Archive for March, 2008

Thank You!

Posted on March 16, 2008. Filed under: Miscellaneous |

We just wanted to thank you for coming by and visiting.  We were hoping to serve you with great content, and the results are in. You came and enjoyed it. We’re listening and plan on more social media products for you.

How many, came? Unfortunately, because we were using as  sand box, we were limited in the plug-ins and metrics we could deploy. Therefore, some of our analysis is estimated based on prior experiences.

In just a short two weeks, the National Human Capital Institute liveblog generated 4,851 page views and approximately 2700-3400 visitors.  On its best day, March 11 (day two of the summit), the blog received 1985 page views or between 1100 – 1400 visitors.

The blog also caused some conversation on other blogs. You can track those conversations here on Technorati.

Stay tuned for more developments.


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HCI Summit Ends on a High Note – Global Talent Management Panel Discussion

Posted on March 12, 2008. Filed under: 1, HCI Summit, Trends |

Amanda here.  It’s the last session of the Summit and I’m sad to see it end, but we’re not going to go out without a bang!

Today’s panel discussion on Global Talent Management, “Attracting, Developing and Retaining Global Talent” is being moderated by Bill Craib, Vice President of HCI Communities here at the Human Capital Institute. The chock-full of talent panel includes Haiyan Wang, Managing Director of the China India Institute (see my blog post about the session she presented yesterday); Annette Merritt Cummings, VP and National Director of Diversity Services at Bernard HODES Group; Michael Beygelman, Senior VP at Adecco and Bertrand Dussert, Executive Director Human Resources at UBS AG.

00000001 Today we’re going to focus on three parts of global talent management: acquiring global talent, the local side of global talent management and global HRO & RPO. 

Attracting/Acquiring Global Talent

Is talent acquisition and talent management the same thing?

Mike – The key to talent management is to make sure you have the right talent acquisition strategy. It’s about recruiting vs talent management and like an addition to a house, they will never match 100%. It’s critical to have a holostic strategy in place to ensure a positive candidate experience and branding first with talent acquisition THEN you get into talent management. The two are not the same but they have to be a continuum.

Global vs regional acquisition.

Bertrand – Integrated strategy is the difference between the two. Regional is just that. Regional. They understand the local markets. A credible global strategy has to have some regional to it, yes, but you have to understand the overall, big picture market and take logistics, time differences, and all the little things into it.

China. Why is there so much talk about the war for talent?

Haiyan – This is very much on minds of CEOS. A recent survey reported that 40% of average Americans name China the most powerful economy in world – not true. China has 1.5 billion people and in the lands of plenty there are pockets of scarcity. There is a supply side and demand side. There is a pouring in of multi national companies and all of them are trying to grab the same talent pool, thats the demand. The supply? There are 800 million people ready to work, and it’s  cheap labor. Where an accounting manager in the U.S would get paid $45K a year, in China they get paid 10K a year. A manufacturing worker is paid $1/hour in China as opposed to $20/Hour in the U.S. Quality?  This year there are 5 million college graduates in China vs. 1 million 5 years ago. The scarcity lies in the accounting field, middle management and  insurance professionals. The skills that are the most scarce are creativity, teamwork and English communication.

Audience? 1/2 of the audience has global operations today.

What’s the biggest challenge for acquiring global talent?- Language skills and finding people with creative skills.

Bill asks: The number of fast cities not in the U.S are mostly overseas. How do we keep the people who came from overseas to stay?

Audience member from American University – We HAVE people here ready to work from overseas. We’re not hiring them. Another audience member: Do we need to bring in talent? Where are our students of today spending their time and where are they being educated? They are the weakest in math skills etc.. we have to produce more American students that want to work in the workforce, we’re forced right now to look outside the country in order to be competitive.

Haiyan says that the generation now in China is a lot more “worldy” than of her generation at the same age. There is more a convergence across cultures with attitudes and lifestyles. The national boundary is coming down more and more. Bertrand agrees and adds that we have to change the way we recruit Gen Y and X it has to be “edgier” and the promises have to shift from money alone. That requires an internal culture shift. Mike adds that the way you reach these people also has to be creative. Before a candidate has even applied they have checked Facebook, google etc and know all about you!

