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Showing posts from August, 2010

Giving Away my AA

Three weeks ago we hired an outstanding young woman to be my part-time Admin. Her name is Nubia and she has done a wonderful job very quickly. She will also leave my area in two weeks to take a full-time job at Grupo Nelson. Early on we identified this young lady as a unique talent; bi-lingual with a degree in International Business and an intense curiosity about our business. An outstanding positive attitude didn't hurt either. I gave her an early version of our strategic planning materials to shred and she did, after reading them and coming back to ask really good questions. When the Grupo job was posted a couple of weeks ago it became clear: she was a great hire for us, but fit the Grupo job perfectly. It was a tough decision, but we waived the six month waiting period for new-hires to post and offered her the position last Friday. In the end, the company is best served by having the right people in the right places and my job is easier to fill. We're parting on g

Sometimes We Just Stand There and Take It

One of the bedrock values that we live by in our HR department is the sanctity of confidential information. Whatever we know, we don't talk about. Anytime someone asks me if something is in confidence I always say the same thing, "If I hear in our conversation a violation of the law or significant violation of company policy I have to put on my "Agent of the Company" hat; otherwise what you say here, stays here." That applies not only to information we know about employees, but also candidates and former employees. We adhere to this value because trust and confidence are the currency with which we do our business in the company. We never forget that and this is mostly a good thing. I say mostly because there are times when it really bites us. Not everyone who leaves us tells the truth about why they left. Not everyone who fails to get hired tells the truth about why they didn't. Sometimes an employee with an unfavorable outcome needs a face for their

The Thin Line Between Experience and Age

Occasionally older team members leave your workforce involuntarily. That's a sensitive issue when it happens. Other older members of the team become unsettled because they probably worked with that person for years, and some wonder if they're next. There are legal issues involved as well. Age discrimination laws give disgruntled ex-staffers a tool with which to strike at your company even if no discrimination is involved. We've had some older people leave our workforce in the past few years. At the same time we also recently celebrated a milestone birthday with one of our most revered and respected colleagues. At 80, Jack Countryman is producing some of the finest work of his long and legendary career. In his late 60's, Larry Downs Sr. is doing great work in selling Spanish products. So if we're welcoming of some and not afraid to dismiss others, where's the line between when someone has excellent experience and when they become a candidate for termin

Job Skills You Need Now

In the spirit of the Seth Godin, Tom Peters piece on YouTube, I'm going to keep this post to the point. When you think of job skills you usually think of things you can do, like design a book cover or balance a spreadsheet. Those are important and will get you in the door. The keys to longevity, however, are the behavioral skills of coping with an ever-changing post-recessionary business landscape. 1. Adaptability to change - Change once came like an occasional tidal wave every few years and reset the landscape. Now it's like standing on the beach watching wave after wave after wave wash over your feet with no end to the waves on the horizon. You don't stand on the beach and bitch about the waves; don't stand in the office and complain about change. Its the business life you chose. 2. Resiliency in the face of change - Many bright, young talents start strong and burn out or become cynical when they see repeated changes. They blame management for poor planni