In translation, HAPPY VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR!!!
In translation, HAPPY VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR!!!
There is a lot of worrying about the economy and people are worried about being the next person to let go. Mark Stelzner and Lance Haun wrote great articles about ways that either you’re going to get laid off or stay within the organization. To me, this all starts at the head of the division or the head of the company. The people in your company are not going to be perfect, but they have to mesh together. This is where a leader must step in. If I was running a company (or division), Monday Morning will be the most critical meeting for the week.
There have been studies of why we have the Monday Morning Blues. However, Monday Morning should be your “kick in the ass” moment where everyone gets rejuvenated for the work week. The leader needs to come in and needs to start greeting their employees and have an open space meeting. Everyone will share what they are doing and let everyone be aware of it. Get the administrative stuff out of the way, and then the leader can do many things to conclude the meeting:
The leader can give an original speech. Please, I do not want to hear someone quote some poet or writer. This is you and and you must set the mood for your employees that week. George Mason’s Men’s Basketball coach Jim Larranaga is the master at this:
If you’re not good at speeches, then try the pumping up your co-workers approach:
(42 seconds in)
If you’re not a pumping up your employees person, try something goofy:
Your personality will trickle through the employees and get them something to work for either they like it or not. This doesn’t assure you that you’re getting laid off, but during these tough times, don’t try to be the victim, die tryin’.
There is an aftercareer after all either by working, helping, or something that benefits someone, something, or yourself.
I stayed home knowing a lot of people would attend the “We Are One” concert. I also wanted to watch if the Arizona Cardinals would win the NFC Championship game. I saw the concert on HBO and it looked stunning (except Josh Groban). It would be a nice concert to attend, but I saw real hope in action… the Arizona Cardinals defeated the Eagles to be the NFC representative for the Super Bowl. Let me repeat it again in CAPS: THE ARIZONA CARDINALS ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!!!
I went to the DC in the morning just to see how they setup for the inauguration. I went to the Mall to soak it in (and the MSNBC booth) of what I was going to miss. After my exploration to the Mall, I headed down to Cleveland Park to have an NPR reunion with Claire, Desiree, and Emily to talk about our current lives and events. Honestly, I expected a few more people to come by, but still it is nice to see friends face-to-face in a long time, to talk about anything and reminiscing of why our NPR internship is still special after 3 years. After out 2005 Summer Intern Reunion Ball Luncheon, I headed back home. When I arived at the Vienna Metro station, I saw there was a huge line of people going to the station. The line extended from the Metro platform to the parking garage. Since this was in Vienna, I expected a lot of people from Northern Virginia to come to DC since it was one of the areas that help propel Obama to win Virginia. I thought for myself that I made the right decision not attending the event the following day.
I wanted to go to be the Mall just to be part of history. I do not mind to be in the cold, but when you have to wake up at 3AM, your Metro stop is at the end of the line, getting surrounded by people you don’t know, a bunch of knuckleheads (really), there’s a potential for trouble. I did see it on HDTV (NBC if you want to know) and it was stunning to see the crowds fill up the mall with their American flags waving. I only wished I lived in Rosslyn, that I can walk on Key Bridge (symbolism alert) to the Mall to see the event. The swearing-in ceremony was very uplifting and realistic from Obama and it seemed everyone is ready to do their service (except now since people didn’t recycle or throw away the trash in a bin). The highlights from the ceremony, for me, were the reaction from the crowd when they announce George W. Bush and Rick Warren and the benediction from Rev. Lowery. It was also disappointing that the parade didn’t have an audience because of what happened at the Senate luncheon when Senator Ted Kennedy had a seizure and the luncheon was extended to another hour. Just to let you know, Teddy’s fine, he had an episode. I’m glad the people saw Obama during the parade route, but wish they should stayed an extra hour to see the rest of the parade. Then again, it was cold and dark and the time for ballin’. Finally, it was time to watch the inaugural balls and see people bringing up their cameras to capture the moment and share it with others and tell them their photo has no light or the photo was fuzzy, and take as many pictures as they can so they can brag to their friends that they were there.
Obama tells us the work starts now. I am doing that by trying to help people find jobs. I also know this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. This is a long process, but everyone, including myself, the job seeker, and the potential employer can do this to help out the economy. Actually, I’m doing that tomorrow (or today).
It seems appropriate that we are talking about a revolution since the Inauguration is this week and a President that is eager to shake things up when Obama gets in office. There has been a lot of talk in the HR community of changing HR and there should be a revolution going on. Well, I got news for everyone…A revolution has come.
There are some companies that still prefer the old style of business and that’s fine if they’re making revenue and profit; some prefer new, creative ways; and some prefer a hybrid of old and new together. However, there should be one person who can revolutionize HR: the president.
I know HR has a bunch of ideas to share to their president (or CEO, Founder, Owner) on improving their company and make their organization attractive. But let’s get real; most companies see HR as the internal police, not the creative forces. This is where the president vision comes in play. If you want a blue-collar, basic environment, then you go to a “traditional” president. If you want someone who has an open mind and is a collaborator, then you got a “visionary” president.