The Local Side of Global Talent Management

Haiyan- The difference is that with product you can divy it up any way you want. But you cant do that with HR management and that’s the same everywhere, you have to give people specific feedback, you have to have the right consequences etc… no matter where you are. But the WAY you do it does. For instance, in China, feedback should be done face to face in private vs. the US who’s workers tend to have more of a thick skin. Giving praise is the same thing. Consequences – In China getting a visa to go to the U.S. for training, means a lot for instance. Haiyan believes that the global and integration aspect is more dominant than the local one.

Mike agrees in part. There are things that are important in certain markets and areas that are not important in the U.S. You can have a global framework etc… As opposed to policies and then you rationalize at the local level what activity guides your principles. It’s not a-typical for people to be in a country for a few years and the common bond that keeps people here is irrelevant to the country they work in because they all have the same guiding principles.  Haiyan adds that people come to your company because you have the best brand or the best HR department etc… And respect what you can bring in so you can’t cater to all the local differences or you will lose the branding that attracted them in the first place. Bertrand – You have to be aware of the different dynamics that are in the different locations. Once you pull people in the door you have to be consistent. You have to have a global framework down to the same furniture and computers. The outside of the UBS buildings may look different but once you’re in it always feels and looks the same no matter where you are.Of course when recruiting you have to be sensitive to your surroundings outside of the building. 

Language barrier question form audience: How do you bridge the gap between local workers and those who re-located? The panel all agrees that English (even poor English adds Haiyan) is the global language for business.

RPO & HRO in the Global Environment

Bertrand – One fundamental and unique aspect about RPO is the outcome ribbon value change. If you spend 90% of your time finding and trying to hire the right candidate but don’t actually close them then who cares, there wasn’t any value. You HAVE to close,  RPO is outcomes driven. For Bertrand he couldn’t find a  global RPO provider that was differentially competitive so he went local. But with HRO you may be able to go global. For example payroll – no one cares if the look of your paycheck looks different as long as the money is there! Mike agrees 100% and adds an observation – Its very hard to outsource everything. That requires a lot of change. It may make more sense for you to outsource the recruitment activity rather than HR or if you have an amazing brand it may be the opposite. You have to tailor it to your company. Bertrand adds that if you do do a piece and part approach make sure to decide what responsibility for the outcomes your company has vs. the provider.

That’s it folks. It was a wonderful Summit. I hope I see you all back here next year and some new faces of those of you who couldn’t make it this year. The lights are dimming around me so I guess it’s time to say goodbye. 

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Keynote: Pfeffer Breaks Conventional Wisdom

Posted on March 12, 2008. Filed under: HCI Summit, Speakers |

IMG_1351 Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he has taught since 1979. He is the author or co-author of twelve books. In the summer of 2007, Harvard Business School Press published his most recent book, What Were They Thinking? Unconventional Wisdom About Management, a collection of 27 essays about management topics.

Pfeffer discussed causes of leadership shortages in many companies. The Department of Labor is projecting a 10 million person work shortage by the end of the decade. He cited a several critical reasons for it:

  • Demography
  • Workplace management that leaves employees unhappy, disengaged and leaving. Pfeffer cited toxic workplaces…
  • Not enough resources and attention are available to workers for development

Some statistics.

  • 40% of workers feel disconnected
  • 2/3 of workers do not identify with who they work with
  • More than 50 percent of workers don’t trust their bosses or what the company has to say

All of the many factors cited create attitudes and values that no one believes in.  And they decide to leave.  Therefore, the talent shortage makes sense.

Evidence Drives Management

IMG_1356 To resolve this issue, evidence-based management should be employed.  Today’s management defies evidence. It continues to enforce bad programs that don’t work.  Industries adapting evidence based approaches include medicine, criminology, education and social policy.

