Tag Archives: Atlanta

Pick your business super power: Flight or Invisibility

Take flight or remain out of sight


English: Logo from the radio program This Amer...
English: Logo from the radio program This American Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I heard an interesting discussion on National Public Radio yesterday afternoon.  Essentially it was a discussion around the following question:


“Which superpower would you rather have, Flight or Invisibility?”


While the conversation on the NPR show (“This American Life“} wandered far afield as they asked this question of different people, and here is the gist of what they found in during the interview:


John Hodgman conducts an informal survey in which he asks the age-old question: Which is better: The power of flight or the power of invisibility? He finds that how you answer tells a lot about what kind of person you are. And also, no matter which power people choose, they never use it to fight crime


Turns out that most people will choose the power of flight if they are answering the question in public or in a group.  It seems that flight is the more noble answer, conveying the image that as a person we want to soar or rise up.  Makes sense, right?


When asked the same question and answering privately, most people choose invisibility, indicating that they would use their ability to do sneaky underhanded things that they fantasize about, but wouldn’t want to be seen doing (or risk the embarrassment of being caught.)  Things like shoplifting, or being able to sneak in unobserved and watch a celebrity having sex.

Sounds about right to me. Human nature, it’s a beautiful and sneaky thing.

I believe most of us work hard at being better people.  Of course, we all have things large or small we do that we know we shouldn’t be doing, or wouldn’t want someone else to know about.   Public scrutiny and the desire to be better both help to keep us in line.

There are other reasons for choosing one power over the other.  I posted this on Facebook and has some interesting choices shared by some HR peeps we all know and love.

One of the comments was charming and sweet.

 “Until I met John, it would have been invisibility. Now, it’s definitely flight!  “I just wanted to be invisible so nobody would see me and I could have peace and quiet. I never really thought about being invisible so I wouldn’t get caught.”

and then there was this pearl of wisdom from Matthew Stollak

 “The problem with flight is breathing, particularly as one goes fast, plus all the world’s detritus and insects flying in your face.”

Personally, I’d choose flight so that I could head for home as soon as my business trip was over, and so that I wouldn’t have to undress for the TSA guys in Atlanta 5-6 times a  month.  Which power would you choose, and why?  Hit me up in the comments.

And as they mentioned on This American Life, while you thinking over which power you want, consider this:

Who do you want to be – The person you hope to be or the person you fear you really are?

Also, go check out my friend Karla Porter’s blog and what she wrote on the same topic.


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Hey buddy, can you spare a dollar? (To end world hunger in the next five years)

End world hunger in the next five years

I’m going to break it down for you like this.  This isn’t a blog post.  It isn’t about labor relations. It isn’t about HR.

It’s a blatant request for you to donate a dollar.  I’m going to SHRM National again this year, and a bunch of my friends are playing kick ball, and trying to raise $5,000 for #NoKidHungry. 

Can you spare $1 and help me out?

 Get the rest of the info from my pal Dwane Lay down there:

SHRM Kickball 2013 SHRM Kickball and No Kid Hungry

There is, deeply embedded into our collective psyche, the drive to do good.  Specifically, good for others, for those who can’t do for themselves.  And good in a way that can change someone’s life.  Last June, at the SHRM Annual conference in Atlanta, Dovetail sponsored a small hockey game in the park.  Aside from earning the players some strange looks, the game generated hundreds of dollars for Atlanta Mission.  You can read more here if you like.

This year, we have had more time to plan and more people asking to be part of the event.  We’re proud to share that we will be repeating our event, though in a different venue and format.

 Sunday, June 16th, Dovetail Software and Dice will be sponsoring SHRM Kickball 2013 to benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign.  We will be playing in Grant Park in Chicago, and have an all-star list of social media personalities making up the rosters.  We couldn’t be more proud of the cause for which we play, or the people who have jumped at the chance to be part of the event.  We have a target of $5,000 this year, a tough be reachable goal.

To make a donation, even of just a few dollars, please click here to visit our fundraising page.  No amount is too small (or too large) to make a difference. 

No Kid Hungry connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending childhood hunger a national priority.  This year, more than 16 million children in America will face hunger. That’s one in five. NKH is working to connect hungry kids with the food they need to grow and thrive.

Every dollar you donate will make a huge impact for kids. In fact, just $1 can help connect a child with 10 meals.  Our goal of $5,000, while lofty, is reachable, and will have a tremendous impact!

There are other ways you can get involved as well.  Here are two great resources from No Kid Hungry you can check out:

No Kid Hungry Action Center: In conjunction with the release of the documentary,  A Place At The Table, NKH has developed a national Action Center where you can find ways to make an immediate impact in your communities. Their founder and Executive Director, Billy Shore, and National Spokesman Jeff Bridges are both featured in A Place At The Table, and the Action Center is a how they help supporters who are ready to act. If you’re passionate about ending hunger like we are, I hope you’ll see the film with some friends, and find actions to take in your area.

