2017 Stanley Cup Champions: What Your Business can learn from the Penguins

2017 Stanley Cup Champions: What Your Business can learn from the Penguins

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

Back-to-Back! Have you ever wondered why the truly great get there, stay there, and have a level of continuity that is seemingly unmatched? Our beloved Penguins have just won back to back Stanley Cups. I’m extremely superstitious, so I won’t bore you with my playoff rituals, as if my idiosyncrasies would have anything to do with the outcome of a game – who knew I had such power? It’s an awesome responsibility! I’m certain no one else has any. We here in Pittsburgh are truly blessed – although we seem to take the presence of greatness with a grain of salt. Let’s focus on Sidney Crosby for a moment. When Mike Sullivan was asked what makes Crosby so good on the ice he made this observation: ‘he is the hardest working player on the team’. Now as a sports fanatic, former college athlete and high school coach for more than 20 years I can tell you I look at that comment with some degree of skepticism. Until you listen to Sullivan describe why he makes that comment about the Kid. He is constantly working on his speed, his stick handling skills, his game tape review, his love of the game, and his commitment to the sport. He knows more about his opponents and studies them too!!! This is the best player in the sport today – not by the fans perspective, or some lame reporter who thinks he knows the game, or some other unofficial aficionado. That acclaim comes from his peers. And not just his teammates who all hold him in extremely high regard. That’s from his opponents, especially those poor defenders who had to mark him on the ice. Some did a good job of keeping him off the score sheet, others not so much. But to a person they each have said he’s the reason the Penguins are who they are right now. One individual who believed that through hard work and dedication he’s make a difference, even when he didn’t have to. But let’s dig a little more into why. He’s one of the first guys on the ice during practice and one of the last ones off. He is constantly pushing himself physically during practices knowing that once he is in the game much more is going to be required of him. And, unlike some athlete in other sports, he has never allowed his success to go to his head – aka – I’m so good I don’t have to work on my skills and abilities and certainly the rest of the team needs me, they have to rely on me, I’m ‘the man’! that’s not Sid, nor will it be. Perhaps it because he was mentored by another great – Mario Lemieux – who lived and acted the same way – and overcame cancer to continue his career in an unbelievable manner. Sid never complained about the concussion protocol he had to withstand a couple of years ago, or the fact that he lost most of his teeth from a puck shot to the face a few years back as well. He very quietly and without fan fare continues to work harder than the rest behind the scenes – where it counts knowing that when needed he can deliver. He lives only a few miles from our home here. It’s a nice place, but not overly ostentatious. In the village, a couple blocks down the street from his mentor and friend. As the captain of the team he gets to ‘host the cup’ for the first part of the cup possession. What did he do when he got off the plane from Nashville yesterday? He took the cup around to all of the businesses in the village. His favorite little grocery store – Safran’s, the local drug store, the restaurants, the shops. He walked around the downtown business area in the village and shared the most prized possession in all of sports with the people in the village. His quiet gesture of thanks to the fans who allow him to be a villager and not some Hollywood – hey look at me social media empty hat. That should tell you something about this kid from Canada, who has become a Pittsburgher through and through. So let me ask you, are you constantly working on your craft every day, even when no one is watching? Are you aware of the challenges that may be ahead, are you preparing for them? When some major setback hits you, as it does all of us, what are you going to do next? Are you better today than yesterday? What have you read today, written today, presented today, advised about today, solved today, that you didn’t do yesterday? Maintaining the status quo isn’t maintenance at all. It’s stagnation, the beginning of atrophy, and in due time obsolescence. We all of the opportunity to be great at what we do, it just takes constant diligence. One of the other unsung heroes has also been the head coach Mike Sullivan. Two Stanley Cups in less than two years of coaching. Talk about a fast start. What you don’t know is all of the journeyman hours and talent evaluation and line changes he’s developed in order to take advantage of the skills of his team, while always keeping the opposing team off balance. He’s a tactician, but just as important, a strategist. Always calm, always thinking of the next shift and the next opportunity. I believe we’re witnessing one of the great ones finally demonstrate what all that preparation and all of those hours working in obscurity pay off. Think about it. More than any coach this year or last he’s been able to get the best out of each of his players, not just the superstars. Guentzel, Rust, Bonino, Hornquist, Fleury, Murray, Hagelin, Malkin and the rest. When was the last time someone said to you ‘here’s thirty gifts – take them and make something of them and when you are done bring them back to me. Sullivan more than anyone has been able to take this team and get the best out of each one of them. That I believe has made all the difference. His ability to assess talent and then acquire them, and then, most importantly, blend them into a highly productive team, that is a management feat very few companies appreciate nor master. Finally, let’s think about succession. This year’s team is different than last year’s as will next years be different than this one. Why? It’s a sport, and one thing you can absolutely be certain of there will be injuries, drafts, expansions and retirements. The personnel are going to change. The most critical skill is the ability to assess talent and then manage and motivate that talent to perform. I believe that Sullivan understands that better than most. He’s already beat some of the best coaches in the game. Why? Not because he believes he is a better coach, although I’m certain he has some degree of confidence otherwise he could never do what he does. Truth is he understand talent assessment, talent acquisition and how to motivate that talent to perform. If you are in a supervisory or management role those skills are most important to your success – not because of what you do, but because of what your team can and will do for you! Congratulations Penguins! I’m so glad you kept the cup here in our home town. I’m even happier that you demonstrate some of the most successful human capital skills essential to success in any setting. BTW – Sid – if you’re looking for a pool to have a party in with the Cup and a few of your friends – the water is warm up here over the hill. Just saying ….