Evidence-based management is a way of thinking.  It’s:

  • Being data-driven and committed to making decisions based on the facts. 
  • Treating your organization as an unfurnished prototype: Keep experimenting
  • Challenging conventional wisdom

Pfeffer cited the airline industry, the teaching profession as examples.

Instead of evidence, companies use casual benchmarking.  Pfeffer says GE and SouthWest use casual benchmarking.  There is a copycat syndrome.

Barriers to using evidence based management:

  • Not willing to admit we don’t know
  • Unwillingness to face the facts, particularly when they are unpleasant
  • Too much information, much of it contradictory, and much of it presented in ways that make it impossible to remember
  • Belief that it takes too long
  • The fact that data and a commitment to EBM changes power dynamics
  • An implicit that management is not a science like for instance medicine is

Talent management is too focused on stars… As a result, there is a corresponding under emphasis on developing the right talent inside.  The lesson the quality movement, quality and improvement comes from the system not the people.

Failure is not an end. It’s a beginning.  Responding to failure is a growth opportunity to master the goal, master the effort.  It can lead to phenomenal development.

Moving forward, we need to invest in people, let them make decisions, and give them responsibility.  We also need to beware of grass is greener.  Scarcity makes the search very difficult. Outside talent often doesn’t fit the culture.  Hire for fit… It’s much more predictive for success. 

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HCI Summit – Susan Slater of McKesson Corp Talks Talent!

Posted on March 11, 2008. Filed under: HCI Summit, Speakers |

Amanda, live blogging on the Newman Groups session, the last in today’s Talent Management lineup.

Susan Slater, the Vice President of Talent Acquisition for Mckesson Corporation is talking about “What Does it Take to Compete for Talent? Lessons from an Industry Leader”. This session is sponsored by The Newman Group, a Futurestep Company.

Mitzi Adwell, the Talent Management Practice Leader for the Newman Group introduces Susan – Starting off with a bang as usual. 00000006

So Who is McKesson?

Susan asks: Who really knows McKesson? Don’t worry, if you’re not sure she’s not offended. TMP their partner has actually gone on the road with a camera crew asking people on the street if they know who McKesson was – no one did – and they kinda’ like that. They are 175 years old and the largest pharmaceutical distributor in NA, they are the nations leading health care IT company and employ more than 30,000 people around the world (although they don’t consider themselves a global company).

Lets start from the beginning – After doing a systems audit of their company they were told that 70 % of what they do is pushing paper – that’s good right? No, because hiring is administrative in nature and they weren’t doing it correctly.

So what did they do about it? 00000005

The Challenge to Evolving Talent Operations

Too many moving parts

Constantly evolving technology

Changing business needs

Lets talk about the four fundamental elements that drive talent success

Branding (9-12 month process for them)

if your branding is real and done right you will have bottom line impacts. Employees should get excited, customers should get excited when they see your brand! If you can do something and get it done right you’re there states Susan! EVP brand – You have one whether you know it or not. It’s more than a logo or slogan it’s a disciplined approach. The implications? A well defined EVP gives you the ability to reach relevant talent, support changes in your business model and stay competitive.


Strategy effects everything and it’s much more than talent acquisition, in fact they want to change it to talent management. Evolution is critical and you have to keep looking at what’s next and never settle. Are recruiters getting lazy? You can’t just post jobs on boards – get out there! It boils down to best practices vs. next practices. The key focus remains fundamental: Building relationships and knowing the candidate.

Organizational Structure (it’s about)

Bringing the strategy to life

Centralized or de-centralized – the pendulum shifts

The reality – combining elements of the two (centralized and de-centralized)

Supporting Technology

You have to have a sound technical infrastructure – if any click takes more than 5 seconds to display the page, it’s too long. Alignment with the people and the process – as people use the tool all necessary data is captured. No extra steps. These are important pieces to the puzzle.

You HAVE to have the ability to get data for reports and metrics…or else the spreadsheet becomes the system of the record. A continuous change management process, also key – communication, training, problem solving, tailored to each stakeholder (not one-time, not one-size-fits-all).