If HR wants a revolution, do not look at your own department or your own employees since they have their own agenda. The president has to explain what his/her views are and if they follow up what they do. The president can do all the talk they want, but employees want to see you walk to earn that trust that you can run this company.
I know this from past experience…actually last week when my former company needed my services for a few weeks and the atmosphere changed when a new president stepped in. When I left, internal politics was strong in the organization. This past week when I came back, the company has become transparent, let go of poor performing employees, and the good employees were happy in a long time. This almost made me want head back to the cubicle (I said almost).
As an HR employee, I would ask of what should the company improve and how can the company implement it. The president should take in the information is given and decide from there. Face it, the President is the change agent of the company either by name or by example. If you’re happy about the direction, stay. If not, you decide that you want to stay for other reasons (majority of the answer is money, let’s end that discussion), or you want to pursue better opportunities.
So if you want a revolution, the ball is in your court and you alone.
This is not only the first random thoughts of the new year…it’s a SPECIAL VLOG EDITION of the Random Thoughts and I am royally going off the deep end for readers:
I’m going to begin a new series called “If I Was Running A Company…” It will be mostly HR topics on any subject that ticks. For the record, this is the second edition, the first one was last week, but I’ll call it the lost post.
First, before going into the meat of the topic, here’s a list of events people should wear suit:
Notice I never mention business in any of it. I consider business optional depending on the company culture. I’m in the minority and this would stun some people, but I’m not a fan of business suits.
I understand a business suit represents presence, taste, maturity, and professionalism from the outside. However, to me, it’s a person wearing the business suit. To follow up on my post on the interviewing process: the business suits, the interviews, the applications; the thank you letters, the follow-ups lead to one answer why they hire you: you can follow directions.
Most businesses would not care of your ideas or what you do; they would look at you that you’re clean, you have no distractions, you memorize your lines, and you said the best lines. The important thing most of the managers look at is what they are wearing. It will tell that the person is serious for the job, but in reality, you passed the evening gown edition of the pageant.
If I were running a company, I would setup guidelines of business attire. To me, here are my guidelines:
Chapter XX: Business Attire
There is a relaxed dress code; you can wear any clothing attire that you want. There are a few exceptions:
· No tank tops; no strap outfits; no bra showing; no midriffs; no see-throughs; pants, shorts, skirts must be at knee length.
· No corporate or competing logos, except ours.
· No foul language or explicit actions (i.e., a picture of a gun, picture of person in blood, sex euphuisms, and others) on your attire.
· If the attire is deemed “controversial”, the attire will be put up for a vote. To pass, it must have two-thirds majority of the employees.
· If you are doing business at their place, please follow their business attire guidelines.
What I’m showing here is the President, CEO, or Owner creating the company culture. If the President prefers business suits, people should wear business suits if they want to work there. If the President wants a relaxed nature, then the person creates that culture. The top person should set a culture that people have responsibilities but at the same time are comfortable under their skin.
What this boils down to is the mentality of what the president wants to present to customers, potential employees, and vendors. I would want people to work and not worry about their appearance. I personally do not like a business suit because I look at it as typical, uncomfortable, and a little bit of kissing up. I never felt comfortable about wearing a business suit. I’m a t-shirt and jeans guy, but I do wear “business casual” attire because I’m following the company’s guidelines. What the president needs to know to setup their company is who they are, what the others want to view him/her, and what can you bring. These three will attract employees to work because they get a sense of the comapny and most importantly, who you want.
If you want to know if you got the right person; look at the personality, mannerisms, and tone of the person. Does the person have great posture? Is the person excited for the job? Is the person humble, confident, or cocky about his/her skills? Does this person have great ideas to share? Can the person do the job? Does this person share my mission and values of what I’m doing? All these questions should interest the applicant if they want to come to work for your company. This is why people are going into social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see if their applicant’s personality and skills meet their qualifications to fit in with the company. You don’t need a business suit for that (although showing pictures of doing stupid things won’t help your cause). I would rather have my president resemble their culture and be comfortable who they are instead of trying to read a book of starting a business.
Remember,”The clothes don’t make the man, the mind and heart makes up the majority of the man.”
This week, mostly everyone is heading back to work for the new year, but also this is the time people are trying to find jobs in a month that is likely to fill positions. However, 2009 brings an unusual time where the economy is down, jobs are lost in a rapid rate, and a new administration is trying to bring hope.
This past week, I’ve been reading posts from Laurie, Frank Roche, and Clarence Ewing from GLI Press about interviewing and all three hit it on the head that almost all job interviews are a beauty pageant. You take all the preparation, find the best business suit (which I will post about it at a later time), go to the internet to find the best answer and practice and that’s all before the interview just to impress the hiring manager and the company. Tell me there’s something wrong with this process?
If I were the interviewer of a company, I would act like James Lipton bringing a stack of blue cards and ask these set of questions:
1. The Job
The first question to start the interview is, “What position did you apply for?” An easy question, but I’ve been amazed at people don’t know what positions they applied for when I called them up for a phone screen. Job seekers, please have something in writing of what positions you applied and be prepared at all times, even if you’re driving.