Crowdsourced School Breakfast Map: NKH recently released a study showing that kids who eat school breakfast miss less school, do better on standardized tests and are more likely to graduate from high school. They have created a Breakfast Changes Lives infographic that shows the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast. But far too few schools are offering breakfast programs that effectively reach kids who need them. So they have created a map of 115,000 public, private and charter schools across the U.S. and are looking for our supporters to call their local school and help map an unprecedented look at school breakfast in America. They reached their goal of mapping 10,000 schools by March 31, and we have 20,000 schools in our sights. Please consider calling your local school and writing about your findings and experience.


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2012 Illinois HR Conference (#ILSHRM12) – They’re on a mission

Illinois SHRM – pretty damn good


I’m told the guys in the picture above are John Jorgenson (@JKJHR) and Dave Ryan (@DavetheHRCzar).  I can neither confirm or deny, but they wound up on my phone sometime in the past few days.

I just got back home from the 2012 HR Illinois State Conference, known in savvy social media circles as #ILSHR12.

That means this post is the obligatory post conference wrap post that everyone who is on an event social media team needs to put together.

Here’s my #ILSHRM12 top ten list of the things I liked a lot during the conference.   Please note: it’s not a ranking list, and there is no fancy selection methodology.  It’s just the stuff I liked and some thoughts on those things.

I’ll summarize the whole event like this:  John, Dave and the rest of HR Illinois leadership team are on a mission. They are on a mission to  provide a great HR and social media conference experience, and they delivered again this year.

1.  The inclusion of unconference type events into the mainstream HR conference event.  Think live internet chats, tweetup, and pre-con events.

2.  Wireless access (Secure and branded) throughout the event.

3.  Awesome keynote speakers including  Cy Wakeman, Libby Sartain and Talent Anarchy.

4.  Social media lab run by Social HR, providing one to one assistance to conference attendees wanting to know about social media.

5.  A beautiful facility at Drury Lane.

6.  Great networking opportunities through out the event.

7.   Coffee, drinks and snacks were plentiful and available throughout the day.

8.   The conference continued to raise the level of social media adoption.

9.  Very diverse social media team, including newbie attendees Buzz Rooney and Chris Fields.

10.  Faux tattoos.

11.  Attendees from other states, as SHRM National, #TalentNet, and #Tchat

12.  William Tincup, Curtis Midkiff, Paul Hebert, Craig Fisher, Trish McFarlane, Steve Boese, John Sumser, and a myriad number of others.

This was a great conference again this year, and part of my annual HR conference trinity which is made up by SHRM, IL SHRM and HR Florida.  If you are in near Illinois and not taking time to attend, you are depriving yourself.

Up next, the big show in about two weeks – HR Florida.  #HRFL12.   See you in Orlando.


What would @JKJHR do?

Deep thoughts
Deep thoughts (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

If I were @JKJHR for a day, I’d go to #ILSHRM12!  

I wanted to post on something very important today.  I will be attending the Illinois SHRM State Conference again this year as a part of their social media efforts, for which I am appropriately honored and grateful to one individual.  

That would be John Jorgensen.  John is a sort of HR philosopher/king.  If you don’t know him, you should get to do so as soon as possible.

 In fact, I’m so grateful I am going to make John the first guest star of my new very irregular series entitled”If I were ___ for a day, I’d____”.    So using the power of Twitter and crowd-sourcing, and without further ado,  here is what the Friends of John Jorgensen had to say.

If I were @JKJHR for a day

  •  If I were @jkjhr for a day, I’d watch Gettysburg movies and root for the Big 10 – Tara Mauk Arthur
  • If I were @jkjhr, I’d wear Iowa clothes. Ugh! – Matthew Stollak
  • If I were @Jkjhr, I’d hug everybody. – Brad Galin

Unfortunately, everything else submitted was unprintable due to the “G” rating of this blog. 

If you want to hear the rest of the gory details, you’ll have to register for the Illinois State Conference and come see me there.  Go do that now.




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Score! Hockey, #SHRM12, Gladwell, Collins, Seinfeld and VanDervort

Hockey and SHRM, wait…what?

Here’s a crazy little thing some of us who love HR and hockey did at #SHRM12 this year.  

 What you may ask?

Street hockey on grass in 95 degree weather in Atlanta, rather than being insde the Exhibit HAll scoring free drinks and major swag.   That’s what!

Oh yeah, I’m mentioned in the video along with some other people who are nearly as famous as me, like Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Collins, and Jerry Seinfeld.  