Lessons for Success

Never stop improving

People drive the process

No shortcuts – Don’t email a candidate, build a relationship

There are no black and white answers.

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Creating a Leadership Pipeline

Posted on March 11, 2008. Filed under: HCI Summit, Trends |


Richard Wellins Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research
Development Dimensions International (DDI) and Author of “Talent Management in Motion: Keeping Up With an Evolving Workforce” moderated our panel today on creating a leadership pipeline. Panelists included:

  • Debbie Logan, Global Talent Development, Halliburton
  • Joseph C. ILvento, Global Director Leadership & Development, Citi

So the panel started with Wellins saying employee communication/HR processes shouldn’t suddenly become business processes, they already are.

Into the pipeline… DDI has surveyed more than 12k leaders in 1,500 organizations. Seventy-five percent of senior leaders say leveraging talent is their top priority. This was the highest ranked result. This is not HR execs, so a critical movement from the top-side.

At the same time, faith in corporate leadership has declined significantly in the past ten years. HR execs faith in leaders dropped 12 points from 47 percent to 35 percent. Ouch! Similarly, this year top leaders have less faith in their first time, first level leaders.

Ilvento thought today’s flatter organizations have reduced opportunity. First line managers are often stars and have less training today, thus less confidence in them. Logan says promotions occur because of technical excellence, not leadership skills. Training does not occur…

Formal workshops are unfortunately the most used training session. Assignments are often the hardest learning experiences to better manage the training aspects. Embracing structures around experiences in the actual job can be much more effective training than a workshop.  A diversity of training methods yields the best training program, according to leaders.

Logan says the company is looking at its individual tasks as places to better adapt and the learn. Online learning is not as effective for senior leaders. Age has nothing to do with it. It’s hard for them to focus online with everything else going on. They need to separate from the computer and go somewhere.

A lot of goals were discussed, and a very serious conversation ensued about the effectiveness of our organizational training.  In addition, companies need to embrace a lot more real world experiences.  This was a point emphasized and reemphasized throughout the session.

This was a highly conversational session, with breakouts and active discussion.

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Shelia Gray and Terry Terhark on Strategic Sourcing from the HCI Summit

Posted on March 11, 2008. Filed under: HCI Summit, Trends |

It’s Amanda, liveblogging the second session in Talent Management!

Shelia D. Gray, SPHR, Director of Global Talent Acquisition for International Paper and Terry Terhark, President & CEO of TheRightThing present today’s session “Strategic Sourcing: Experts and Insight to Improve Your Results”. This session is also sponsored by TheRightThing!

Shelia starts off by asking the audience why they joined this session. The responses are everything from expecting it to be “exciting” to people who are going through a talent acquisition study and wanted to pick her brain.

A little bit about International Paper – they have over 50,000 employees, close to half are global. Starbucks even uses their paper for their coffee cups… And in the beginning they did not have a dedicated recruiting force.

Lets ask the audience “how many people sell potential employees on the opportunity?” – Not many but those who do think they can deliver what they promise.

The transformation journey

Important pieces: Workforce planning, partnerships, assessment & testing and performance metrics.

Audience? Surprisingly, not many people know their cost per hire.

Lets delve a little deeper: Employment branding – very important, with good employment branding you’re able to come up with a employee value proposition (evp).

Technology is also important – 85 % of fortune 500 companies only take resumes online. Google is number one source for data and jobs. Technology is taking over! Will we ever be able to scale up and be competitive if we do it ourselves? Shelia decided no – so she decided to outsource.

Recruitment overhauling – Most organizations have great parts to it but you can’t completely model one company after another. It’s a change management journey. RPO really opened her eyes about things she hasn’t used before, especially finding candidates in the most unlikely places. Another? Diversity applicants – being able to tap into diverse candidates using RPOs and having a flexible and virtual workforce was a lot easier using the RPO.