Please follow and like us:

What Employers can learn from the NFL Draft

What Employers can learn from the NFL Draft

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

Recruiting in the 21st Century – Who’s your best draft pick? Human Capital Recruitment 101. Succession Planning Level 2. Revenue development, – the key to increased revenue and team value. Wouldn’t it be great to have a recruitment tool like the NFL combine and subsequent draft? This week starts a three-day marathon selection process run by the NFL to select the next crop of superstars. This ‘recruitment process’ is one of the purest forms of talent review and selection and most of it is on public display for everyone to watch. What can we learn from the process they use? – A lot!!! We here in Pittsburgh have been blessed for two generations now because of a set of family values that we’ve watched live for many years. The Rooney Family, led by our recently deceased owner Dan Rooney, has always been a beacon of light in an otherwise tumultuous industry. At his funeral last week as part of his eulogy one of the greatest compliments was paid him – he was a Pittsburgher. Family centered, religious, a man of integrity, quiet – and certainly not boastful – someone who would rather have let the body of work he developed and emulated from his father, speak for who he was. He was a Pittsburgher, if you must ask you’ll never understand. But this family created a unique selection process as part of evaluating talent for this iconic team that has withstood the test of time. Besides the physical tests, the normal process in the NFL is that every candidate are run through a series of assessments, both aptitude and personality tests. The teams want to know a little more about the individual than just what they can do in pads. Every individual is tested for illegal drug use. If someone is cheating about their performance by using illegal drugs, what else are the cheating about??? Background checks. The last thing a team wants to do is give a player some kind of huge signing bonus only to realize that that player is on their way to jail for something. How are you going to get that money back??? Then there’s the actual capability evaluation. Players are interviewed by dozens of teams and coaches and that grilling isn’t anything different than some of the interviews any of us may have been through Next, there is a critical review of the performance of each player who has declared. Although this is mostly done via the NFL Combine, some schools hold their own scouting days. In each case the top talent recruiters are evaluating the players based on their resume of accomplishments, but also on their actual live performance. Kind of a panel interview of sorts where the candidates get to actually demonstrate their skills. Think of a computer programmer, or a graphic artist who can either code live, or present an entire collection of their work. Most players at this level have had professional highlight tapes prepared for the recruiters, and, as we all know, almost everything is available online today. But that’s only what you can see on the surface. Truth is, most of the top draft picks really don’t ever fully live up to their hype. In fact, the greatest players across the entire history of the sport were players picked in the middle to late rounds. Why? It’s what we like to call at Human Capital Advisors – the Performance Factors – those soft skills that everyone ignores, or generally give second attention to. So What makes the difference? Intangibles like work ethic, learning capacity, coachability, and, here’s one, character. If you look at the teams who consistently perform at the top of this sport, the owners set the tone on who they’re going to draft, and who they are going to tolerate. Our beloved Steelers are notorious for quickly jettisoning a player who in any way puts themselves above the team, or worse, tarnishes the name of the team by getting involved in some public scandal. There are a few exceptions, but in general this is a team that is built around core values as well as core competencies. Finally, why else is the draft so important? It’s called Succession Planning. This is a brutal sport, although I’ve seen some highly political companies whose office politics make the NFL look like high school. We’ll save that for another day. But, as this sport is physically very, very punishing, the average career of any player is only a few years, certainly less than ten. As such teams that are consistently successful year after year are always thinking of their succession plan. Who can we find and have as part of our team that can fulfill that critical role – IF – that current performer cannot go. Teams nor companies can absolutely predict which player is going to get hurt, and as a result need at least one backup in every position. Think about each position in your company – is there a backup ready to step in if something happens to the starter? So, sit back, enjoy the draft, watch a couple of hockey games with the family, and when you get back to work on Monday ask yourself – How important are your core values in your selection process for any new employee you want to join your team? I guess it depends on whether your employees are assets or commodities. In a world with a rapidly shrinking availability of qualified talent, those that consider their employee’s assets are positioned to win on the competitive landscape. If that’s not part of your process I suggest you’re in trouble. If it is, and you truly use it as part of your selection criteria, you and your organization are much more likely to experience success in both the short and more importantly – long run. I wish you well, Dave

Please follow and like us:

Opening Day 2017 – How the Situation of McCutchen is an Issue we see in the Office on a Regular Basis

Opening Day 2017 – How the Situation of McCutchen is an Issue we see in the Office on a Regular Basis

