If I Were Running A Company…Assessment Tests (Promo Alert)

I’m not a big assessment test person. There are many questions that are in-between, you have to select one answer and you’re not sure if it’s the answer you want. One little answer affects the result. Now, there’s some questions about the validity of personality tests, like Myers-Briggs, if they really capture the person accurately.

This confirms my opinion that assessment tests are a bunch of crock (looking at you, a certain University Career Center). However, there was one test I took that puts a different perspective on this.

I tried Project Fascination, created by Sally Hogshead, who is promoting a new book, How The World Sees You, where how others see (or perceive to see) you at work. I took the test, seeing my other HR professionals have done it and it doesn’t give me an explanation about myself, but what others see me. It gives your primary advantage, your secondary advantage, and your dormant advantage.

The result they gave to me is that I’m the “Quick-Start,” who are innovative and alert, although my least effective trait is trust. You can read my full report here. Have to say that’s pretty accurate. Now if they have this for dating…

You can too see what others see you by filling out the form, here, for the first 100 people signed up to take the test using the promo code: BL-pudgeyt (have my name as the username is lame, although, I should of gone with thispersonstinks) and share to the world how the world sees you by using the hashtag, #HowTheWorldSeesYou.

The Cannonball Run Series: Revisited

If you want to re-live your 80s nostalgia, I might have a nightmare for you. In 1981, The Cannonball Run debut in theaters. It was panned by critics, but respected by the mass audience. It made $72 million in the box office and was the sixth highest-grossing movie that year.

It had an all-star cast, which was led by Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, and Roger Moore as himself. The movie was a slapstick comedy version of the actual Cannonball Run in the 1970s, where teams drive from New York to L.A. The movie also had Jackie Chan, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin (as priests), Jaime Farr, Terry Bradshaw, and a host of random celebrities.

In 1984, The sequel, Cannonball Run II, came out and had a more star-studded cast with Tony Danza, Ricardo Montalban, Marilu Henner, Shirley MacLaine (yes, that Shirley MacLaine), Telly Savalas, Abe Vigoda, Sid Caesar, Charles Nelson Reilly, Tim Conway, Don Knotts, Jim Nabors, Joe Thesimann, Frank Sinatra, and others. The sequel didn’t live up to its predecessor and only made $30 million in the box office.

Cannonball Run has some relevance in cinema history:

  • It was the last movie with the Rat Pack together onscreen.
  • The blooper reels at the end of the credits that Director, Hal Needham, helped made it popular in which co-star, Jackie Chan, used it in his movies.
  • If you want to be noticed for terrible acting and a terrible movie, Cannonball Run was that movie. The original had one Razzie nomination for Farrah Fawcett for Worst Supporting Actress, and the sequel had eight Razzie nominations (and amazingly, no wins).

Why I’m writing about Cannonball Run series is…I have no idea. I just want to show you the one scene that made me dream I want to grow up to be Captain Chaos:

tracy6_wszzogy

 

Cannonball Run isn’t a masterpiece. Hell, it was a crappy movie, but Captain Chaos flying from the roof of the house, made me dream I can save lives just by flying from someone else’s roof and crash to a crowd of people. Isn’t that cinema supposed to do? I need to dress up as Captain Chaos for Halloween one day.

For your viewing pleasure…

The original Cannonball Run:

The sequel (Ok, not really. Just Jackie Chan fighting everyone):

If I Were Running A Company…Context

Courtesy: Twitter/@PrincessBMM via Buzzfeed

This is Breanna. She’s a teenager who tweeted out this picture (selfie, if you will) at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. She tweeted and emoticon that she is smiling. Obviously, this picture is getting a strong response on Twitter because of Auschwitz’s terrible history and the assumption why Breanna is happy could send a wrong message. Later, Breanna clarified that she is smiling because this was suppose to be a trip with her dad, but her dad passed away a year ago and was smiling just for him.

You can read the full story on Buzzfeed. Strong language is in the story.

Of note: I will not focus on her responses to detractors because if she were an adult and had this behavior, she would of been fired in most workplaces.  I’m focusing on the initial picture and caption.

