200 Words on Execution

Roy Halladay

Pictures of execution, the game tickets, and marking great execution.

I was asked recently how do you stay motivated to do great work when there is so much work to do. I suggest identifying a way to picture “greatness”, and strive for it each day. Find something tangible, easy, and personal for YOU to relate to.

How do I do it? Like a 12 year old kid, I have a hero on my desk. Roy Halladay, the ace pitcher of the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2010, Roy pitched a perfect game on May 29th, and a no hitter on October 26th.

There are 27 outs in a baseball game. A “perfect game” is when the pitcher executes an out for every single batter. 27 for 27. In 135 years, this has been done 20 times. A “no hitter” is when the pitcher executed so no batter could get a hit. There have only been 272 no hitters. He did BOTH in ONE season. Over 578,000 major league baseball games have been played and 0.05% resulted in a no hitter or perfect game.

People know great execution when they see it – and so will you. What vision will motivate you to get that performance out of your work?

John Smith, VP of Social Geekness

I am not sure that title will stick, but its true that social media in talent/recruiting is here to stay. If you do hundreds of hires a year, its likely you are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and others to find candidates and break into the elusive passive candidate marketplace. If you are doing dozens of hires, you are likely considering using these tools, and if you are doing thousands of hires, this is probably a hot topic between you and your corporate communications group.

Over the past few years, and we just celebrated our fifth year, we have taken an unusual position on social media – i.e. we really don’t have one. We don’t endorse any particular theory, system, community or whatever mainly because we hold firm to our original concept that each organization has a unique mix and makeup of tools and resources that will work effectively for them. Not to mention that we are not in the business of selling short term strategies or technologies. Social media is going to be around for a while, but the players and features and leverage points change faster than the seasons.

Back to John…social geek. You will need him (or her) someday. You will need to control your brand on these mediums, and use them to attract, source, and even retain talent. So let’s forget about what John should be doing each day, and lets talk about what competencies John will need. Here are just three:

1 – John can interpret current and new features of social mediums to your brand easily and demonstrate value quickly. John is not simply a LinkedIn LION network holder. Or has 3000 facebook friends. Or has a YouTube channel. Please don’t measure the value of a social media expert on the size of their network. You don’t know its relevance, how well those people are in contact, or why they are in contact with John to begin with.

2 – John knows how to translate the processes of social media to lamen, and educate executives effectively and efficiently. My mom could probably run my facebook page if I taught her, but it doesn’t mean that she can explain why, how, and instruct the value to executives. John is a poised speaker, and can answer questions diplomatically and with ease. Realize that some social media experts are so because they are introverted and lack the ability to deliver ideas in person, thus they stay in front of a screen all day.

3 – John can design strategies and processes, and teach to others well. He is not especially fond of maintaining or executing the actual social media plan. Are you really going to hire someone to place status updates on FB all day? Or are you going to hire someone who can show you how FB, YT, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be used to drive 30% more passive candidates towards your staff up in sales through a campaign they have designed and can be automated?

These are just a few – but hopefully I got you thinking. When you find your “social geek”, make sure you are designing that job to be strategic and customer facing on purpose. John’s expertise is in managing change quickly and effectively – not posting on your Wall.

Proactive, Aware or Reactive Talent Acquisition?

Start using those words to describe your talent acquisition / recruiting organization and its behaviors. Proactive, Aware, and Reactive.

I totally stole this from HCI on a webshare the other day, but it hits a nerve:

Proactive – you start sourcing for a role before its posted or the manager is ready
Aware – you know about it, but don’t start working on it until its posted
Reactive – manager is ready, job posts, and you get moving

In the study HCI did, 25% of organizations said they were proactive, 50+% said aware, and the rest came in at reactive. My challenge to you is to go through your organization functionally, by business, or by level – whatever – and start figuring out what you SHOULD be (utopia), and then do what you COULD be (given realistic re-alignment of resources) and then what you ARE (your resources today).

Now have a discussion with your leaders, especially the business, and tell them the could and should, and have real business reasons for it. You can get more sales, higher retention, better quality, expand growth platforms – and so on.

I think you would find the PROACTIVE, AWARE, and REACTIVE definition combined with the SHOULD, COULD and ARE will get you a nice roadmap for 2012 🙂


Appropriate Complexity and the EVP

Transparency in a job – its duties, responsibilities, and its interactions with others is becoming more important than ever. Jobs are on the rise, contingent labor is up, and small businesses are slowly starting to expand. All in all, people are starting to ask certain questions about each job, and employees are asking themselves if they should stay.

As companies build and maintain an employer value proposition, an overlooked area that we advise them on is COMPLEXITY. Not the complexity regarding their EVP philosophy, but the complexity of a role, and how it is part of a candidate’s consideration, or how employee’s view their job.

The complexity of a role changes from business to business, meaning the actual role of a marketing analyst at Pepsi could be more complex than say at Coca Cola. Sometimes roles increase and decrease in complexity during a short period of time, especially as businesses role out initiatives, merge with other companies, install technologies and so on. The trick is figure out what type of complex environment does the employee (or candidate) have successful experience in, and do they want to have the same, more, or less complexity in their next role.

Some jobs are straightforward – notice I did not say simple. But the procedures and processes are defined, the goals are defined, etc. That particular level of complexity may not be appropriate for a candidate. They may want something more sophisticated. Conversely, they may have other parts of their life that are already complex (or have become complex) and then actually want to reduce complexity. You know, we work about a third of the week, so sometimes enough is enough.

You know when a person says “I’m not happy” or “I need something else” and then a manager says – “what are you, crazy?” or says “they don’t get it, this is a great job” – PAUSE. Ask yourself if the complexity of the role has been changing. Could be the complexity of the candidate’s / employee’s life, but look at the job. Maybe its changed more than you know, and you have to get through the job psychology with the person.

When recruiting or retaining, find out what level of complexity candidates and employees are looking for. The question is hard to ask directly, so try and piece it together. You can use complexity as a closing technique or a retention technique, and a powerful tool in your EVP.

Complexity is part of the Development, one of the four corners of the employer value proposition. Personal Match, Financial, and Work Experience are the other three corners, and across all four, there are dozens of elements that make up a strong EVP.

Mentorship – No…its not important to have it…

Okay – that was a sarcastic remark. Of course its important – but that importance varies person to person, and as you design a role for people in your organization, design the sell of a position to an employee, or think about what you are going to talk to your boss about come review time – MENTORING should be a consideration you are making.

As an HR / talent exec it starts with your employee value proposition, and how important mentoring is to your culture. Do you have a program? Is it formal? do YOU have a mentor? Does the employee take responsibility? Is it frowned upon? Who are the examples of two people with strong mentoring relationships? If you can’t answer some of all of these questions, realize that there are candidates where mentoring is important when considering your job, and there may be top performers who are frustrated with their current job because of the lack of mentoring.

Employees – speak up. Find out if there is a program (if you want a mentor) Are you involved? Do you know any of your peers who talk about their mentors?

Recruiters – find out how important this is to the candidate. A strong mentoring program may actually get you through a tough negotiation for the right candidate, while it may mean ZERO to another. But find out. During recruiting, ask them about what empowers them daily and what resources they use for advice and counsel. If they have a mentor that is an employee at the current job, they may actually lose the ability to talk with that person – especially if the work is highly confidential or competitive. This can make your opportunity not as attractive.

Mentoring is part of the Development category of the employee value proposition. There are Four Corners to every employee value proposition, and a balance across the four is desired to make a strong match from employee to employer. The Four Corners are Development, Work Experience, Personal Match, and Financial.