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

So you showed up for work today, and all of a sudden when you walk into your office you realize that your friend’s name is on the door. It’s been your office for several years, a corner office, great views out two sides of the building, both left and right, one that is assigned to a MVP, not just of the company, but recognized throughout the entire industry as one of the best, in fact for a couple of years – recognized as the best – in the entire industry. But none of your stuff is on the desk, none of your pictures are on the wall. What the … ??!!%% Your boss, a senior ranking executive, not the owner, but pretty high up there in the executive ranks, some call him the general manager, he catches you and asks you to step into the office right next door. It’s about the same size, but only has a view from one side, and all of a sudden you realize that your name is on THIS door. WHAT THE … ??!!%% He tells you that they had to make some changes based on your performance this past year, and, although it’s been good, it’s not quite as good as it has been, or needs to be. He runs through some platitudes about how much the company values you, still wants to retain you as you are a vital part of the team, important to your customers who’ve grown to love you and value not only your performance, but also your personality. You know things have been off a little, but you want to assure your manager and the owners of the company that you can get your performance back to where it was, that you won’t only be a key contributor, you’ll be THE TOP contributor. Privately your torqued, I’m updating my resume, I know there are others in our industry that would love me and my skills and what I can bring them. BUT, your wife and kids love this city. You’ve made life long friends, like the town you live in, have favorite restaurants, know your doctors, and the kids teachers. How could they do this to me??? I was their MVP!!! Welcome to the last few months of Andrew McCutchen. Sport teams provide a regular set of highly visible talent management actions happening every day. Our own beloved Andrew McCutchen is a perennial all-star and some might say Pirate baseball’s equivalent to the Penguins Crosby or Malkin. Regarded by some in the same conversation as Sidney Crosby, regarded as the best hockey player in the game today, but certainly critical to the team and it’s most recent historic success. And, let me whisper this so as not to get stoned by the pucksters, someday Sidney is going to have to hang up his skates as well. Lemieux and Gretzky and Howe did and Sid will too – (let’s hope it’s in 10 years!!!) Last year was not one of Andrew’s better years. Although he has always played Center Field, his batting performance was less than the previous several years by a long shot. What happens when a player isn’t performing up to the level you know they are capable? What do you do when an employee isn’t performing up to the once stellar performance that you know that they can perform at? The worst thing you can do is ignore it. The employee usually knows that they aren’t living up to expectations, and may even know why. To ignore it is to allow the performance to become ‘acceptable’ not just to to co-workers, but to the customers you serve. It’s the same with each of us. In this world you are either constantly performing at an acceptable, preferably higher than acceptable level, or you’re at risk ‘to have your office moved’. Growth is rewarded, slowing performance is tolerable, while stagnation causes immediate attention, and declining anything, unless it’s expenses, always sounds alarms. These are alarms, not bells and whistles – those are sounded for breaking records and top performance. How do you ensure that you don’t get ‘Cutched’ by your company. Contribute in positive ways daily, find ways to improve upon your performance, learn more, stay current with trends and technologies, get more education, look for sound and seasoned mentors and coaches who can advise and direct you, and most importantly realize that you’re not always going to be the top performer. But, you can certainly make a difference every day when you come to work. I applaud Andrew McCutchen for his professional position and grace with which he has handled the change handed to him. He’s a class act and will be remembered as such long after his baseball days are over. My personal wish is that he crushes it this year and takes his game to the highest level ever! But as with all things, especially in professional sports, performance is everything. It’s obvious that Andrew knows that hard work always pays off. My guess is that the next phase of his life will bring the same kind of reward, especially based on his dedication, positive presence, and passion for success. Good luck Cutch -we’ll be cheering for you. Sorry to cut this short, I’ve got to run, a guy by the name of Roethlisberger is on the other line.

Please follow and like us:

The Glass Ceiling Shattered?

The Glass Ceiling Shattered?

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

Pitt’s New Athletic Director Once again Pittsburgh is setting the trend of trailblazer compared to the rest of the country. WHY??? Is that glass I hear breaking? Could it be? For the first time in school history and for one of the rare times in Division I Athletics and woman has been named as the Athletic Director. The University of Pittsburgh has named it’s first female Athletic Director. Heather Lyke from Eastern Michigan University. This is an exceptional pick by an exceptional institution. Although you all know I cheer for another great institution 6 hours to our west, I applaud the forward thinking and innovative mindset taken by not only the search committee but by the search firm who led the search. I’m not sure who’s idea it was, but this assignment is even more rare than females taking on CEO roles in corporate America. I wish her great success – as this is an unforgiving sports town – but even more so as a trailblazer she will be scrutinized much closer than her male counterparts. I hope that the institution allows her to surround herself with a team that is as strong as she is. Her accomplishments are already renowned. Now she’ll get to showcase them on an even larger stage! As I was watching the announcement I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened to Penn State if a female was in the Athletic Director’s role when the Jerry Sandusky case came to her desk. As the President there is about to go to trial and his cohorts having already pled guilty, I’d bet that the original complaint would have garnered much more attention and been resolved in a much more expeditious and resolute manner. Back during the U.S. women’s soccer team had just won the World Cup again and was coming to our fair city on their victory tour I wrote an article about the inequity between their compensation and that of the losing men’s team. If there was ever a team that inspired girls to consider sports the women’s soccer team is one. Although you can certainly make the same case for the Connecticut Women’s record shattering Basketball team, but then they are amateurs. Once again we’ve witnessed a significant inequality between men and women. The U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team is in a major dispute with their bosses about their pay, and, as of this writing, have decided to boycott the Women’s Hockey World Cup that is soon to be starting. I’m certain that I know what the leadership is saying. Well, the crowds and sponsorship monies that we get for the women’s games are much less than those of their male counterparts. I get it and there is definitely a business case to be made to support that side. But if there wasn’t such a huge disparity between the two then the difference would be a little more palatable. After all, even in corporate America female professionals and managers are finally over the 80% parity mark. That’s still a travesty, but I commend both PITT and the players of the Women’s National Hockey Team for pushing the envelope.