In my opinion, although I’m uncomfortable with this picture, I don’t know her motive was and she is not doing anything crazy. A picture only speaks to a millisecond of her life and we’re suppose to be rational about everything. I wish she could tweeted her caption like “For you, Dad” or something like that, but she’ll learn since she’s a teenager. I know I’ve seen people smiling at cemeteries; even I do questionable stuff while caught on camera. Everyone has a different reaction to a situation and we need to be respectful of why they react.

This leads to my point in recruiting and HR and one of the issues I have in my profession, and I’ll say it over and over, is most look everything at face value. When they see, what they perceived, a disturbing picture, most will move it, but not knowing the context of the picture or statement. What if it’s someone who has the skills you need the most in the workplace and they made, in their opinion, a mistake? You could make an argument that our soundbite and instant culture has made this worst because of the visceral responses when we see something that can be questionable, like Breanna.

People do questionable stuff and some do step out of line, but that’s where HR and recruiters need to determine if this person, who made a mistake, was a one-time thing or it’s constant by looking at their previous tweets and posts. Look at the Justine Sacco case for example; she tweets out insensitive comments about race and diseases and gets fired. Most people will say it was the tweet before she headed home to South Africa. If you saw her timeline, before she deleted it, there were questionable tweets about race and culture, so her personality was not that out of line to the tweet that fired her.

The lesson for HR and recruiters is a basic morale: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” When we see things that initially shock us, we’re suppose to have a deep reaction and that’s fine, but given time and when you settle down, maybe it is not as bad as it seems. HR and recruiters should always investigate the matter, but need to make sure the pieces make sense and talk to the parties before render out a decision, either on a hire or conflict.

What Breanna did should had more context, but it’s not as bad as people would assume. Now, if she was a employee working in a cubicle, singing songs with the n-word? That’s another story.

 

If I Were Running A Company…Scavenger Hunts

The latest craze going on is scavenger hunts, albeit cash, tickets, or some other prize. A twitter account, called Hidden Cash, hides cash somewhere and people, who follow the account, go to the place and find cash. It has become a huge craze, people have trash the place and fight over the cash.

Recently, a company called ID.me put 30 bases around the DC Metro area for people to find and underneath each base is free Washington Nationals tickets. The caveat is the person, who founded the tickets, must be either a veteran, police officer, firefighter, or EMT and if you’re not, give it to them as a nice gesture (not sure why do it that way, but fine).

This leads to something that has being talking about in HR and recruiting and that’s the popularity of gamification. Companies are looking for new ways to find talent and one of the ways is gaming to help give an idea to applicants what the company does and what you’re going to deal with.

For recruiters, one the best simulations is scavenger hunts. In scavenger hunts, you find something (people or objects) based on clues or random searching and guessing. There have been some recruiting scavenger hunt methods like finding random people or finding objects. I personally like finding objects because they can be great conversation starters to the surrounding people. Also, some people will stare

When I was doing the QR Code Hunt at my county fair, I had to find the QR codes with no clues. At times, the QR codes were in crowded areas and it was a perfect way to network to not fond other clues, but get to know the person or the company handling the booth. Thankfully, my keen eye and recruiting skills help me won free tickets to the county fair for life.

Although I did this by myself, I imagine recruiting scavenger hunts to be into teams. In that case, you need at least two people in your team:

  1. The Sourcer: A person who investigates and scours to all the clues based on the information given or places they’ve been to.
  2. The Business Development person: A person who can talk to find the way to your destination.

Scavenger hunts are a fun way for recruiting and HR departments to get involve and sharpen those skills and if you’re lucky, you win a big prize. In this case, it’s the hire.

Your Washington Nationals Midseason Review

It wasn’t going to be easy.

For the first quarter of the season, it looked like the 2013 Washington Nationals: injuries, no runs with runners in scoring position, manager issues. At one point, the Nats were under .500 and it looked like Atlanta was going to runaway again.

Then, Fister debut in May, Zimmerman came back and is now a super utility player, Ramos returning, and Harper returning has the Nats virtually with Atlanta for the NL East lead.

