Tag Archives: linkedin

Why hosting a great party and being a great HR person go hand in hand…

So on the weekend we hosted a party to celebrate a birthday. It was a heck of a lot of fun and large… more than 60 people came by. So what are the synergies between party hosting and effective human resources? Here are  a few to nibble on:

  • Determine your strategy: what kind of party do you want to throw? Big and boozy? Warm and intimate? Who is the party for?
  • Be prepared: there is nothing worse than a party that runs out of wine or food. Yes people will bring their own drinks..but if it’s a fun party they will stay a while and drink more than what they brought. Always keep a set of gourmet pizzas in the freezer.
  • Duty to accommodate: one must always provide non-alcoholic punch and club soda.
  • Understand human behaviour: people bring red wine, but drink white. We call this the “red wine effect”. No one wants to bring a warm bottle of white wine. We rarely buy red wine for parties.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate different styles: if someone is happily sitting on the couch, glass in hand, gazing at the party do let them be. There is no need to try and make them go all “extrovert”.
  • Leverage the strengths around you: if someone is determined to fill glasses, the chip bowls or create a playlist do let them go for it.
  •  Orientation is key to party goer success: when guests arrive show them where the drinks, food and washrooms are. Then introduce them by doing the following: “hi everyone, this is “Jim”. He works for ABC Company and loves doing the Grouse Grind/ lives in the ABC building/is from Toronto..” You can now move on as there will for certain be someone in the group that loves the grouse grind(!), works for or knows someone who works for ABC Company, or is from and/or hates Toronto.
  • Measure everything: if a good party one will receive emails and phone calls the next day thanking them for the party. There will be a few (less than five or six) bottles left. There will also be at least one broken glass.
  • Have fun!  One must not take oneself too seriously, but will take the hosting (your job at hand) seriously.

Know thyself and avoid leadership 101

rudeI read the most refreshing thing this week. Peter Drucker (uber management guru – in HBR a lot) has stated that if you want to instill leadership in an organization, focus on self management. That’s it. Nothing much else.

Now what is self management or “managing oneself”? According to Drucker, by the time you are in your mid-twenties you should be able to answer the following questions – cornerstones to understanding oneself:

  • What are my strengths?
  • How do I perform?
  • What are my values?

By knowing the answer to these questions an individual should be able to decide where they belong, or at least where they do not belong. And knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person – hardworking but otherwise mediocre – into an outstanding performer. Drucker’s premise comes from the fact that historically, as humans we did not have choice about the work we did as it was typically passed from one generation to another. And up until the 1960’s and 70’s organizations told us what to do. That time is no longer. By having so many choices the only way to determine the right choice is to know thyself. And the only way to be effective in managing and working with others is to know thyself. And when you make the wrong choices, you become frustrated, unhappy and perhaps rude (more on that later).

Another Drucker pearl of wisdom I just love is “Organizations are not built on force, but on trust. Trust does not mean people like one another. It means they understand one another”. Pheew. Stop worrying about getting people to like you and just start telling them who you are, what your strengths are, how you perform, your values and what you intend to contribute. Another pearl: “If brilliant work fails when cooperation is needed, this indicates a lack of courtesy and manners”. I love that! We spend so much time being politically correct instead of just saying that someone is rude! Rude people are often described as having  “style issues”… or ” needing some feedback”. How about saying “they are rude and need to learn some manners!” One more quote I came across this week that is worthy of a mention is: “you get what you reward and you deserve what you tolerate”. So stop telling rude people they need some feedback and need to work on their style. Tell them that they are rude in the workplace and lack courtesy and manners in dealing with others. And then ask them what their strengths and values are. Now that is leadership.

Everything feels so clear…

Diana Krall – knows how to make you love her…

diana krallI was lucky enough to be at the Diana Krall concert last night at the Orpheum. My mother is a massive fan and organized our Diana evening months ago. So lots of fun for all of us. But this woman (Diana) is so smart. A couple of quick lessons learned from Diana – or “best practices gained” as one of my colleagues likes to say…

  • Charm your audience. She opened with a song called “love being home” and sung about Vancouver and then said she loved the rain. This made us all feel quite loved and smug about the fact that Vancouver is our home too
  • Be authentic. She spoke about her mom, dad and her “aunties” in the audience. She talked about her shoes. Her two year old sons jumping off the furniture
  • She is not an island.  The beauty of jazz music is that each member has a moment to shine. She introduced each member of her band more than once and gave them lots of time for solos.
  • Take your work seriously, but not yourself. She told a story about meeting President Obama who proceeded to  ask her “so you’re married to Elvis Costello?” She also referred to herself as the band camp geek who got the rock star
  • Work hard. There is no doubt this gal is talented, but judging from her toned arms she clearly plays the piano (read: practices and performs) a lot

Key to the nursing shortage…increasing productivity

The Canadian Nurses Association released a report yesterday called Tested Solutions for Eliminating Canada’s Registered Nurse Shortage. The report findings demonstrate that if significant action isn’t taken now to eliminate the RN shortage,  the shortage will climb from the equivalent of nearly 11,000 full-time nurses in 2007 to almost 60,000 in 2022. In short, we are going off a cliff. The good news is that there is a solution. If the productivity of the RN workforce increases by just one per cent annually this will have a huge impact on the shortage, cutting it almost in half over a 15-year time frame.