Please follow and like us:

The Madness of…Predictability Tests

The Madness of…Predictability Tests

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

March Madness, Nor’ Easter’s and Trump Assessments March Madness I just love this time of year. Although today we’ve got more to think about than all of our normal crazy lives. The purest of sports tournaments is underway, although those that didn’t get in probably describe the selection process as much less than pure. But when you consider that more than 64 of the top college basketball teams get to try and prove themselves – one performance at a time. March Madness is the epitome of talent selection, successful leadership, performance management and team and individual coaching. We’re all sports fanatics in our house(s). Everyone in the family is up for this , brackets are scrutinized, favorites are penciled in and the superstitious shirts, socks, shorts, jewelry and of course religious artifacts have been pulled out of the drawers. More than football season, the Stanley Cup playoffs, March Madness pits the best against the rest. There’s always a couple that pony up in their Cinderella slippers, and this year will be no different. Our Irish were just granted an early Saint Patrick’s Day miracle! Phew!!!! But there’s one reason I love this event – this is human capital at it’s finest! Like the world of business college basketball teams, in fact all sports teams, demonstrate the power of human capital. Players like employees are recruited from all over the place. They’re evaluated based on how well they match the core competencies to fill the position. But all selection processes are not the same. Some schools require a strong academic record to meet minimum admission requirements (think Notre Dame, Stanford, and Princeton). It makes no difference how good your performance is, without some proof of intellect you not only won’t get in, you can’t. Others, well, not so much, as long as they can demonstrate performance those academic credentials aren’t so important. The truth is each school has a different set of criteria, with a different set of desired outcomes. A.Win at all cost; b. win but the players must get an education; c. the players must get an education and we really want to win, or, d. I think we have a team but not many people on campus know where the gym is (think Carnegie Mellon or Harvard). The team (important concept here – TEAM) consists of players, from first string to practice squad as well as coaches, instructors, equipment managers, graduate assistants, trainers, physical therapists, and yes, even team physicians and don’t forget the strength coaches and dieticians. If you’re really invested you’ve even got both a sports psychologist and of course the team chaplain. Everyone is selected based on performance. Obviously the most visible are the players on the court, but there are several, in some cases, dozens of other individuals behind the scenes. Each one is compensated (e.g. scholarships et. al.) based on the teams performance and their ultimate performance. After all, their product is a performance, and only a positive performance gets people to pay to watch. Isn’t that what happens on all of our teams in every company we all work for? Top Performance = recurring revenue. Poor performance = you won’t be in business long as your competitors are waiting in the wings for you to foul up. Leadership. Think about it. Someone on the team is going to step up into a leadership role and the coaches will select those who can lead the team both in performance and inspiration, because, as you know, performance is much more than just putting in the minimum hours. We all know those that are performing at their highest level at all times, many times without fanfare or recognition. Yet, without these folks, the operation just doesn’t run the way it could. Coaching – probably the most critical responsibility of any leader, supervisor, manager, director and executive within your firm. Certain coaches can get the best performance from the most unlikely staff. While the best can get not only top performance from an individual but from a team, department, division, and ultimately company. Think about yourself. We’ve all worked for individuals who we’d have tried to do anything to over deliver. While we’ve also had that one schmuck who you knew it was only going to be a matter of time until either they moved on, or you were. March Nor’ Easter So the Meteorologists mostly missed their prediction this week. Three to six inches of snow this week here turned into a slight dusting, and in many cases nothing but cold air. Some places got about what was predicted, but those were the exception not the rule. But that’s not the challenge most of us will have with the prediction. The Chief Meteorologists in all of the major markets that were to be affected by this storm had a conference call last weekend. What they realized was that the predictions were flawed, indeed completely wrong. Unfortunately they decided to continue with the dire forecast believing that they were going to error on the side of caution. Truth is that decision affected businesses, schools, parents, day care, and thousands, wait, millions of lives and schedules. What is the responsibility of the Meteorologist – to give as accurate a prediction as possible. Not make a judgement call about what is good or bad for us. We, the consumer of their expertise, can make an informed and educated decision about what how to proceed. Did someone cry WOLF??? Could this be Fake Weather??? Erode enough trust away from those entrusted in positions of authority, especially in those who have a pure responsibility to report the facts, eventually you continue to move the needle from respect and trust to one of wary and uncertainty. Can the message you send to your employees, and customers be trusted the same way? Come to think of it many of the business, specifically employee facing, laws today were created because employers were less than honest or forthright with their employees. Our workshop People Compliance in a World Full of Litigation covers all 46 laws that impact employees today. Like the simplification of the IRS Code, these laws need to be understood by everyone in business leadership roles, at least until these are all simplified as well. Trump, Twitter, Media and Politics What did you expect? Take someone who has never held that responsibility and put them dead center of chaos. Unfortunately it’s going to take an entire series of outsiders to right a system that has been severely listing from one side to the other for the past four leadership teams led by a more and more insulated group of disconnected individuals. Listen for political rhetoric, those are the individuals holding on to the archaic broken rules and systems that need to change. Think Biggest Loser takes on Extreme Makeover. Everything is certain to be uncertain. Unconventional will become conventional. At it’s core the theories are reasoned, it’s their execution that will take the strongest leadership. What is going to happen over the next four years can be likened to an architect who needs to design buildings capable of withstanding regular earthquakes and tsunami’s. Add one unique challenge – the architect is standing in a building already swaying from tremors on a foundation weakened by the first waves of a tsunami. As for Media and Politics, there’s only one thing that gets readers or viewers – the juicy story. Have you seen the commercial where the young girl gets a new car while another gentleman finds his car up on blocks. It’s brilliant, and the best portrayal of media today. Both the girl and the guy say the exact same words – but with completely different contexts. Stories about puppies and babies are interesting, but they will not sell enough papers to cover their operating costs. The next four years will see such a huge uptick in paper sales that they should all be thanking our president for saving their businesses!!! Next up: Assessments and the Reassignment of Top Performers.

