Welcome to the New Digs

Just starting to get settled in here. Thanks for making the move with me. Posts will start flowing soon, but please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, as well as any tips on working with WordPress.


I’m a victim of shuffle mentality. And since few bands put out “albums” anymore (as opposed to a collection of singles), its not a real problem. Except we lose sight of how brilliant an album can be.

I just listened to “Abbey Road” front to back for the first time in years. Amazing. Needs to be done at least once a year, I think.

So, what did you take for granted today?


Pushing the Spectrum (from Seth Godin) makes a subtle but important statement today.  He references how parts of our society has tried to turn fear into hatred.  (He kindly refers to the people as “marketers,” which I suppose is technically accurate.  I’d call them something far different.)

There are a lot of blogs, news items and Facebook posts today about what happened nine years ago.  My most vivid memory, aside from the news, was checking my email.  Earlier in the year, we had taken a trip to Germany, and had stayed in small B and Bs the entire time.  That afternoon, I received an email from all five of them, letting us know they were thinking of us and that they hoped we were safe.  These were not long stays, mind you.  Two of them were just overnight.  But it was that outreach and support that I remember most.

In contrast, I still receive mass emails from time to time about boycotting “Arab businesses,” about how much everyone in the Middle East wants to destroy us, about how horrific it would be for a religious/community center to be built near ground zero.  Rarely are these well thought out, logical missives about our world.  Instead they propagate hate and fear toward a race of people who, for the most part, want little more than to live in peace, celebrate their faith, raise their children and enjoy each other’s company.  

There are extremists in all corners.  Just as most of us, I hope, would not want to be judged based on a “preacher” who slings hate and burns religious books that are different from his own, I hope we have moved past a time when we judge all members of a religion based on the actions of a few extremists.  

Special Discount to HRPS Global Conference 4/25-4/28

The Human Resource Planning Society (HRPS) is a strong network of more than 3,000 HR thought leaders and executives representing the world’s most prominent businesses. As a speaker at the HRPS Global Conference, April 25-28, 2010 in San Diego, I’m pleased to offer you a discounted rate to attend.

I’m excited to present my session, Human Resources Operational Excellence – Leveraging the Opportunities of the New Economy, on April 27th at 1:30pm. I hope you can join me to hear about our work in implementing a structured methodology for improving HR processes and driving hard savings for the business.

If you haven’t yet registered, the conference has provided a $150 discount code to attend for connections of speakers. Register online by April 16 and enter SN4 when prompted ($150 discount applies to non-members only).

In addition to my session, keynote headliners include the most influential strategic thinkers and leaders from a variety of global companies:

• John W. Boudreau, PhD, Center for Effective Organizations
• Shannon Deegan, Director of People Operations, Central Staffing & Business Development, Google
• Rich Fante, President, and Lynn Tetrault, EVP, HR & Corporate Affairs, AstraZeneca USA
• Sandy Ogg, CHRO, Unilever
• Satish Pradhan, EVP, Group HR, Tata Sons Limited
• Harold Sirkin, author of Globality
• Karen Stephenson, Business 2.0’s “The Organization Woman”
• Dave Ulrich and Wendy Ulrich, co-authors of The Why of Work

For more information, follow @HRPS or download the Global Conference Brochure for session descriptions, networking details and housing/travel resources.

I hope to see you in San Diego!

Obama appoints “Chief Performance Officer”

In the interest of keeping politics at a minimum, I won’t ask people’s opinions of the incoming administration (or outgoing, for that matter, though civil discussion is always welcome), I thought this new post was interesting enough to mention.  From Yahoo! News…

President-elect Barack Obama…named on Wednesday a former Treasury official as the first U.S. “chief performance officer” to oversee budget and spending reform.

“We can no longer afford to sustain the old ways when we know there are new and more efficient ways of getting the job done…Even in good times, Washington can’t afford to continue these bad practices. In bad times, it’s absolutely imperative that Washington stop them,” Obama said.

Obama has repeatedly promised that his administration will go “line by line” over its budgets — a task that will now fall to Killefer and Obama’s nominee to as White House budget chief Peter Orszag.

I thought it interesting to see a high level position specifically designed to make the entire system work better, though it sounds more like a finance watchdog than a Lean practitioner position.  With all the waste that the new administration expects to find, let’s hope they engage a few people who know how to clear it out and streamline the system.  That would get us past removing deadwood and start the country down it’s own Lean transformation.

A Lesson on losing from Election Day

Depending on your outlook, John McCain ran either a very shrewd and “mavericky” campaign, or an underhanded smear campaign (or somewhere in between, I suppose).  But there is no doubt that whatever your feelings on the man and the campaign, he spoke with an honesty and candor last night that is rarely matched in politics.


I am reminded of a very recent posting by Seth Godin on losing.  (He was referring to a customer, but the sentiment is the same…)


It seems to me that this is the perfect opportunity to be a statesman. This is when you earn the right to be seen as a trusted advisor, not a self-interested shill. Two months or two years from now, when you interact with that person or organization again, we'll remember that you were the one who spoke up on behalf of the competition, the one who helped us find a better fit, the clearly disinterested advisor who helped us choose between the two remaining good choices.

Your ego might not enjoy it, but in the long run, your organization will.

(Visit sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/10/how-to-lose.html for the rest.  It’s worth the visit.)


It will be interesting to see how his speech impacts the future of his career and the GOP. 

And the hits keep coming…


That’s me, hitting my head on the wall.

I need to set up new service on my Blackberry. So I drive to the mall on a Saturday afternoon to visit the company owned wireless store. Not a franchise, mind you, but an honest-to-goodness dealer. I wait my turn, then let them know what I need, all painstakingly researched online before arriving. Should be a quick transaction and money in their till, right?

“Oh, sorry. I can’t sell you that plan.”


“Yeah, they want you to order that online, so I can’t sell it here.”

But this is a company owned store, right? They get the money either way?

“Well, yeah. But I still can’t help. Sorry.”


So I head home and try to order online. Any the website would be more than happy to set me up! And send me a free phone from a small but high quality selection!

But I have my BB, so no phone for me. Save their money, save the environment, and all that. Except I can’t. No way to order new service without getting a new phone.


So I call them. I let them know who I am, what I need, and that I have done the research and really just need their help getting it set up.

No problem! Happy to help! Have you picked out a new phone? Because we can’t set up a new account without giving you a phone.


There is a happy ending. I did eventually get sent to the activation group (who don’t even have phone to give out!) and they got me set up. And I was eligible for up to 10 lines! Yeah, I just need the one, but in case I ever needed 10, they are ready to help!


Not really HR, but…

..still struck me as odd.

I’m ordering a cake for a party, and want to get a photo cake. So I ask the bakery if they do them. They said no problem, just bring us the picture.

My pics are all digital, so I asked if I could use a .jpg file. I was told no, I’d need to bring an actual photo.

What do they do then? Why, they scan the photo to make a digital copy. But they can only do it if I bring the picture in.

And no one, it seems, notices anything wrong with this system.

The thing I love about Lean is that it changes your mindset, and gets you to look at the world differently. The problem is you can’t turn it off, and end up struggling to order a cake without trying to re-engineer the whole process.

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