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Archives for December 2017

Stupid HR Tricks

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/31/2017 | 10:00 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

Borrowing liberally from now-retired Dave Letterman, we've translated people tricks into pet tricks, and then into organizational tricks.  Trust me, HR has many tricks, most leftover from another century, as reported a year or so ago by Forbes Daily.

As we prepare for New Years' Resolutions,  it's an excellent time to review how out of touch HR has become.  HR has fallen into the trap of  asking really dumb questions in the guise of probing for weakness and uncovering substandard responses.

The wary candidate can stay out of the traps with a progression of answers that: (1 display mastery; 2) indicate standard responses; or 3) are proforma. He or she simply needs to stay away from the truly simple trap questions.

Here are the traps, cleverly masked as deep space probes.

What's your greatest weakness?  

Why should we hire you from among our deep, rich talent pool?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

If you were: choose one, a tree, an animal, a film or TV show, a soup flavor, which would you be - and why?

How badly do you want the job?

The responses are categorized as low-mojo, medium-mojo, and high-mojo.

Desired responses in weakness are: too hard on myself (and sometimes others).  A spaghetti-legged answer would center on self and the importance of work/life balance.  A great response would be getting better at things already done better than most, and concentrating on the things I'm meant to be doing.  Whats your take?

Why should we hire you has a weak response - I'm a hard worker, and I really want the job - an air of desperation.  The medium-warm answer focuses in the quality of match with functional needs.  The breath of fresh air response is; maybe there's someone better, but I know I can do this.  If I'm the right person, we'll both know it.

In five years?  The tepid response is: maybe taking your job, ha-ha.  The unimaginative medium answer is: I like Finance; maybe I'll stay there for another five years of experience.  The hot answer is: Who can tell?  We live in a world of constant change.  But, I'm sure I'll be working with really smart people on a really big project that makes a difference for an enterprise.

If you were . . . All answers are losers.  Give the one (s) you care about, the persuade HR to jettison the lot of them.

How badly?  Desperation kicks in the door and kicks out the low-mojo respondent.  The medium answer relates to functionality, which only HR cares about and puts VPs to sleep.  The high-mojo response, and candidate, responds with: You know I'm interested because I'm here.  And, I've got a lot of questions. Is this a good time to take a deeper dive into them?

For 2018, make these your resolutions.  Craft strong high-mojo messages to stupid questions; dump the sad responses - and go get 'em!

New Year; New Resolutions

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/29/2017 | 9:05 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

New Years' Resolutions are generally of a class of self-improvement, such as losing weight, smoking cessation, working out, running, and the like.

From a leader's standpoint, there may be other ways to better oneself and the lives of others.

I'm sticking with the knowledge of when to shut up as a very good thing to pursue come 2018.  Know when to be quiet!

Be quiet when the heat of anger fills a room; let even provoked irrationality take up the place of heat and  substitute decorum and civility.  Be quiet when you don't have all - or any - of the facts; it's OK to let silence suck up all the awkward gaps in oral communications.

Be quiet when an independent source hasn't verified the tale; this works in social media, too.  Be quiet if - and when - you might offend a weaker or subordinate party to dispute.  Or a marginalized or disrespected human being.

Be quiet when it is time to listen, to hear the views and voices of others.  The clichee of two ears and one mouth, to be used in that ratio, still apply.

Be quiet when you are boring an audience of one or one hundred; if you don't know when you are boring, work on building self-awareness.

Be quiet when someone has asked a question.  He or she may genuinely want an answer - and the odds of you having all of them are slim to none, especially if you're trying to think of the right one while the question remains open.

Keep Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon in mind - and The Sounds of Silence.

 

 

The Mindful Leader

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/27/2017 | 2:55 PM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

Amex OPEN published a few tips from the CEO of The Non-Obvious Company that make all the sense in the world. Leadership is tough enough, but now we are being asked to be mindful as part of the package.

Mindfulness is the basic idea of adopting behaviors and habits that allow you to improve performance by gaining energy. And it is gathering momentum as it moves into the mainstream.

Some think mindfulness is something to somehow get worked into the schedule, already filled with demands. Others think that mindfulness, among your other demands, is an indulgence. Maybe, but it does not require all that much time.

Don't misunderstand; this not yoga or teatime meditation.

Take re-setting breaks to focus on meeting content, and to discover your leadership style(s). Be more present, in all facets of enterprise efforts,

Make art, find a creative outlet, including doodling, that unleashes tapping into the other side of the brain. This is where unconventional thinking breaks free of the conventional wisdom.

Get more and better sleep. Put aside your technology and focus on life balance. In a universe full of distractions, there is litle better than mindfulness.

 

Horse Show At The Ohio State Fair

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/24/2017 | 11:07 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

One of my favorites, that falls near my birthday, the teams are spectacular.  Whether working teams, great Clydedales or Percherons, or show teams pulling decorative but pretty much useless wagons, preparation is of the essence.

