Friday, November 26, 2010

HR Success and Dave Ulrich

What an amazing evening to acknowledge HR success! And Management Consultancy International was there to share in the success.

AHRI is the premier human resources institute of Australia and last night was the event that celebrated all the incredible interventions, events and processes that top companies have put in place.

We were nominated in the category of HR Leadership in a Small Business and we were immensely proud to be recognized for the initiatives we have taken that made all the difference to the way in which we do business.

We were recognized for the innovative way in which we created a diverse workplace and at the same time acted in a socially responsible way. Our nomination for the award acknowledged the very different way in which we conducted recruitment and how we used a very different way of ensuring that our work environment became more diverse in its make-up.

A surprise factor at the AHRI awards - we are siting calmly and listening to the award winners being called on to the stage and next thing who walks on to the stage, none other than HR guru Dave Ulrich! And the next thing he begins to share some great insights with us!

He spoke about his simple vision for the future of HR. He says that it revolves around three simple questions - Why are we here? What do we do? How do we do it?

The answers to these questions revolve around the acronym VOLTAGE.

The V is for value.

The value that we create in a company is defined more by the receiver than the giver. In HR it is not about what we do. It is about the amount of value that we create. We need to work from the outside in. It is all about the value that we bring to the lives of the people who work in the organisation.

The O is for outcomes. We should be called the field of talent. Individual talent does not create the success of the team. If you look at the Oscars, only 15 percent of movies that win best picture of the year also have best actor awards as well. HR's job is therefore to define the capabilities needed to get the organization to be the best and to ensure that these capabilities are demonstrated. HR needs to worry less about structure and focus instead on capability.

The L is for leadership. Build a leadership brand that is filled with emotion and passion.

T is for talent. How do we create the right environment where people give their hearts and soul.

A is for align. We align our HR work with our customers. We need to question whether we are aligned with our community and with our investors.

G is for govern. Yes, we do follow compliance and governance but how do we take all this knowledge and ensure that there is productivity in the organization.

E is for expertise. We are investing in the next generation. Manage all the opposites. Manage the balance of the pendulum. Ensure that you leave things better than you found them.

Create value through VOLTAGE and in this way you will get all the elephants to dance. Ensure that all people are cared for personally and managed professionally.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Communication and presentation tips

I had the pleasure of listening to Barbara Warren from NIDA. She gave us some really good tips for using our voice well when communicating and presenting.

1. Good communication is about being aware. It is about being committed. It is about giving eye contact to bring people in. Be specific. Speak in language that is uplifting and specific.

2. Don't hold tension in your shoulders. Release your breath.

3. Voice needs space in the mouth. Voices will carry if we put sound behind it. Posture is so important for voice to carry.

4. Put your antennae up. And make sure your headlights on. Fill the room with light.

5. Be in control of yourself to be in control of your space.

6. Do lots of vocal warm-ups. Pretend to catch bees in the shower...

7. Put oomph into the voice and don't let it get stuck in throat.

8. When you umm and ahhh it is to the detriment of the quality of communication. Use your breath instead of an um and or an ah. Stretch the jaw and flatten out speech. Bring in energy.

9. Follow through and be specific - be careful about how you say things.

10. Value language and speaking face to face.

11. When you speak too quickly, modify the pace of language by breathing properly. Not just half breathing. Get our sounds right. Stay in the moment and be present.

12. Make sure you have rehearsed. Work should be polished and prepared. Adopt new habits. Talk to yourself constantly. Extend and expand to communicate in an exciting way.

13. Think of your body architecture. Words need space. Like a gym membership for your voice. Massage jaw hinges.

14. Sometimes it is good to have a level of anxiety. But you must control the nerves as well. Anxiety snowballs and breath does control it and preparation does help. If you find your voice in every sense, nerves are not there.

15. Be centered and grounded in yourself.

16. Keep doing your tongue twisters. Be courageous with words.

17. A smile is important in communication and represents openness.

18. Explore possibilities and don't over-complicate.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Frontline management

What an incredible group of participants in the Daikin Frontline Management program! They have not only learnt new skills – they have also applied them to benefit the business and to improve the way in which they work with their teams.

Here are some of their amazing success stories of what they put in to practice following attendance at the training sessions:

“The greatest asset I have gained is being able to better manage my time. I have found the simple task of starting a list of jobs to work on throughout the day has been a good way to gauge your progress for the day. I also enjoy crossing jobs off, as they are completed, as this can give you a sense of achievement.

Having defined start and finish times for meetings has also been beneficial. In the past, I could sometimes get held up for an extra half hour or so at my first or second appointment. With better time management skills, I will now make it quite clear to my customer how long I will be able to spend with them and set a clear agenda for our meeting.

Communication was a session that was also very relevant to everyone in our team. I learnt that continuing to type an email whilst trying to listen to another colleague was not only a bit rude but the message was sometimes not taken in properly or misunderstood.

It also becomes very clear that you are missing out on five or six types of non verbal communication when you don’t pay enough attention to the person relaying the message. Nowadays I will say to the message giver something along the lines of could you just hold on for a minute and I will be with you or I have to get this email or phone call, I will come up and see you to discuss whatever in ten minutes or so.

I like the phrase we were given two ears and one mouth and they should be used proportionally. Active listening was a real ear opener, for me, a few little things I picked up from this session were Place the focus of attention totally on the ‘speaker, Repeat tentatively (in your words) your understanding of the speaker’s meaning, Allow silences in the conversation and most importantly - Be aware of your body language.

Another participant comments as follows:

I have increased my emphasis on personal effectiveness. This has involved things such as;

  • Consideration of the Time Management Matrix is helping me when I am sorting out my tasks and determining the most appropriate priorities (put them in the relevant quadrant, urgent or non-urgent, important vs not so important).
  • I am paying more attention to regularly updating my To Do List and reviewing the priorities of the tasks in the list.
  • I am scheduling non-urgent tasks to a more suitable time rather than letting them distract me from current tasks.
  • I now schedule time to attend to email. This has reduced interruptions

When possible I have been trying to set SMART Goals for the planned tasks that I do. This has helped me focus on what is really required and when it is required. This is also helping me manage having a number of tasks on the go at the same time.

I was interested in the session where we discussing the differences between managing and leading, where managing deals with day to day issues and leading is more about dealing with change and setting direction.

This is very relevant to the projects that we do in IT where we are designing and implementing new processes and functionality for the business.

It is not just a matter of building something and handing it over to the business users. We need to ensure that there is effective change management so that the new development takes the business in the right direction with the right results.

The course has reiterated the importance of having a good understanding of people in order to effectively communicate and interact with them. When dealing with people I am focusing more on trying to understand their objectives and why they behave the way that they do.

When having a discussion I am trying to ask more questions in order to gain a better understanding of the situation. I am also more aware that depending upon the person I may need to vary the way that I communicate with them.

In terms of being innovative, read this wonderful story that has made a difference to customers:

- My first idea was to set up a central tenders email address. Due to numerous changes in staff and an increase in quotation requests, quotes were not going out on time and there were too many emails going between staff and there was a double up on quotes.

- I discussed with internal sales and other commercial account managers that we should have a central place for all request to come to, got feedback from all on how it should be done. I suggested a process on what would not add to anyone persons workload but make all our jobs hassle-free and assist our customers

- I received great feedback and made changes to way we monitored it. I then took the lead in getting management to set up a new email address and then notified everyone. It has now been running well and both customers and internal staff have benefited from quotes going out on time.”

Well done to the class of 2010 - may you go from strength to strength in your management and leadership skills.