Tag Archives: Shopping

HR and cooking with onions

An HR metaphor.   

This may sound crazy, but I think the metaphor works.

Sometimes,  working with people reminds me of cooking  with onions.

  • Some people have very thin skin.
  • Some people are sort of sweet and spicy, but every once in while you get one that is just plain stinky and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
  • Dealing with people problems is exactly like peeling  an onion.  You have to keep peeling away the layers, never quite sure when you are going to be done.
  • It’s inevitable that  some of them will bring you to tears.

Why can’t working in HR be more like eating bacon anyway?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Books from the business library of Michael VanDervort

Cover of "Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: ...

My business library
My business library (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

Books titles from the business library of Michael VanDervort

I read a lot.  I consume information on a lot of different topics. I am a packrat when it comes to books.  Therefore, I have a lot of books sitting around, collecting dust until I need them for some research, or to share with someone.

Today’s post is the launch of an occassional feature – 10 titles from Michael VanDervort’s business library.  

The premise is simple.  I’m going to take you on a tour of my dusty library shelves, ten books at a time.   There will be no topical listings, no lists by author name, no Dewey Decimal system.  We’re just going to wander randomly down the shelves until I run out of books.  Maybe you will see something useful here that you haven’t seen before.  If so, be sure to let me know!

10 titles from Michael VanDervort’s business library for 9/21/2012

  1. The Little, Brown Compact Handbook by Jane Aaron – answers questions about writing, technology, style, grammar, punctuation, research, and documentation.
  2. The truth about getting the best from people by Martha Finney – covers employee engagement and building self-motivated, innovative passionate teams. I’ve blurbed for MArtha.
  3. The CIGNA Healthcare Little Teal Book of Health, Fitness & Well-Being by Gary Savage, Terry Jarvis, and Sara J. Henry – title is self-explanatory.
  4. Leadership and Self Deception: Getting out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute – How self deception can kill performance.
  5. Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership fable by Patrick Lencioni – deals with destroying the barriers that turn colleagues into competitors.
  6. Seven secrets of managers who avoid employee lawsuits by Stephen D Bruce PH.D. – tips on avoiding employee lawsuits.
  7. The Automatic Millionaire: A powerful one-step plan to live and finish rich by David Bach – common sense advice on financial savings, investment and retirement.
  8. HRCI Certification Guide,  Eighth Edition by Raymond B. Weinberg, SPHR – out of date study guide for SPHR prep.
  9. Reversing the Ostrich approach to diversity: pulling your head out of the sand by A.S. Tolbert – I bought this a long time before I ever met Joe Gerstandt.  I like Joe’s approach better.
  10. Recognizing Richard Rabbit: A fable about being true to yourself by Peter Weddle.  I got this book when I first met Peter Weddle. This was the same event where I first met Laurie Ruettimann.

Here are a couple of general observations about this list.  I have met and even worked with a couple of these authors directly as a result of writing this blog.   I also seem to like book titles that have the word “fable” in the title.



Enhanced by Zemanta

Never stop marketing, even at the Starbucks coffee counter

French Press $3.75  best deal going at @starbucks
French Press $3.75 best deal going at @starbucks (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

Your Barista is also a marketer

I was up early this and went over to the local Starbucks for a Venti dark roast as I do most mornings.  I owed Buzz Rooney a blog post, so I took my iPad and sat down to write that, instead of getting a to-go cup like I usually do.   This led me into an interesting experience.

About 7:15 am, all these people rolled up into the Starbucks and started pulling chairs together.  It became quickly obvious that I was sitting about 3 feet from a gathering of Starbucks baristas about to engage in some sort of meeting.

Turns out it was a meeting related to the introduction of a new product, and a tasting.  The  person conducting the training had glasses, and samples, and some very interesting notes to share about the products.   I found it fascinating to eavesdrop on the training process, as they shared tastes of the drink, provided information on the caloric content, the sugar content, and even details on how caffeine was in the drink.  (More than you would get from a soda, but not as much as you would get in a regular Starbucks coffee).   He solicited questions and comments on the taste, and asked the baristas to discuss ways to suggest the drink to customers.

It’s very clear that people slinging cups of coffee at Starbucks are expected to be more than just coffee makers and smiley faces.  They are product experts and product marketers as well.  That’s how great companies get it done today.   Marketing begins on the floor, or behind the coffee counter!

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to create legendary business tales (kind of)

 The Legend of the Golf Box

English: Fairway wood positioned near golf ball
English: Fairway wood positioned near golf ball (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was at a conference earlier this week.  At dinner, I was part of a conversation whether golf was still important as a business networking opportunity.   The consensus seemed that it was, but for just slightly more than half the people in the room.

I haven’t played golf in nearly a decade.  So naturally I was a little surprised to receive a box of Max-Fli golf balls via Klout.   I’ll give them to someone who can use them, and spread my largesse and influence.

The last time I played golf, I going to Hilton Head  for a  week of business meetings and boondogglery at Hilton Head Island, which has some of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses in the world.

If you really want to play there, you should be a good golfer, with the right equipment – PING clubs and the like.

I was schlepping a set of mash-up set of clubs, assembled in pieces from garage sales, hand me downs, and a new putter purchased K-Mart after the head fell off the old one a few years before.  If they had their own brand, it would have be something like PONG.

I didn’t travel to golf, and I didn’t have one of those plastic travel cases for schlepping clubs around the globe by air.