Recruitment Outsourcing Partnership – Terry on the journey

Terry has 20 years of recruiting experience. And he stresses that there IS a war for talent. Starting out he wants to make sure we know that like many companies, International Paper isn’t sexy 😦 a lot of selling has to happen to recruit.

Also, TheRightThing only does outsourcing and sorry people but they are not evil! They are a provider to more than 60 companies and have 18 years of experience as a core company. They also share profits with employees, they are recognized by SHRM and the Great Place to Work Institute as one of the best places to work – small and medium companies.

What Were the Goals?

Terry’s main four overall goals are to drive excellence in recruitment, have predictable cost, increase diversity pools and improve the hiring experience. He focused on these while working with International Paper.

What are Some of the Things TheRightThing Did to Help International Paper (even if they went kicking and screaming)?

Centralized the process for consistency and compliance

Focused on candidate experience and implemented surveys

Targeted sourcing and recruiting

Dedicated recruiting sources

Reduced agency use

Cost containment

Extensive card communication

Robust reporting and metrics.

Important to remember: There isn’t a silver bullet, it’s always changing and there’s always a lot to do.

The Impact

Positive candidate experience

Metrics driven process

Focused on candidate quality

Ongoing enhancements

But Shelia wants to stress one important point – Culture fit assessment, an RPO can’t do that for you, that’s something your company will always have to do for its self.

Success Factors

Operations/HR involvement – You have to change your way of thinking and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Communication – ALWAYS important

Change management

Sourcing/Recruiting strategy – You have to leverage technology

Technology integration – We are beyond the days of the rolodex


Results (Oh yes, they can be measured)

Here’s the timeline:

Within 25 days after getting the call that a position needs to be filled you have to have your hiring strategy down. There is no “easy” job to fill, only moderate and hard positions. These 25 days include the identification of what you’re looking for and job posting, and don’t leave your job posts up after 90 days, they get stale and should be filled by then anyway!

Now you have 30 days to slate the presentation to the offer, here is your opportunity to shave some time off the cycle… This includes the review of resumes.

Finally, Terry gives 10 days from offer to acceptance.

The Three Types of Candidates

Level 1 is the easy to hire. Level 2 is the elusive, passive candidate, this job is harder to fill and most of your time and activity will be spent on this level (this is for every kind of job and company out there not just International Paper), you have to use really aggressive networking and outreach. Level 3 is the targeted hire or in other words the “needle in the haystack”. You should be able to fill most jobs with levels 1 and 2. Warns Terry: Contingency recruiting is a dying breed.

Notes to Remember

40 % of external hires are coming from employee referrals. Compare your initiatives against your employee referral system.

In The End? In the war for talent all eyes are on performance!

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ATMOS Energy Uses Talent Management to Reinvent Customer Service

Posted on March 11, 2008. Filed under: Trends |

atmos_logo_small Jeff Hardgrave, Vice President, Customer Service  Atmos Energy’s Service Excellence Strategy  and Gary Thompson, Managing Principal, Towers Perrin focused on key customer encounters and associated employee engagement driving customer loyalty.

Atmos Energy had a huge challenge becoming a better customer service organization, including: 

  • Texas geography created an extraordinarily diverse client base
  • Employees were equally diverse
  • Commoditized products

IMG_1338Customer surveys revealed multiple touch and pain points. Customer expectations were not being met by employees engagement strategies.  Staffing and training skills were not equal to demand.

Gary Thompson said most organizations put their least competent people in areas where they touch the customer. Hiring and training were needed. The company created a Service Excellence Strategy, Customer Measurement, and Customer Experiences Management initiatives.  Efforts included communication across all employees of expectations, a playbook for all situations, and follow-up calls after customer service calls.

After initiating the program surveys demonstrated, Atmos was performing better than its competitors with excellence 36 percent of the time.  This year, they are up in the 40% markets. Employees are also enabled to communicate on the intranet in a blog like fashion to change processes to better meet client needs.

Now Atmos is putting forward its most qualified, trained people up front. The results are speaking for themselves.

