Tag Archives: Nike


Endings and beginnings

“Everything has to come to an end, sometime.” 
― L. Frank BaumThe Marvelous Land of Oz  

Check out the new Michael VanDervort Blog

New blog, same dude.

Nike hat manufactured and purchased in the Net...
Nike hat manufactured and purchased in the Netherlands (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)


I started the Human Race Horses blog on July 14, 2007.   Since then I have published 1,530 posts of which a few were alright.  This post which is #1531 published on April 20, 2014 will be my last on this blog. Thanks for reading some of the stuff I’ve shared over the years.

“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.” 
― Ellen Goodman

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be publishing stuff on my new eponymously titled, more brand friendly blog. Http://MichaelVanDervort.com. I hope you’ll join me there.

Where did Human Race Horses come from anyway?

Sometimes the best way to end is at the beginning, so let’s close this thing down the way it started.  Here’s the story behind the name of the blog – How it became the Human Race Horses.

The story: When I was working with Texas Instruments, our Vice President of Human Resources when he told a story about how much he enjoyed calling from Dallas Texas to Versailles….no, not the palace in France, but Versailles, Kentucky, which is pronounced phonetically….Vur Sales. TI owned a facility there and there was a woman who worked in the HR department whose name has faded into my past, but whom Chuck the HR VP loved to hear answer the phone, because he said it always sounded to him like she was saying: “Hello, Human Race Horses, may I help you?” He was sorely disappointed that he never got to see those special race horses run around the track, although he did say that Versailles, like the rest of TI had excellent human workers, and he made do with visiting them.

In the nearly 18 years since I first heard that story, I don’t think the race run by humans at work has slowed down, and in fact, while Chuck the VP is no longer with TI, and the Texas Instruments business I worked for has been transformed fantastically, some things do remain constant. The pace of the race for human capital has increased at just as fast a pace as the levels of technology have within business, and we are at the beginning of another fantastic leap into the future. It may be HR 2.0 or HR 3.0 or just on-going process of change that drives business today, but many techniques and tools we utilize today to hire, train, develop, and retain talent are changing faster than the employees or the HR professionals that support them can assimilate.

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#HREvolution wrap: Hey, I’m being followed by monkies!

Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta in Chameli Van a...
Image via Wikipedia

 Wrapping HR Evolution from Atlanta

Forget the monkey reference, I just need a title….no wait, I am going with the monkey theme after all.  

#HREvolution is more fun than a barrel of monkies!  I really enjoyed my second swing through the trees with HR Evolution.  Great opportunities for networking, connecting, and learning.

 Here are the things I especially enjoyed:

The CHRO in the room

I am pretty convinced that Liz Gottung, CHRO of Kimberley Clark didn’t weigh 800 pounds, but for me she was the gorilla in the room coming into the event.  I was very curious to see how having a CHRO as an ‘un-keynote speaker” would work.    I remeber somebody sugegsted the idea of inviting CHRO’s to attend several months ago on the LinkedIn group.  Whoever you were/are – sheer effin’ genius, my firend!   Ms. Gottung gave us a candid view of her HR organization from the inside, pointing out warts and blemishs right along with the great accomplishments.   She shared with us that she didn’t know what she had gotten herself into when she frst accepted the invitation to to speak, and that she was a bit confounded.    She prepped by reading blogs, and most importantly for my money, stayed at the conference for the entire day, as well as having two staff members in attendance.    She also provided the best oment of the conference for me when at the end of the event she shared the feeling that she had been missing a lot of grat ideas and talent by not being aware of the HR social madia space, and the best line of the show: “I feel much more hopeful about the state of our profession today than I did yesterday.”

Personally, I hope she tells other CHRO’s about us and our online community.   I also hope to see an @LizGottung Twitter account soon so I can talk to her more!

Doing the HR Slam

 The HR Slam session was my favorite  of the four that I attended. Put together by my pals Charlie Judy and Mary Ellen Slater, a bunck of us were locked in a cage and challenged to conduct a group problem solving exercise for Taco Time, a real business located in Wyoming.   The outcomes were widely varied, heavily discussed and really a lot of fun to take part in.   Beyond the practice at problem solving,  the real value in this exercise was seeing and hearing the many different approaches people from the same field brought to bear in solving this problem.   There was a lot of scope creep, some strong differences in perception, and a lot of non-HR related solutions being thrown around.  There were also a lot really great HR solutions brought forward.

  I was little dismayed at the rather condescending way many of the people in the room viewed the roles of the restaurant workers.   Otherwise, it was a terrifc session.   The experience could easily be repleciated, and improved.  I hope we see more sessions like this one at other events.   One idea for Charlie and Mary Ellen, next time, get the real life client involved in the session for fact gathering. Think webcam and skype to give the consultants real time access.

Friends old and new

There is no better event in the HR industry for connecting face to face and building your network.   I met and reconnected with more great people than I can mention here.  If you missed this event, there will be another in 2011;  HREvolution Fall 2011 will be in Vegas, wrapped around the HR Tech Show, which as Eric Winegardner said in a tweet this morning should be #epic.   Also be sure check out the various HR Evolution blog posts over at the MonsterThinking blog.

Speaking of EWMonster, he’s the top banana in my book!

I told Eric this personally on Saturday afternoon,and it bears repeating; thanks for everything you and Monster do to support our HR social community, and the HR profession in general.  I don’t think that I know any one individual who does more to support the community and the HR profession than you do, and I salute you for it. (even though I didn’t win the iPad!)   Thanks again, Eric.

I hope none of you had your picture taken at Cheetah’s in Atlanta.   

Good night now!

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