Please follow and like us:

The Olympics: One of the Greatest Demonstrations of Human Resources

The Olympics: One of the Greatest Demonstrations of Human Resources

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

THE OLYMPICS, AND HOW IT IS ONE OF THE GREATEST EXAMPLES OF HUMAN RESOURCES The Olympics is one of the greatest live demonstrations of Human Resources on parade. How’s that? This is an exceptional collection of human talent assembled to perform at their highest level with the best coaching, tools, and highest goals possible. Compliance, performance management, training and development, selection, it’s a showcase of HR expertise. Every four years I get my complete fill of all things sports. I consider the Olympics as the pinnacle of the sport junkie’s dream. 42 different tournaments/sports, in 306 events with more than 10,000 competitors from 207 countries. As a former college athlete, a high school coach, and a house full of sports and athletic addicts this time every four years has our house constantly checking for the latest competition results and human interest stories. But I look at the Olympics through an entirely different set of lenses than most. Mine are keenly focused on all things people – after all – isn’t this the greatest display of human performance ever??? Let’s look at the big buckets of HR responsibility. Recruitment, Employee Relations, Benefits, Compensation, Compliance, Training and Development, Performance Management. Recruitment. The U.S. Olympic committee recruits the best athletes in our country to compete against the best from the rest of the world. Their selection standards are rigorous, but their results are unquestionable. Granted, we don’t all have the budget that the USOC has, but they create and hold themselves accountable to very high standard. Those job descriptions and levels of performance – aka ‘key performance indicators’ – are very well known to anyone who wants to compete and make the team. Training and Development. Although none of us will personally fully appreciate the amount of training, sacrifice and commitment that it takes to be become one of these elite, the amount of training and development that is necessary to perform at this level is extraordinary. The coaches, assessments, specialized instruction, and defined role expectations is second to none. I particularly like the story of the female triathlete that one the gold from the U.S. Not on the Olympic Athlete radar 6 years ago as a competitive swimmer in Wisconsin and won the gold medal this year. How much new instruction and training was necessary to get her to deliver her greatest performance? Compliance. From drug use ( can someone call the Russian teams and let them know what this means), to the rules of performance – they are well defined and adhered to. Ask the US Men’s relay team that didn’t exchange the baton properly according to the rules and was disqualified, or the women’s relay team that was initially disqualified and then given the chance to appeal and not only win a spot in the finals, brought home the gold! Employee (athlete) engagement. What better way to demonstrate engagement than to perform at your highest level, and to have a support system around you that is there to encourage and guide you so that you can meet and exceed the performance standards that are set for you. Benefits – hmm – there are a lot of those, both tangible and intangible, besides the travel, accommodations, food and entertainment. The opportunity to capitalize on merely being on the Olympic Team is extraordinary. Compensation – Every athlete that wins a medal gets paid for winning that medal, beside the opportunity for compensation from endorsements and promotions. Employee Relations and discipline. You could have anticipated there was going to be some screw up with unprofessional behavior by someone. It’s almost impossible putting that many people together that someone doesn’t do everything right, even though they all know what the rules of conduct are. Ryan Lochte screwed up. He’s admitted it, as did the other three muskateers that were with him. The discipline will follow a defined protocol, but as a very wise HR expert once said ‘ you can’t fix stupid’. Performance Management. Talk about having your performance on public display!!! Ask the gymnasts or the platform divers what it must feel like to have several subject matter experts (aka judges) evaluating you live in front of several thousand other people. And the clock, and scores are the ultimate performance indicator. Safety and Security – Fortunately the security and safety of everyone was of paramount importance. There were no outward signs of a security breech and every individual from the coaches, athletes, families and fans were safe throughout the competition. I suppose we will never know what may have happened behind the scenes, but those individuals responsible for this aspect did their jobs in a most professional manner. And one other factor usually assigned to HR – diversity. I didn’t see the reports, but there were just about as many women competing in this Olympics as there were men, and it seemed like all races were represented equally. There is a lot be learned about HR from the Olympics,. I particularly like the fact that people just happen to be the most valuable asset, and that just happens to be what true HR professionals do best!