Let’s focus on two things. The first is Matt Williams. At times, Williams can be authoritative. Look at the Bryce Harper situation, when he didn’t hustle to first base, Williams benched him and started a million rumors about their relationship.  Also, Williams can be question about his strategy. However, there’s no question the players have responded to Williams and with a full lineup, let’s see how Williams handles the second half.

The second part is the health of the team. Before June, only one time the lineup was at full strength: opening day. Now, the Nationals have the second half of the season to see if this lineup comes to fruition. What you can say is the Nats bench is much better than last year, and still have rooms of improvement via trade and waivers.

Last year at this time, the Nats were playing catchup with Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. This year, they’re in the mix in not only the NL East, but the postseason race. We will see how they will respond.

If I Were Running A Company…Bosses to Coaches

via SHRM

Although I did not attend the SHRM Conference in Orlando this year, I was paying attention in the twitter stream. I’ll be honest, there wasn’t much from the stream, from an outsider point of view, but there was one part I was intrigued by from Yum! Brands CEO, David Novak:

I completely agree with David on this.

It used to be that if you’re the boss, you can control the room because your title says you’re above the others and other employees have no other option in their time. Now, with starting a business becoming more friendlier, a “free agent” world where anyone can go anywhere, and more options for people; the boss can’t do the same things like they have in the past. The current, prototypical boss have to relate to their employees and understand what they’re going through.

A great example of this is in sports. You used to have managers and coaches yell and scream to get attention, either to the players and referees, because they were in control and act like they know everything. In today’s sports world, coaches and managers need to relate to the players of how to approach their respective sport better.

The first person to actually capture this trend was Pete Carroll twenty years ago, when he was head coach for the New York Jets for one season. At the time, the NFL coaches, some of the players, and the media ridicule Carroll’s methods of being a player-friendly coach. Carroll had another NFL coaching gig with the New England Patriots from 1997-1999, and then was the sixth choice to be USC’s head football coach in 2000 and made them into a college football powerhouse with the same methods he employed when he was in the NFL. After a successful run at USC (and the Reggie Bush incident) he returned to the NFL in 2010 to coach the Seattle Seahawks and this past year, his team won the Super Bowl in a 43-8 blowout over the Denver Broncos.

Pete Carroll’s success has lead to other sports teams finding former players to become either a coach/manager or a general manager because they understand how the current player thinks and acts because they used to be in that role. This is the manager of today. Bosses can’t be controlling and worried about keeping a job. The “new boss” passes down and guides the employees to navigate the company. The “new boss” has been in the trenches and understands what employees have been going through and find ways to make their employees better, either as individuals or as a team.

Why not stop at the workplace when you can use this at college? The problem with some colleges is they teach about the business through keywords and terms. It’s great students learn the terminology, but at some point they need to put that in practice. Why not bring in former employees and managers to show the ropes of business students of how a business really functions? Colleges can still have their research and studies, but college is about experimentation and for the students to get a job in the workplace when they graduate, they need a guided hand. I think a manager or employee can fill that role.

When you think of boss, you think of the words controlling, demanding, emotional and bottom line. Throw that out the window and managers need to think of these words: relate, building, wisdom, guidance, legacy, and pipeline. These are not words that you’re not turning old; these are words to keep your business going.

Soccer Has Arrived In America…Just the Media didn’t realize it 4 years ago

It was a disappointing loss for the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team as they lost in extra time to Belgium 2-1. This can be the discussion about the crazy, amazing performance Tim Howard had with 16 saves. This can be a discussion of how Chris Wondolowski missed opportunity and how it will haunt him for the rest of his life.

I’m going to write about the pain we felt on Tuesday was great for U.S. Soccer in the long-term. In the past World Cups, we have always rooted for the USA to win. That’s typical, but when they’re out, they were gone in our memories.

In 2010 it’s where I think the tide turned. You saw the same loud crowds this year as you did in 2010. This year is more profound because it was in Brazil and and time difference was not bad. This makes me ask  why now soccer will stick in America? Social media.