Check it out to see what this bunch of #HRpuckheads was really up, and maybe even help out some great folks at a charity in Atlanta while you’re at it!



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SMFT – Transparency or Invisibility?

SMFT (Photo credit: MMICHAELL)

Thoughts on SHRM and Transparency

If you haven’t seen it, you should go read the post by Shauna Moerke  that she called The Ugly of #SHRM12.  It’s a pretty thoughtful blog piece on a touchy topic that got very little play in the blogosphere during all the well-deserved hoopla surrounding the 2012 SHRM conference.

John Hollon gives a more straight up media spin on the same topic over on TLNT. Bottom line, the SHRM Members for Transparency are running their own slate of candidates to try to take over the SHRM Board of Directors.

If you would like to know more about this group and their agenda, you can find all the information on the SHRM Members for Transparency website.

Personally, I’ve had some odd experiences with this group, and am not sure that supporting an old guard of leaders is the way to pave a new future for SHRM.   What I find much more fascinating is the fact that in a year with nearly eighty bloggers present at the conference, there was so little attention paid to this group.  I’m not sure if that speaks to more to relevance of their issues, or to the fantastic job that SHRM did with incorporating the social media sphere into the conference experience.

A couple of years ago, I found the view of this group intriguing and worthy of consideration.  Not so much anymore.

Full disclosure:  I was invited to the press conference, but informed Kate Herbst, Director of SMFT that I was unable to attend due to my volunteer leadership commitments to SHRM.

What do you think –  is SMFT relevant or not?

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Taking the secret formula out of the vault at #SHRM12

SHRM, social media and the secret formula

The new World of Coca-Cola
The new World of Coca-Cola (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Atlanta seems to be the Silicon Valley for the development of secret formulas.  For over 125 years, Coke has kept their most closely guarded trade secret in a vault, locked away from the public.  It is only recently that they have made it a little more open to the public when they opened the new Vault of the Secret Formula experience at the World of Coca-Cola.

After getting home from #SHRM12 yesterday, I realized that SHRM been holding onto it’s own secret formula for social media for at least a few years.  Like Coke, they decided to make it a little more available to the public HR community in Atlanta this year.

Here’s the really cool thing.  I got a chance to look at the formula and write it down.   I’ll probably be banned from SHRM for life, but I’m revealing that formula right here, right now. (well actually – after the musical jump)

SHRM’s secret formula

Here is the proprietary information from SHRM that I promised to reveal.  Don’t tell anyone else, ok?

(4)  : Hn ! SnC2 = C2n/Sn is the projective and birational morphism mapping each I 2 Hn to the corresponding
algebraic cycle (I) = [[P1, . . . , Pn]]

Oh crap, that’s the Chow morphism, not the SHRM secret formula. Wrong session notes, I guess.

Here is the SHRM secret formula for real.

Curtis Midkiff + DICE + the “All in” HR bloggers + a receptive membership = Awesome #SHRM12

Every state and local chapter that is part of SHRM should take note of this formula, and put it to work.

It’s magical, even if you can’t clone Curtis Midkiff.  Let’s break down just what the hell I am really talking about here into the basic elements of the formula.

Social Media Manager

Curtis is the social media manager for SHRM.   He’s been working tirelessly for the past few years to get SHRM where they are today in regard to social media.  Your chapter may not be able to hire Curtis, but you can find your own social media manager.  Several state and local chapters already have established such a position, but not enough.  Every chapter should be finding someone in your area to take over a leadership position that provides community building, promotion for the chapter, and skill development for your membership.

Conference Partnership

Dice did a fabulous job in supporting the growth and development of the HR profession this week in Atlanta.  They didn’t sell their product. They supported our profession in a new way.  In doing so, they have built incredible credibility with me, and many other HR social practitioners.  They made a long play here, and I believe the benefits will be immense down the road.  We should all be challenging our conference partners to do the same for at the state and local level.

Social Media teams (bloggers and that ilk)

There were about 80 bloggers present and talking about what was happening at the conference, sharing information with connected HR pros who couldn’t attend, and helping to promote the vendor offerings.  Here are the metrics on why that matters.  The stats for the #SHRM12 hashtag were 25,000+tweets, 103 million impressions, 3,800 people engaging in the conversation, and a potential reach of nearly 5.5 people.  All that in five days.  That’s impressive.

Engaged membership

We still have a long way to go on  building the competencies, but it is clear to me that the HR profession is now aware of the need to understand social media and how it is affecting the workplace.   Hundreds of people stopped into the Hive for social media training and advice from tech savvy volunteers.  I put in about eight hours of volunteer work there myself during the conference.  The hunger for knowledge was apparent.  Chapters have to take the lead on this and start promoting the development of social media skills in your members.  This formula only works when you provide the  opportunity, and the members take advantage of it.