This combing, brushing, and washing is all some form of grooming (a now defunct English job left over from the downfall of great estates).

And, so it is in business.  Show teams, working teams, leadership teams - all require grooming to both look and perform at their best and highest levels.

Amex's OPEN Forum, a few months ago, featured the practices of team grooming by business owners.  Not that they all groom alike, but they all groom teams.

One builds rock-solid succession plans, with mentorship, functional training, and managerial training.  Leaders, it turns out, have lasting impact for good; managers have lasting impact with negative consequences.  Managers are not necessarily leaders, but they have, if good, choices to make about leadership and its attributes.

Leaders are appropriately trained and conditioned to put teams first, the enterprise second, and themselves last.

Building high-performing teams begins with hiring the best and the brightest.  They succeed or fail as team members, and avoid the "manager" trap.

Developing leaders and teams is born out of a commitment  to see group and individual growth and achievement.  Karma remains karma, and will come back, for good or ill, to reward or punish you.

Win, lose, or tie; developing the rising generation, which may have a short-term imperative, will come back with lifelong colleagues, high trust, obvious self-sacrifice - and exponential growth and success.

A Good Ol'Boy; A Good Set Of Wrenches; A Good Used Car

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/22/2017 | 9:23 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

Like so many mis-spent souls of my youth, who dreamed of fast cars, fast women, and a semi-capable repair shop, Bill France lived the dream.  He lusted after muscle cars, easy money, and speed, speed, speed.

Bill moved the family to sunny Daytona Beach, where he opened a gas station.

From modest origins, he built an empire, a big league of fast cars, with rules, regulations,and legions of followers.  Bill turned nothing into everything, culminating with building the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  He fathered and reigned in majesty from a smoke-filled room, where he was a KIng in his own right.

Born to race, but not very good at it, young Bill played hooky in the DC suburbs, where he watched racing (and occasionally tried his hand at it).

Building NASCAR was tough, with minor-league races moving from town to town.  But explosive success finally arrived, with a new Daytona track and an operation at Talladega.  The business satayed in the family, with the mantle passing to the next two generstions following Bill's retirement some 45 years ago.

IN SCM, what's your legacy?  How have you changed the game?  What have you passed on to your colleagues and mentees?

This is tough, and demands your best thinking and best effort.

Coloring Between The Lines

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/20/2017 | 10:16 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

Industry Week's guest expert may have shot himself in the foot recently.  He led off with a characterization of 9/11 as an heinous act that ruined the US economy.  Heinous, yes; ruined, not so much.

More to the point, he linked the collapse of his employer's telecommunications business segment, then goes on to blame the technology installation that shifted copper usage as a faster than a speeding bullet legacy installation.

Ummm, I was actually there at the time.  9/11 was heinous, but led to massive recovery investment.  Copper cable "tanking" was a myth; succeeding years set new records in copper cable purchases as fiber optics installations took off.

The expert makes a (weak) case for the destruction of an old paradigm, with replacement by a new one.  And adds wireless technology to the mix - before stirring.

I will freely admit that new technology today replaces the old, faster than we can imagine - and places resource and materials demands faster than Procurement can possibly keep up with.

So, with the myth of one new paradigm some three decades ago discredited, how are we staying ahead of needs among a parade of new paradigms?

Simple to conceive; tough to execute.  But, in all cases, they mean being close to customers, listening to the customers' voices

Not being close after 9/11, not having a clue about technology shifts, not understanding copper cable demand, not getting the massivity of legacy technology infrastructure - all these contributed to the cable company's demise.

That's what happens when a manager posing as a leader takes decisions based on received wisdom.  No amount of expertise changes those realities.

Build Your Brand; Build Your Reputation; Build Your Desirability

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/17/2017 | 12:54 PM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

The drone drowns; the uber-ant prospers and sleeps with the Queen.  So, what does it take to create a brand that stands out?  Besides hard work, that is.

Being pleasant is not enough; smiling head-bobbing can be seen as the sign of a Slacker.  You can make up your own "rules"; here is a starter kit.

Work and time are at stake.  Network at lunch, based on common interests, organizational position, and perceived enterprise obligations.

Meet with others who have work and outcome needs.  Help them, without expectation for quid pro quo.  Don't ask what you can do; do what you can to add immediate value to their dilemma. 

Write brief "thank you" notes - to peers, to executives, to clerks, to anyone who provides a service, an introduction, a whatever.  The note will stand out and be remembered by both great and small.  They'll give your brand value now, and at some undetermined point down the road.

Do your homework, and invest the learning into asking great questions - of teams, of leaders, of customers, and of suppliers.

Run a risk; invest in a high-risk, low payoff probability effort.  It shows where your passion lies, and is a terrific way to join up with a team than has no budget. - and exposes you to new experiences.

Learn the communications secrets of building charisma; practice meshing words with body language.  Understand that building a brand can take years; and, that it can be demolished in seconds.

Consider starting, and leading, a book club, based on mutual interests, whether business or other genre.  These provide opportunities to practice leadership and communications.

