Monthly Archives: November 2010

In Thanksgiving of Mentors

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

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In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve been reflecting on people from my past professional lives for whom I am deeply grateful, mentors all.  As is the nature of relationships, some I had the good fortune of knowing and working with for many years, while others I knew closely for only a short time.  Whether our time together was long or short, each has had a lasting impact on me personally and professionally.

What Is A Mentor — and Where Do They Come From

The dictionary defines “mentor” as: Continue reading

To Really Help Our Organizations, Should HR Go “Back to the Future”?

Back to the Future

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During the past few weeks, I’ve happened to see a few mentions of the classic, 1980′s movie, Back to the Future — which got me to thinking, oddly enough, about human resources.  In the movie, the hero — Michael J. Fox — had to go back to the past in order to help his family and community in the future.  Putting the notion of time travel aside, I’ve been wondering if this might be an apt metaphor for what HR needs to do in many organizations — i.e., to go “back to basics” in order to help the organization move forward.

Being Cutting Edge or Going Back to Basics — Which Is Needed?

In so many HR departments, there is a constant worry about things like “are we being strategic enough?” and “how can we get a seat at the leadership table?” Continue reading

To “Fix” Performance (and Help Employees), Remember Maslow

Diagram showing the hierarchy of needs based o...

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As I was working with a manager recently, discussing strategies for improving the performance of a good-performing  employee who recently seemed to be “cracking” under the pressure, the “light bulb” went on for me.  In that moment, I was struck by the impossibility of the task — or, at the least, the noble-but-misguided way we were approaching the task.  There we were, trying to fix what appeared on the surface to be a “job performance” problem — never recognizing that the real issue was something far different.  All I could think to say was, “Maslow was right.”

Maslow Was Right

“Maslow?” the manager asked. “The guy in accounting who always gives everyone a hard time about their expense reports?” he asked.  Continue reading