SHRM National has given us a model to make our great profession better.  Now we need do some heavy lifting of our own, and leverage our professional skills to the next step through similar efforts at the state and chapter level.  Resources are available, if you only look for them.

I know this was long, and a touch preachy, but it matters.

Go ahead, tell me what you think.


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Tattoos are the new business card

Do you think this tattoo trend is sexy or silly?

tattoo # 4 - finished!
tattoo # 4 – finished! (Photo credit: Tracy Lee)

It’s  been a great couple of days here in Atlanta! Spent mostly doing volunteer work for SHRM in their social media hub, and  spending time with friends, old and new.  It’s the best part of the conference for me.  It’s also the most fun.

Here’s a link to a wry and witty post by my buddy Paul Hebert, who says he really doesn’t do HR.  Apparently he just likes to hang around with us and party.  Check out his “HR outsider” perspective on #SHRM12, especially his comment on tattoos.

Speaking of tattoos,  I attended the #SHRM12 Tweetup that was sponsored by Glassdoor last night, and discovered a new networking ritual.  Apparent,y HR people no longer need to exchange business cards.  We prefer to show each other our tattoos.  It’s different. It’s fun. It’s even sexy.  I know this because one HR lady told me its floral design thigh tattoo was sexy as she modeled it for me and several other people while waiting in line for drinks.

I found out anther thing  about HR people last night.   We don’t adapt well to change (Jim Collins just said “change” five times in ne sentence!).  Drinks at the Tweetup were widely available for the VIP. Hour last night. They were free inside.  They were only available for cash outside on the patio, where it was much cooler.  This caused a lot of consternation.  People were pissed and a bartender mildly abused.  It all ended well though, after about the second drink round.

That’s when the tattoos started coming out.  A young woman seated at the bar suddenly turned to me, pointed at her thigh and said: “See my tattoo, do you think it’s sexy?”   She then shared a couple more on her arm and wrist.  I wound up baring my left leg to show her my tattoo.  We were not the only people doing this at the event.

Tattoos – the new ice breaker, or perhaps the new business card.  Here’s my tat, and here’s the story behind it.

Yes, for the record, I have one. It’s a winged lizard, on my left leg.  No photos available.

How about you?


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A blogging tempest before #SHRM12, go figure!

English: Two examples of Sadler "Brown Be...
English: Two examples of Sadler “Brown Betty” teapots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Teapots are shaking as America  and the United Kingdom tremble over a blogging controversy

Ok, it’s a little more serious than that. I haven’t seen a mini-tempest like this for a while, and I’m happy to have helped stir the pot!

Big discussion in a blogger group on Facebook and over on HR Fishbowl about the blogger-vendor relationship at HR conferences, revolving around the 2012 SHRM Conference in Atlanta where I will be blogging .

You really should go check out these two posts by Charlie Judy “SHRM Blogger Beware” and a rebuttal post from Jackie Abramian, a guest blogger  the vendor side which is titled “Vendors and Bloggers: Locked in Love and Hate.”

Here some of what I had to say on the topic.

I’ve shared some of this with Jackie privately via email but here are some general suggestions and observations:

Agencies would be better served by HR bloggers by working to develop on-going relationships, rather than random once a year blasts through SHRM. Do stuff like working with us to involve us on an on-going basis with your clients and their products throughout the year via facilitated chats on Twitter, Google Hangouts, and other forms of new media. Many do that now, but there is more market.

Support our blogs. Comment there. Join our dialogues, and have your client/partners do the same. We’re a community of professionals, not a marketing channel. Approach us from that viewpoint.

In the HR blogosphere, many of us are practitioners and we do this for love and to help advance the profession. I rarely get paid directly. for anything I do on the blog. SHRM is comping me a press pass to the conference, and I am paying my own travel expenses which will be well over $1000. Just my POV as a practitioner with a day job and a lot of passion for my profession.

I echo Charlie’s viewpoint to a certain extent. We are there to share the SHRM conference with our readers, and while the vendors are important, the products they sell and the briefings are really that interesting to readers on my blog anyway.

The other part of it is, as bloggers we get asked to give a lot of free promo, and don’t get much back in return for our time. You and your agency get paid for the time you spend, but we don’t.. Not suggesting you should pay us, but somehow the quid pro quo of the investment needs to be a more even deal. Possibly working with a group of bloggers in your customer product “whelelhouse” and treating them as insiders would be a better idea.

One blogger from the UK, @BillBoorman suggested speed briefings today (15 minutes for a group during a certain set period) – that;s not a bad idea either.

That’s my two cents.

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