I took my luggage and my clubs to the airport, where Delta employees sold me a cardboard shipping box for my clubs for something  like $10.

en: Justine Ezarik making funny faces. origina...
en: Justine Ezarik making funny faces. original description: She's a cyborg that sustains on phones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t begin to describe the looks of bemusement on the faces of my colleagues when I showed up at the shuttle to the hotel/resort with a set of junky clubs stored in a cardboard box.

It was a priceless moment, but it wasn’t the best business impression.  It was more the kind of moment that leads to work stories that never die.  Like they say in those commercials, if you lose in Vegas, you sell your hair to a wig shop.  Don’t sell your hair to a wig shop.

In my case, the “don’t be that guy” rule is don’t schlep your clubs to Hilton Head in a golf box.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Fortune Cookie Leadership

Photo of an open fortune cookie
Image via Wikipedia

Management wisdom for the ages

I had lunch at Ling’s Chinese Buffet yesterday, and finished the meal in the traditional way you end meals at most Chinese restaurants, with a fortune cookie delivered with my bill.     Everyone loves cracking those bland cookies open to see what the enclosed slip of paper will say.

Personal Leadership insights

You know, profound leadership insights like:

“You were born with the skill to communicate with people easily.”

“Keep in close touch with what your competition is doing.”

“Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.”

“Your skill will accomplish what the force of many cannot.”

My personal leadership epiphany

My own personal fortune was just as profound as those above:

“The one rowing the boat doesn’t have time to rock it.”

In other words, if you are busy engaged in doing the work required to get something done, you won’t have time to think about how the work is being accomplished.   The fortune cookie implies that you can’t provide leadership and do things at the same time.

Obviously, I am not meant to multi-task.

Thanks fortune cookie for simplifying my life!

What was your favorite fortune cookie saying?  Share it in the comments!

Enhanced by Zemanta

The new LinkedIn Fail Whale

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Sorry, that is too many connections…..

The message from Mountain Lakes, Wow, that is one large network, dude!

I tried to use the rather cool new LinkedIn Network visualization tool and this is what it looked like.  You kind of have to wonder why they can’t handle bigger networks?

From Drop Box


Enhanced by Zemanta

In memoriam

Image by feeliz via Flickr

I am on bereavement leave today.

I am flying to Detroit to hug my children and grand-children, and my ex-wife, Ali. I am also going to say goodbye to a woman that I knew before any of them.

I first met her when I was working as a short-order cook at a restaurant in Detroit called the Clock.  It was a 24/7 get breakfast anytime sort of coffee shop.   A new waitress started working the third shift.

She smoked a lot, cursed more than most of the other help, and it wasn’t long before some of her kids started working at the place as well.   They all called her “Gert”.

She worked circles around everybody in the place, because she supporting a family of 12 people o the tips she made.  I was 16 at the time.  I found out later that she and my own mother had worked together several years before at another Clock restaurant in Clawson, Michigan, which is where I am going to see her today for the last time.

I wound up marrying her daughter in 1979, and adopting her grandchild, the first of so many that I can’t even count that high.

The last time I saw this woman was in May 2009, when we watched my son Eric get his diploma from Indiana University.

Over the last thirty seven years,  I have spent a lot of my life around this woman.

Today, I am going to say goodbye.

Rest n peace, Eileen Gertrude Pingle.

Enhanced by Zemanta

S’up Beaches? Sand and surf in Florida!

Just so you know, Florida is not dead yet, despite all the rumors of our impending demise.   I went over to Clearwater Beach this morning, and hung out.  The water was still gorgeous, the sand white and newly cleaned.   Crews were putting out the big beach chairs, and the essential beach umbrellas, not a luxury in the Florida sun in June.  What IS a luxury is to live somewhere with such wonderful natural treasures in your back yard.   It is an awful waste to take these resources for granted, which I often do in my busy life.

I am glad I didn’t do that today.

We have been banged around by the economy, and the oil is slowly floating our way, but today was a great day to sit in the sun  and sand, just read a book.   I shot some video too.   check it out below.

We ain’t dead yet.  C’mon down and visit.

Enhanced by Zemanta

How Warren Zevon defined my life

The lobby of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Image via Wikipedia

Quirky, a little off kilter, and talented

Apropos of nothing, really, lyrics like this are the reason I miss Warren Zevon.  The very last line of this song is very often the story of my worklife, resulting in not so much balance.

He probably should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Well, I went home with the waitress
The way I always do
How was I to know
She was with the Russians, too
I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this

I’m the innocent bystander
Somehow I got stuck
Between the rock and the hard place
And I’m down on my luck
And I’m down on my luck
And I’m down on my luck

Now I’m hiding in Honduras
I’m a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
The shit has hit the fan

Is there a line from a song that sums up your worklife?   Care to share, I’d love to hear!
Enhanced by Zemanta

The Mighty Men of HR

I am Mr. July

OMG, what have I done???

Take a look at the video below and you will quickly find out!

This video shows some of the “goods” that are part of the 2010-11 Men of HR Calendar, brought to you by TRU Events .  All proceeds from the calendar will go towards Haiti Relief and Orchid Cancer Appeal.

The Men of HR

They might not smile; they might be gruff
Their skin’s like leather; they act real tough.
They’d like you to think they’re media stars
But they’re just a bunch of softies…
They’re the Men of HR

The Men of HR from Geoff Webb on Vimeo.

Enhanced by Zemanta