Get noticed for the right stuff.  Be on-time for meetings, avoid the public use of social media, and maintain good hygiene.  Don't tarnish the brand by getting noticed for the wrong stuff.

Now, go out there and become the internal Crest toothpaste . . . whether in general or in Supply Chain Management

Side note: David Buick's claim to fame was not automobiles, but bathroom fixtures and finishes.

Ete Dans Paris; Summer In Amsterdam

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/15/2017 | 12:31 PM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

Son David, at the onset of summer, decamped with Andrew on a trip to Paris and Amsterdam, with a day in Brussels to visit an aunt.

So excellent coffee was a staple of the diet.  One fine morning, the lads were enjoying pannkoeken at the local waffelhuis, and had two telling observations.  One was that the place did not conform to any Baptist Waffle House found in the Southeast; two was that in no way could they afford the excursion.

Even the treasures of the Louvre and D'Orsay did not, with wine and chocolates thrown in for good measure, could not justify the financial excess.  The less said about Amsterdam's Red Light district, the better.

But, the trip was reasonable considering what it takes to go to Disney World - or even to Myrtle Beach.

And, we had raised him to explore the world, to learn about other customs and cultures.  So he swallowed hard, and spent several harrowing hours on a plane.

The lesson is clear - at least to me - you owe yourself some 'me" time.  Take it.  Take it now.  Take it where you want to go.  

Your employer already has your other time

Sacre Du Printemps

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/13/2017 | 10:52 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

The offspring of a religiously non-observant family, The Kid may, perhaps, not proclaim "Today, I am a man", like his peers who celebrate a Bar Mitzvah.  

Frankly, way too many of these expressions of parental pride are paltry excuses for "showing off" parties, and are looser than somewhat in their interpretation.  The rite(s) of Spring get carried to extremes all too often.  As they say, "Baruch adonai elohim . . ."  Very few actually undergo a two-year programme of instruction and learning; more buy into "accelerated" courses that emphasize stumbling readings over life lessons.

The Kid already lives his commitments, socially aware, and is plugged in to societal needs.  He always leaves here wanting to know what he can do for us.  He's discussing political issues with his friends - or us - , and is always at their backs at the moment of physical or emotional need.

And, he's La Diva's biggest fan.

To complicate matters, Passover overlays Easter this year.  For many, Passover and a seder define the season. This year, the seder is Mexican, which causes a little loss of eastern European tradition. And, for many People of the Book, the Famous Last Supper was the last seder for Jesus of Nazareth.

Perhaps in 2018, our multi-faith community can genuinely express hopes for "next year in Jerusalem", jointly hoping for reconstruction and the restoration of a Davidic line of succession as Passover concludes with Yom Kippur.

The Kid is ready to sign up.

The key questions are: Are you a man - or mensch?  Do you embrace religious dissonance?  How do your issues resonate with global needs?  Can you, do you, help move the needle of inclusion and tackle needs for a coming together?

Get started, brother!

Maslow Rising

By Art van Bodegraven | 12/10/2017 | 10:00 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.

 

We talk a lot about the many roles a leader must master, beginning with a solid grounding in those elements of Jungian psychology that stimulate behavioral types and the creation of cultures of innovation.  LinkedIn Learning leans in toward these important themes.

Brief mention is made of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, first published over sixty five years ago. Imagine!  65, and recognized as current today.

Many leaders, and even more managers, need a Maslow refresher course. There are those who argue that a payday ought to make for an engaged workforce.  Others, grumble at the cost, and invisibility of return, on "feel-good" efforts.  They harken back to the days of the Great Depression, when "people were happy just to have a job."

Frankly, trying to bridge the gaps from physiological needs (the paycheck) to self-actualization (the creativity in self-actualization) is not for the weak-kneed. As late night television exhorts, "But, wait, there's more!"

Maslow and his hierarchy are not a series of choices and trade-offs. Done right, they constitute integrated ways of life. Consider how Maslow gets applied at Apple, and what it means.

The Physiological—Wages above minimum, health and retirement benefits, parental leave—all contribute to moving up the hierarchy and focusing on innovation and a superlative customer experience.

Safety—In-store folks aren't paid a commision. The resulting safety permits actually helping customers, free from survival needs.

Belonging—"I work at Apple" becomes a mantra. Management-provided iPhones are signs of appreciation and belonging. Employees can, and do, connect with one another.

Esteem—Uniting the tribe around the brand generates a palpable sense of pride within the organization.  Open classrooms to greater creativity, connect people from many nations in the world, put 10,000 songs in your pocket, and blatantly promote industry-leading technology.

Self-Actualization—Having a purpose larger than oneself, and changing lives and jobs through their work.

All these define how one makes up a cult of True Believers, who do work and create profits that do them all proud. And, so goes the Apple saga.

How can you translate the Apple model to your SCM business? Is it worth evaluating, the how of the why that creates a dangerous tribe?

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.



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