Please follow and like us:

Equal Play, Equal Pay?

Equal Play, Equal Pay?

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

Equality = Equal Pay in Sports – a Landmark case going to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). They say that once your strap on your cleats everyone plays on an even playing field. That performance on the field is an equalizer, not who has the nicer uniforms, stadium or bigger sponsors. We live in the greatest country this world has ever seen. In the 6,000 or so years that we humans have been ‘civilized’ an experiment in equality was started a mere 200+ years ago. When the great inequalities were thrust upon us by founding governments (think the great British Empire) caused us enough pain that we were willing to take up arms and fight for our own rights – to be free of the tyranny and apparent ‘unjust treatment’ put upon us by an assertive governing body. Those brave souls had to be unbelievably courageous. If you even get the chance walk the Freedom Trail in Boston and remember what it must have been like back then. I’m willing to put everything I have at risk to fight for what is right – and we United States citizens have been doing it ever since. Some with honest intent while others have had more dubious agendas. The U.S. Women’s Soccer team has filed a gender discrimination case against the U.S. Soccer Federation looking for compensation parity with the U.S. Men’s Soccer team. Both of these teams are governed by the same organization. Think FIFA (the world governing body of soccer) only U.S. country specific without all of the graft and political morass, or is it? Some simple facts: The U.S. Women’s Soccer team is the greatest female athletic team in the world. There are none better nor as accomplished. Not in Europe or Asia or South America where this is the most dominant sport played by every athlete. They are the model for every little girl who wanted to play a competitive highly physical sport. Just ask my daughter Maria who played this with the same intensity but with greater acclaim than any of her three brothers. It’s the most aggressive physically demanding of all sports. In a typical 90 minute game each player, save the goalie, runs an average of 5-6 miles, with opponents constantly trying to beat you, physically, with their feet and legs and bodies. Think full contact – all the time! At the professional level, you have limited substitutions, in fact only 3 are permitted throughout the entire game. Try that as a football or basketball player. Add a continuous running clock – hint: there are no timeouts in this sport. No chance to get your legs or catch a breather. Let’s add one more important aspect of this sport – the only protective gear you can wear is a pair of 7 inch shin guards so that when an opponent kicks you (usually legally) as hard as they can the pain is distributed over your entire lower leg and not just at the point of contact. This U.S. Women’s Team and each of their players is paid on average only 45% of their male counterparts. How many world cups have the men played in? That’s not fair. How many elite eight have the men’s team played in World Cup history? And final four or championship games? Your Jeopardy answer – What is none! The women have won the ‘World Championship’ THREE TIMES and competed in the championship game four times. The won it all again just last year. The US Soccer Federation has used the argument that the men’s team draws more crowds and generates more revenue than the women’s – after all they are men! Yet the truth is that last year the women’s team generated a $16 million dollar PROFIT for the U.S. Federation while the men’s team lost $2 million. When we went to see the women’s team play at Heinz field last year there was a crowd of more than 44,000 people there. Not bad for an exhibition game! Of course it helped that local prodigy Meghan Klingenberg of Pine Richland was on the team and starts as a defender. So now, on behalf of the entire team, five of the stars of the team have filed a class action suit against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation. In a country where equality really, really means something, after all we’re willing to take up arms to protect those inalienable rights, it’s about time! Having been in front of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission arguing in defense of both my clients and employers, I’m wondering what defense that their employer is going to use? This isn’t about sponsorship, or viewers. It will be hard to use Nielsen ratings or team popularity – these athletes are rock stars! Perhaps this glass ceiling once shattered, will bring on its own revolution! This should be a wake-up call to all compensation committees everywhere. After all equality is worth fighting for – just read your history books! Dave P.S. Dave was a four year varsity soccer letterman in college, has been coaching youth soccer for the past 30 years and a high school coach for the past 20. All four of his children played soccer from age 5 through high school. They were all named to their respective All Section Teams. His daughter was the only one named to the All WPIAL Team. Why? Some might say because she had to compete against the boys, and that made her stronger than the rest. The U.S. Women’s team has proven their strength and their value – isn’t it time their compensation reflected it?

