Sunday, March 30, 2008

Finding great workers

AT&CEO Randall Stephenson made the statement that great workers are hard to find.

That’s only true because AT&T clings to an outmoded HR process. As all of us with a background in manufacturing know, if the end result isn’t right, first check your process.

The process most companies use to identify candidates is patterned on the old manufacturing model and looks for skills not abilities. Skills are typing speed, familiarity with software applications, or the ability to operate machinery. Abilities are leadership, problem solving, and building customer relationships. Evaluating skills is simply checking off items on a list, a relatively quick and simple process. Evaluating abilities requires careful reading and thoughtful evaluation followed by discussions with the applicant. Checking skills is fast while determining abilities is slow.

As we continue to shift to knowledge work, abilities not skills will define the great workers you need to help your company succeed. The only way you will find those great workers is to change your HR process.

If your satisfied with your results, don’t change if your not satisfied - change.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The four keys to solving business problems

1. Agree that your system is broken:
You can't change what you don't acknowledge
Dr. Phil McGraw

2. Accept that your system is the problem:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Benjamin Franklin

3. Understand that your system will resist change:
Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.
Admiral Hyman Rickover

4. Remember that the person who bucks the system is the most likely to be a creative problem solver:
Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.
George Bernard Shaw

Friday, March 21, 2008

When companies cut jobs

I just read an article (I’d included the link, but when I checked the next day it was cut) about the rate of exchange between the US dollar and the Eruo and it talked about BMW cutting 5,600 jobs to “cut costs”. It only saves BMW money if: 1) 5,600 people were just standing around not doing anything, or 2) the work they had been doing suddenly stopped.

If BMW’s business slowly decreased and left them with 5,600 extra workers, this should have led to one or two people at a time being laid off over a longer time frame and would not have made the news. The other option is that some dramatic change in BMWs business suddenly made over 5 thousand peoples’ jobs disappear.

I leave it to you to decide which cause is more likely a slow change missed by management or a dramatic change.

Monday, March 17, 2008

We owe this to each other

I’ve stayed away from politics in this blog, but I just can’t ignore this one. A CNN video clip about an Iraq veteran.

Who is the United States? The preamble states “We the people of the United States..” So you and I are the Untied States. It doesn't matter if you agree with the war in Iraq or not, we owe the solders our support.

Who are the solders who serve the United States. They are our neighbors, our sons & daughters, our nieces & nephews, and our grandchildren, and we are not caring for them!

Once of our service women or men who is injured they deserve 100 percent support from our government until they are restored to full health. If they can’t be fully restored, they deserve free health care and financial assistance as long as they don’t have full health.

If you think that’s expensive, think about what the soldier agreed to do - “I’ll work for a lot less money than I could make in another occupation, I’ll go where you say, because you say, and give my life if you think it’s necessary”. They didn’t say “Only if it doesn’t cost too much” they said “I’ll go”.

Health care is not a gift from the government, it’s deferred compensation they’ve earned!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Simple things

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I found this cartoon that clearly shows some of the problems out there.

It made me ask the following question: Why hasn’t someone created a single place on my computer that hold “form data”. The app would keep my name, address, phone numbers, etc that I want to be public and that will auto-load to any web site and form that I want to fill out. Seems simple to me since most web based forms use the same language. I suspect that the real problem is not with the technology, it’s a lack of imagination.

I believe that the simpler the idea the harder it is to sell because:

The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.
Warren Buffett

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stateless Corporations

An article at talked about American companies that by establish bogus headquarters in the Cayman Islands and in other nations, are avoiding paying their share of federal taxes, according to the Senate Finance Committee, which requested that Government Accountability Office investigators visit the Caribbean islands.

This is the tip of the iceberg, and a natural result of globalization. The eventual end result will be “stateless” corporations with no geographic roots. When companies had a national identity they drew their management primarily from citizens where their headquarters were located. The managers brought their cultural ethics with them, one result was that the corporation was seen as and thought of it self as part of the community.

We’ve already seen that as corporations think more globally they have been less concerned with the local impact of their decisions. After all, that location is a small part of their overall operation. What will the results be when the headquarters and managers stop thinking of themselves as “locals” and have no connection to the place where the company and they reside?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Amazing stuff!

One of the big elements in science fiction is thought control of your computer. That is, just think what you want the computer to do and it “reads your mind”.

It looks like the first step is here, check out this article at Wired Magazine on line.

While the control is rudimentary at best, it truly looks like the first step.