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Dr. Thornberry Discusses New Value Creators

Posted on March 11, 2008. Filed under: HCI Summit, Speakers |

Neal Thornberry Ph.D. and author of “Lead Like an Entrepreneur: Keeping the Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive Within the Corporation” kicked off the leadership track today with his “New Value Creators” speech. He spoke about companies developing and sustaining innovation as an enabler of both human and organizational performance. Specifically, how do you infuse entrepreneurial spirit into companies and employees.


Thornberry focused on the state of innovation. Innovation is only a tool to help the company grow, but it is not an end result.

He also indicated middle managers have suffered greatly. This is a mistake because middle management can be the biggest font of change. Yes, they can be barrierIMG_1325s, but they can also know the company well enough, make things happen and innovate. Dr. Thornberry cites the xxx for Dummies series of books as an example.

No words can describe how engaging Dr. Thornberry was. Lots of colorful stories were told sans PowerPoint, and he engaged the audience directly often walking the front of the room and parts of the aisles.

One of his colorful stories highlighted how some of the most square people can innovate great entrepreneurial ideas. And some of the most qualified people can bomb out. He cited an example of two Stanford MBAs who could not innovate. High potential does not equal high innovation.

More than 2000 people went through Dr. Thornberry’s innovation program. Only 10 or 15 developed really functional businesses. It’s important for cultures to create processes to vett and identify great innovation. A chief innovation officer cannot work. Such top down approaches usually kill middle management inspired innovations.

Dr. Thornberry believes Culture shifts aren’t great. A good way to shift opportunities is to go after challenging opportunities. By going after new opportunities, new products, new developments, the company changes the way it acts and behaves. That’s the way to develop a culture shift.

Value systems are critical. But you have to believe them and act on them. Without the right belief system and value systems you may as well take the value statement off the wall, said Dr. Thornberry.

More Insights

  • 90% of all firms are unable to sustain high growth rates beyond a few years.
  • Innovation is a tool not a destination, there is no 6 sigma for innovation. Ideation is where the fun stops. Can they execute, can they find the ideas>
  • Entrepreneurship always involves innovation; but innovation does not always involve entrepreneurship.
  • Great ideas do not equal great opportunities.
  • The entrepreneur identifies opportunities, shapes them, and then captures them. This process is self-admittedly much messier than the chart Dr. Thornberry used.
  • Entrepreneurs have to balance the opportunity, the team and the resources. You always start with the opportunity, then figure out how to execute it.
  • You can teach people the entrepreneurial thinking process.
  • Telling people no is a great way to inspire entrepreneurial types to get them to engage. They question the very basis of ideas.
  • Value creation is the heart of entrepreneurial development
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Haiyan Wang Delivers Talent Management Keynote – HCI National Summit

Posted on March 11, 2008. Filed under: HCI Summit, Speakers, Trends |

Amanda here, live-blogging the Talent Management sessions. Settling in for our keynote…

Haiyan Wang, Managing Director of the China India Institute and Co-author of The Quest for Global Dominance speaks about “Cultivating a Global Market”.


Ms. Wang  starts off with a bang, asking the question: Do mindsets matter? They do! But what is a mindset? It’s a cognitive map (assumptions, logic) of the world around us.  Without this we can paralyze into “inaction”. Although they can be double edge swords and blind us to reality. For example: In the year 2000 a successful auto businessman from a well known company visited China and came back saying “call me when you have some roads” it’s projected that in 2015 China will have more cars than any other place in the world.

What About Organizations?

Do organizations have mindsets? Yes! What about a global mindset? Here’s the concept: It’s the balance between a parochial mindset and a diffused mindset. You have to integrate between diversities, that’s the key. Ex: Microsoft. In 1992 when they entered China, for a couple years it was a disaster. When they started to adopt a global mindset things started to turn around. They realized that the piracy issue would improve and that the purchasing power in China would not. Once they did this they started being a friend to China. One important thing they did was to mandate that an operating system on every machine that was shipped to China be loaded. This GREATLY changed the relationship.