Please follow and like us:

What do you Value More: Privacy or Security?

What do you Value More: Privacy or Security?

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

Big Brother, Terrorism and your Privacy – Who’s rights are more important.

Apple vs. FBI.

So here is the government, or one arm of it, looking to exercise its access to private information in the name of national security.  Apple says no, the FBI files a lawsuit to force them in the interest of national security, and the stage is set for a major showdown.

First, let’s assume that you are one of the individuals who was injured by the San Bernardino terrorist – or worse – you are the family member of one who was killed.  I pray that none of our readers ever has to experience such a tragedy.  You’d want justice and it wouldn’t matter what means were necessary to get it, but you’d want it if for no other reason than to exact revenge on the guilty.  I know I would.  Innocent people injured or killed by fanatics who have twisted their faith into an unspeakable act.  These weren’t back street low life thugs you think about when you watch the news.  This is a husband and wife – worse – the mother and father of two little children – who dropped their kids off at child care – and then went to their employer’s site to kill innocent people.  No signs of terroristic activity, nothing to make you suspicious of them and yet something triggered them at this point in time.  What was their motivation?  Were there – better yet – are there – others who they may be associated with and may be planning similar heinous crimes?  Guess what – we may be able to unravel this – they used technology throughout their days and weeks leading up to their actions.  All we have to do is unlock their technology and perhaps we’ll know what we need to know.  Do you have the key?  No, but I think I know someone who does …

Here’s the rub, Apple can unlock the device, they’ve done it for me when I forgot the impenetrable multiple letter and number sequence I use to encrypt my devices – and forgot the actual code.  My understanding is that they’ve done it for this particular device in question – an Apple 5S smart phone.  The FBI has been able to access all of the information that they wanted from the phones in question.  But that’s not what the FBI wants.  They want APPLE to develop an entire set of codes and give them access to it so that they can unlock anyone’s device for any reason or no reason, provided they follow the proper legal steps to acquire the device, without having to go to Apple to access the device.  Apple said no, sorry, the privacy of our customers and their devices must be protected regardless of your interest in accessing that information.   We’ll unlock specific devices, but we’re not going to give you access to everyone’s – that seems a little onerous and we know no one within the government would ever use private information for nefarious purposes – RIGHT???  Katherine Kane, the embattled state Attorney General, is currently in a career fight with the justice department because she used access to their government owned computers to track not only porn sites the officials were accessing during company work time, but  their e-mails as well, many which were completely inappropriate for the workplace.   That said, have you updated your computer, e-mail and social media policy yet in your handbook?

Where does the government, in this case the FBI, an arm of the Federal Government, have limitations?  George Orwell predicted this in his book ‘1984’ where the government could watch your every move via video, reverse video, and information transfer.  Although we don’t appreciate it and take way too much for granted, your every keystroke on your computer is already monitored via google and the other huge data aggregators.  Have you ever wondered why ads keep popping up on Facebook about new cars, or recipes, or some other search you just completed seemingly coincidently after you did some search on your computer?  These information aggregators sell your search activity to marketers that you are a prime target for their specific marketing information.  And magically those ads appear on all of your linked social media.  What about the ads that tell you about something that is happening in your home town?  All of those actions are linked to an IP address physically located on the modem that you are using to access the internet.  So, you may be moving from device to device in your home but in reality they’re all going in and out of the same central source and that central source has an ID associated with it including a location ID.  Did you know there are companies that have the technology today to cross reference all of your devices and tell you exactly where you are sitting?  Law enforcement uses it today to track people who are ‘missing’ with a device in hand.  A few years ago one of my children lost their smart phone in Washington D.C.  Using the tracking device on the phone we were able to find it sitting in a cab he had taken the night before and exactly where it was parked.  In fact we watched it move when it picked up a fare.  And if my son can tell me approximately what row I’m sitting in at Heinz Hall on Friday night, how hard is it for the government officer or some hack to do the same?

What is the big deal?  This is a big one.  Like HIPPA that protects your medical information using limited access governance, there will be legislation that will be debated shortly on who has the right to access your information, and what are they going to use it for.  You have a right to your information privacy, and, although most people don’t protect it, now is the time to insure that it is.  Technology is great and Apple and all of the other technology geniuses continue to develop better and more powerful solutions today that we didn’t realize we couldn’t live without yesterday.  In my opinion, your rights to privacy are immediately forfeited once you commit an act of terrorism.  But giving general access for any other reason to my devices I believe crosses into a new arena of personal privacy and security.

