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom (including 17,000 people born in 1958), and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States (including 21,000 people born around 1980)—both of which included ratings of physical attractiveness and scores on standard intelligence tests. When Kanazawa analyzed the numbers, he found the two were related: In the U.K., for example, attractive children have an additional 12.4 points of IQ, on average. The relationship held even when he controlled for family background, race, and body size.


That’s right HR Pros – Pretty people are smarter.  I can hear hiring managers and creepy executives that only want “cute” secretaries laughing all over the world!


The premise is solid though!  If you go back in our history and culture you see how this type of things evolves:

1. Very smart guy – gets great job or starts great company – makes a ton of money

2. Because of success, Smart guy now has many choices of very pretty females to pursue as a bride.

3. Smart guy and Pretty bride start a family – which results in “Pretty” Smart Children

4. Pretty Smart Children grow up with all the opportunities that come to smart beautiful families.

5. The cycle repeats.


Now – first – this is a historical thing – thus my example of using a male as our “Smart guy” and not “Smart girl” – I’m sure in today’s world this premise has evolved yet again. But we are talking about how we got to this point, not where are we now.  Additionally, we are looking at how your organization can hire better.  So, how do you hire better?  Hire more pretty people.


Seems simple enough. Heck, that is even a hiring process that your hiring managers would support!