The second part is if you know the duties and responsibilities for the position and the last question should be “Can you handle the job?” Pretty straightforward. Just remember the key parts of the job and you can not only believe, but you will do the job. Any hesitance of those answers means good night to the job.
2. The Company
There is a reason you applied for the position. Mostly everyone will say the job. That’s wonderful, but that’s bull. From the resume and numerous profiles from you from social media, we know you’re good, but why did you apply to this organization? You know the answer from anyone else and you better have a long answer. Just saying the generic stuff like “my friend” or “I heard great things” won’t cut it. You really need an answer why you selected this company that you want to work for.
3. General Question
This question should be simple, open-ended, and an answer that has a million possibilities. This question should tell what type of person you are getting. It’s the business version of “What is Life?” I call this the Dan Pink question since he introduced me to it at the Virginia SHRM Conference in 2007.
4. “Personal” Question
This is not to ask questions about their family or any questions from the EOE survey. This question is if there is chemistry between you and the applicant. The question is about each others’ own personal interests. It can be from sports, music, games, anything. There are no right answers, but there must be something both sides either respects or adores. To me, the cohesion is much underrated in the interviewing process and should be accounted for.
With all your questioning done, then the applicant asks questions about your company and the position they applied for. Then, give a quick tour to get an image if they can work under this environment.
The interviewing process can be tedious because of how most companies’ setup. However, this can be done before the interview by what positions you are qualified and what companies or industries do you want to work for. Of course, the wild card will be the people and the culture of the company and understand there are some you fit right and some you have to fit a square into a circle.
Good Luck in 2009.
This is the time of year people will look others’ blogs. Yep, its prediction time and I’m joining the bandwagon. There are several categories I’ll go into. Let me get my psychic gear:
And here we go for the first post of 2009:
· Obama’s approval rating will be at 65% at the end of 2009. He’s going to have the benefit of the doubt, but with one slip up, the number will dip dramatically. With Obama’s demeanor throughout the election, he would never let that happen.
· At least one scandal with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
· Gas will be up to an average of $3.00 in the summer. We saw the highs of gas prices in the summer and the very low in the winter in 2008. Next year, they’ll reach at the middle.
· The interest rate will jump as high as 5%.
· The U.S. auto industry will still be down, but with Obama’s car czar in place, there will be moderate, renewed interest at the end of 2009.
· Dick Cheney will get arrested of war crimes and a trial will be pending in 2010.
· Violence will still reign in the Middle East, but with the presence of Obama as president, it will simmer, but won’t prevent that much.
· The country to watch: India. The population, bordering Pakistan, pollution, and its international relationships will make this a country all the nations will be looking out for.
· The foreign car manufacturers will still be on the downside, but will still be able to withstand after growth for the past 25 years.
· With the U.S. economy on the ropes, Russia will do it can to be a top tier power again. It will not work.
The Working Place:
· The job outlook will still look grim as companies will layoff more employees to save money and government contracts will expire after Iraq ends.
· Out in 2009: New York. Short-term in 2009: Washington, DC. Long-term in 2009: The Midwest.
· Web 2.0 will be the new training session as companies are finding ways to communicate without travelling and to attract new customers and employees.
· Phrases you’re going to hear in your company: compress workweeks and flextime.
· The company’s new best friend: the webcam.
Washington DC Sports:
· The Washington Wizards will have a top three pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Somehow, they will get screwed and won’t get a center. The Curse of Les Boulez strikes again.
· The Nationals will improve their attendance from 2008…all thanks to the Red Sox, Cubs, Mets, Phillies, Dodgers, the O’s and the Cherry Blossoms on left field in the beginning of the season.
· The Washington Redskins will be 9-7, without looking at the roster for next year, and miss the playoffs. Goodbye Jim Zorn…Hello Bill Cowher.
· The Washington Capitals will still be the Washington Capitals. My bold prediction: Eastern Conference Finals.
· Not local related, but the world has restored order with the NHL and NBA coming back and NASCAR having issues.
· Google and Rupert Murdoch will be fighting for the New York Times. The old school vs. the new school of media.
· FOX News will still be number one in the cable ratings because it’s still the only conservative network. It is the liberals’ time, but when you have CNN, MSNBC, and now C-SPAN with all day Obama coverage competing, the others have only one source.
· Syndication and voicetracking will cover the majority of the radio stations and with Sirius/XM troubles; the radio business will be trusted with this: news and “Top 40” hits.
· The movie industry will definitely be down this year after a blockbuster 2008.
· Deep and I mean deep cuts to your local networks. Local news will be nonexistent.
· We still are in a “Hybrid” revolution, not in a “Green” Revolution. Just wait two more years.
· Cell phones will see little growth in 2009. 2010 will be gangbusters and people will be patient.
· More people will have blogs, Twitters, and Facebooks. Yes, simultaneously
· The transition from paper to electronic will start in the middle of the year.
· Sadly, Rock Band and Guitar Hero will increase all thanks to the Beatles game coming out.
· For the first year, the country would be united and figure the problems out. Then the next year, we’re back to bickering and politics.
Have a great 2009!!!