Here are Some Stats:

50% of world GDP growth from emerging countries.
Emerging growth countries’ share of world exports = 43% and growing
End of 2007 China’s GDP was 3rd largest in world and it will surpass the USA around 2035. India will surpass the USA around 2045.

Wang says that this is another industrial revolution. Although what took 100 years previously, this one will happen in 30.

Transformation of Industries:

Even slow moving, low tech industries get radically transformed in 20 years. Tale a look at Beer (SAB Miller), Steel (Arcelor Mittal), Cement (Cemex). Who will be the major players and how will that impact YOUR business? You have to take a look at your own business environment and that of your customers. Geographic location of yourself, your customers, your value chain activities. Are the emerging companies going to be your competition?

Cultivating a Global Mindset:

The key is to build a strong “one company” culture, infrastructure and processes. You have to have clear values and a clear corporate identity. You also have to develop a deep knowledge about different cultures and markets. Don’t just observe problems SOLVE problems. How can you do this? Unleash web 2.0 within the company, have cross border assignments… And finally the most important mechanism is to globalize the nerve centers of decision making. Close the gap between where opportunities sit and where the decision power sits. You can’t drag opportunities to you, you have to go to them. And since things are happening at a rapid pace… hurry!

Tomorrow’s Leading Organization:

Build a global integrated enterprise with roots in many countries.

Bottom Line?

When asked by a member of the audience how to convince a high level executive-naysayer about the change that’s going to occur in 20 years Wang responds to tell him to go to sleep and wake up in 20 years, when he wakes up he’ll find that he no longer has a job. Touché

Oh, they can also buy her book 🙂

The world is your oyster do you have the right fork? 

For more information or questions please feel free to email Ms. Wang and visit the website

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Packard Keynote: Successful Hiring Traits and Great Cultures

Posted on March 11, 2008. Filed under: HCI Summit, Speakers |

 Susan Packard 005Susan Packard, President of Brand Outreach, HGTV President got right into  it and laid out her agenda.  It was two-fold:

1) what kinds of people should orgs be hiring?

2) what principles will help guide your org to greatness?

Part I: Hiring Traits

Susan spoke on how to hire.  She said it’s more than just hiring, it’s identifying traits of hiring.  There are four key traits of successful people:

  • audacity
  • push
  • humor
  • upside thinking 

Trait one:  Audacity.  Audacity is willingness to take risk.  You need audacious ideas and people grounded in sound business practice.  Apple’s iTunes was cited as a case study. Audacious people are needed throughout the organization, from start-up to mature enterprise, from line mangers to executives.

Audacious people can be hard to manage, and their ideas are often disruptive.

Susan Packard 008Trait two: Push. Making employees and executives get out of their comfort zone is essential.  Push creates broad thinkers.  Short sighted focus hurts the ability for people to develop.  Create systems to allow people to develop, and give them time to adapt.

There are no four generations of workers in our companies: veterans, baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y/millenials.  Broad thinkers, with broad levels across the organization bridge these generations.

Trait three: Humor. Humor makes for an easier environment. Laughter and humor make a safer, more physiologically healthy environment.  Great leaders bring lightness to the workplace, cites Packard.

Trait four:  Upside thinker.  Optimists are essential.  There is no place for negative, naysayers in this world.  It’s important to embrace mistakes, to engage them as an opportunity to grow.  Cites GM and Toyota and Chrysler as different cultures.

Part II: Achieving Greatness Through Culture

Susan Packard 007 Create a defining culture through mission, values and actions… Mission statements are very, very difficult.  They are hard to write, but they are critical.  You have to invest the time to get these done correctly.

Next you have to know what your core values are… You have to stick with them, and make sure decisions are based upon them. Communicate those values, demonstrate them in your action.

Creating a defining culture is not easy. New influxes of workers or acquisitions can absolutely challenge those values and mission. Integrating can be hard, but the values can guide you through it. 

You have to assume your organization will change.  Your culture will change. New context and situations change the company.  That doesn’t mean that your values are gone.  Even GE is shifting its culture.

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