When social media (talking about Facebook and Twitter) came to prominence in 2007-08, people can talk about any subject in the open and your message was going global. It was the right time soccer fans to come out and talk about the sport. Real soccer fans understood Europe has the best leagues and the best players and they can talk about it on social media. Those messages infiltrate to other sports (and casual) fans to watch soccer in the morning, most likely the English Premier League. That made the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League valuable on TV. That is why NBC and Fox Sports, respectively, ponied up a lot of money to get those rights and it is paying dividends. To me, that’s where soccer in America arrived.

In 1996, Major League Soccer (MLS) debut after a successful 1994 World Cup in the United States. This was suppose to boost interest soccer in America. However, it turned off many fans: the backwards clock, clock froze, playing in big stadiums that were mostly empty, trying to be bigger than the major four. MLS was struggling. Fast forward eight years later and MLS tried to hype up Freddy Adu and became a bust, but at the same time, MLS downsize and it is reaping the benefits. The building of new soccer-only stadiums, like in Columbus, OH and Los Angeles, that have a few more seats than an indoor arena, can be filled with soccer fans. Having people filling the seats jumping and chanting makes it better for TV and it shows. MLS has new TV deal with ESPN, Fox Sports, and Univision starting in 2015.

So when people ask today what’s next for American soccer, casual and other sports fans have to realize this will take awhile. For starters, the U.S. Men’s Soccer team have tons of physical talent, but very little technical talent. As you saw in this year’s World Cup, the U.S. passing and possession is not up to par to the Europeans. I felt I was watching the 1998 Stanley Cup Final between the skilled Detroit Red Wings and the scrappy Washington Capitals again. This is why Jurgen Klinsmann was brought on as coach. He will teach his players how to be technical and working on the little details of the game. Klinsmann will also be responsible of building up the youth teams  (U-18, U-21) to become more competitive and refine their approach. I think fans expect with Klinsmann’s track record that he can bring a World Cup to the US. That’s a lot to ask since World Cup coaches to stay beyond for one cycle (4 years), but some do comeback years later. Klinsmann is there to build a culture of winning and success like he did with Germany and can get USA to the next level (quarterfinal, semifinal).

As for MLS, think of with  the KHL-NHL relationship. MLS is really the minor leagues to the European clubs and where old soccer stars from Europe come to the U.S. to say thanks. MLS’s real job is to find talent and shipped them to Europe to become real stars, globally. This is why some soccer fans want Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, and Jozy Altidore to stay in Europe because they can watch them grow into superstars. Now, U.S. Soccer fans will have to root for Julian Green, John Brooks, Fabian Johnson, and others to become stars in Europe to really be interested in Russia in 2018.

In addition, youth soccer, in the U.S., has boomed the last five years (this past year was flat), and youth football participation has dropped because of cost and worries of concussion. To be fair, soccer has the same concussion problem, but the head is not an essential part of soccer and can be restricted in youth programs. Hell, the Premier League can replace cartoons as the kid favorite Saturday morning show, when most of the Premier League games are played and a great moment for kids to actually see the best soccer stars and try to emulate that in their local soccer pitches. U.S. Soccer has a bright future.

For the casual and your average sports fan, the important number to know is 2026. This is where FIFA will pick its next location for the World Cup and chances are the U.S. are the front-runners because it’s the year the United States celebrate 250 years of independence (although, it’s FIFA). Expect 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar as the USA getting respectability as a soccer power and in 2026 is where the USA are considered the favorites and have players who physically AND technically talented.

Side Rant: I’m going to miss ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup and sad that I have to watch Fox Sports after this World Cup to 2022 to get my soccer fix. I know there’s talk of the U.S. getting the 2022 World Cup if FIFA takes it away from Qatar, but if that’s the case, I want to be in a different country like Germany or England and have the United States get it in 2026. When the negotiating window opens for 2026, I want either ESPN or NBC to outbid Fox for those rights. People might not like ESPN, but I would rather have them covering a sporting event than the goons at Fox.

The question should not be if Soccer has arrived in America. It arrived a long time ago. What people should be asking is when (not if) the U.S. becomes a global soccer power? We have 12 years to know.