Forget building fancy recruitment strategies…no need for cool swag at career fairs, overseas trips to recruit abroad. Just get more productive. But how? The typical way to increase productivity is to use incentives… talk to anyone who sells stuff what it’s like at the end of the month…But in a unionized environment how does one go about thinking about incentives? The report outlines a set of recommendations to increase productivity that include implementing a “team based approach to care” and technology amongst others. Helpful I guess, but they will require significant amounts of money and shifts in culture. And as a colleague of mine likes to say “true culture change takes at least six years”. So what to do… We need to get some good minds on this. Healthcare is going to be the issue of our generation – costs are continuing to increase and unlike education which faces similar demographic challenges, school enrollments are decreasing due to a shrinking birthrate. Not so with healthcare.  Any one have any thoughts?

Facebook blunders…

Facebook danger

Facebook danger

Today on the cover of the Globe and Mail our dear province was featured as Ray Lam, the NDP candidate for Vancouver – False Creek  resigned after some embarrassing pictures surfaced on Facebook. The pictures included Ray with his pants down showing his underwear and with a hand on a woman’s breast. Oh dear.

The dangers of Facebook… As someone who used to recruit people for a living and now advises clients on how to recruit most effectively, I know that when recruiting, googling someone and checking them out on Facebook is a “de rigueur ” part of the recruitment process. What the heck was Ray thinking? Seeking political office is asking thousands of people to select you for the important job of representing their interests within the government. It is the ultimate recruitment.

To not be “holier than though” I decided to do a quick test on myself. I do not have a Facebook page but am on Linkedin and have a corporate website. Taking a bit of a deep breath… I googled my name. What came back? Well there is a famous Suzanne Boyd – not me :). She used to be the editor of Flare magazine and there are lots of articles on her. There was my biography on the Financial Post Executive Blog (I blog for them) and on the second page of return results there was an article for which I was quoted in the Province newspaper a few months ago. No embarassing pictures…pheew. But to all of you out there that enjoy posting party pictures/naked pictures/crazy pictures on your social media sites, just know that it ain’t all that private. To those of you recruiting who are not googling and facebooking candidates – you may want to start doing it.

Poor Ray may have been a fantastic MLA… but alas, he has been taken out by Facebook.

The importance of recognition – Bo the Portuguese water dog


 Stop the press – major news announcement this weekend – Bo the Portuguese water dog moved into the Whitehouse! It was on CNN, Fox News and on the cover of the Globe and Mail along with   pundits chatting about the breed, how the labradoodle came up short and that there will be a surge in demand for Portuguese water dogs… Love it. And kudos to Whitehouse chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for not missing a political heartbeat by making sure that Bo came from Senator Ted Kennedy’s dog trainer in Virginia 🙂 That guy is an ANIMAL.  

So why the collective “awwwwww”? A dog was promised to Sasha and Malia (Obama daughters) by Dad during his acceptance speech on election night back in November.  It was a gift to them to thank them for their support and sacrifice during the campaign. What do us HR types call that? Recognition. What is recognition all about? Doing something that shows that you care and that you appreciate the work of others. That you understand that none of us are islands and that great things cannot be achieved alone. What does the collective fawning and positive press tell us? People like people who recognize others in meaningful ways for meaningful contributions. So go to it… you are not required to give someone a pooch, but perhaps a “thanks” or a “I appreciate you and all that you do”. We will all like you more and who know’s, you too may end up as a soundbite on CNN.

Ahhh another day with the automakers…


The Chrysler Fiat deal is having a precarious day as Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and a dual Italian/Canadian citizen insists that the CAW and UAW reduce their labour costs to be in line with those of Japanese and German automakers. Using terms like “historical entitlement” and characterizing labour demands as nonsensical, Mr. Marchionne insists he is willing to walk away from the deal if these demands are not met.  Sergio is clearly in the drivers’ seat. Chrysler is on the verge of bankruptcy and its only way out is to find a partner by the end of the month; once partnered they will receive seven billion dollars in bailout money. Fiat is not on the verge of bankruptcy and with a successful deal will receive a platform from which to penetrate the North American market, though they will have to maintain Chrysler brands like Dodge and Jeep. Sounds pretty good… 

But I can’t think of a single friend (maybe one?) who drives a domestic (GM, Chrysler or Ford) vehicle. I did own one – a Ford Escort… I drove it 86,000KM, put in two clutches and then sold it for $2100. My current vehicle is a 1994 Toyota 4Runner with 290,000 Km’s on it. A trade in on the Toyota will net me $2400. Hmmmmm. Lesson – don’t buy domestic – you will be poorer. Why is it that North American autoworkers are likely the best paid in the world, yet produce cars that don’t hold their value and pollute the environment on a massive scale -Ford Expedition anyone? Gimme a Prius! Fiat on other hand is kind of cute and funky – I have clear memories of a very cute boy who drove a Fiat Spider… I don’t have similar memories of Dodge caravans…   Sergio, bring costs in line and cut the deal… I look forward to “fix it again tony (Fiat)” arriving on these shores… And Sergio, with that dual citizenship I can totally see you in a nice Yaletown condo overlooking the Mini Cooper dealership 🙂