-Dave Baker

Please follow and like us:

The Flint Water Crisis: an HR Disaster

The Flint Water Crisis: an HR Disaster

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

 

In the wake of the Flint Michigan disaster regarding their public water I started thinking about my family and friends.  Are we safe?  Do I trust the government and public officials to take care of me and my loved ones too much?  I read with great intent several articles regarding the water crisis in Flint Michigan and was horrified with what happened.  Somewhere in the mix in order to save money the elected authorities sacrificed the safety of all of their residents.  I then started to think about my own family, my little 3 and 1 year old grandchildren, my nephews and nieces, my sisters, my 100 first cousins, my beloved and valued staff and their families.  What about them, are they safe?  Should we all be concerned?  How could we stop this?  And then I started wondering if there was a common denominator – or worse – a missing common denominator?  And then the light went off.

In our experience, and we are blessed to have served hundreds of clients in private, public, for profit and non-profit companies each of them had one primary focal point.  They were concerned about their employees and most – they were concerned about their employees’ actions on the greater community that they served.  To a person these organizations called us to assist them in developing programs, policies, procedures and organizational structures to address key employee issues but always with the greater good of their customers and employees and communities at heart.  They know that what they do is going to impact others and they want to have people practices in place to ensure that those take into consideration the big picture.

Then I started to think about communities like my own, and the school districts that we are in and surround us and quickly came to realize that these public servants generally have one key common denominator missing.  Professional people leadership and the governance of the people who serve all of us. Doing a little research on the Human Resources in Flint you are quickly directed to the team that deals with the labor relations – the interface with the unions – that provide the exceptional services to their city – and I have no doubt that they do.  What is missing is the HR officer who is responsible for leadership, accountability, ethics, performance, organizational development, etc. etc.  In most public companies, those governed by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) they are required by SOX and their Insurers and investors to have in place a system to address risk and liabilities.  A place where anyone that is involved with the company – from employees to investors, can privately express their concerns over actions being taken by anyone in the company that would put their business, and thus the livelihoods and employment of their employees at risk.  In these public companies whistleblowers are protected – and systems have been created so that another Enron or WorldCom shouldn’t happen again.  I say shouldn’t because somewhere right now amidst the thousands of public companies under the governance of such laws there are individuals working deceptively to steal and cheat for themselves at the risk of the rest of the employees who are doing the right thing.

The same thing is happening in our school districts.  In our region alone more than 13 school districts have had teachers and coaches and administrators arrested and charged with sexual harassment of the very children they’ve been hired to teach – and protect.  We all sent our kids to these schools – trusting that they would be safe and that the teachers had our kids’ safety as their top priority.  And you know what’s really frightening – these are the 13 school districts where the teachers or people in positions of authority have been caught.  Research shows that only 30% of sexual harassment is ever reported  (http://cmsac.org/facts-and-statistics/)   There are 501 school districts in our state – at that rate at least 150 of them have reported incidents.  150 DISTRICTS!!!  Why aren’t the other 70% reported – lack of people who can be trusted – lack of human resource leadership who has been trained and who can take immediate action to investigate and report and protect our students, our children, from individuals in leadership roles who somehow don’t understand their responsibility – what we’ve entrusted them with – the lives of the people we love the most.

What can be done?  The implementation of people practices and processes that can address any of these people management challenges.  They shouldn’t only be in public companies.  Local governments, school districts, and private companies should all have a system of highly qualified and trained human capital leaders or a responsible ethics/risk team for each and any of these issues.  Why and ethics/risk team? Because such a forum shouldn’t be able to be manhandled by an elected mayor, governor, politician or school principal or superintendent.  Imagine a leadership office in Flint who could listen to and immediately address the concerns.  It is now obvious that the employees knew the water was contaminated but were shut up by leaders above them.  More will be discovered as the investigations continue.  An exceptional HR practice responsible for ethics and protecting the employees and the community that these public positions serve would have eliminated all of this from the start.  Just ask Penn State.  It’s only cost them $260 million dollars to ignore the Jerry Sandusky behavior and has wrecked dozens of lives that will never recover.  Are you one off from being responsible yourself?  What do you know?  And better yet – who can/would you turn to?

 

Please follow and like us:

The Biggest Humanitarian Crisis of our Era? Or just a Political Issue?

The Biggest Humanitarian Crisis of our Era? Or just a Political Issue?

DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:

HOW WILL YOU BEGIN YOUR NEW YEAR?

It’s time to start discriminating.  Are you an 80 or a 20?

No one believes that you should truly be safe from discrimination based on your race, creed, color, gender or national origin, disability, age or military status do you?  Everyone who is different than you should be discriminated against – RIGHT?

ARE YOU NUTS???

There is a reason we’re the greatest country on this planet.  More than 200 years ago a group of very intelligent and risk irrelevant individuals decided to create a new political model.  One that no one in the history of man had ever tried.  They decided to create a country based on one premise, that all men are created equal.  Not white people, or black people, or Asian people.  Not that women should be subservient to men. Not people of one faith over another.  They didn’t say damn the disabled or aged or hold of lesser importance people of lower income or education.  It was pretty clear – they said it simply but profoundly – ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.  That philosophy has woven the greatest patchwork of human success in all of history.

What we do here in the United States is the most difficult political system on the planet.  Why?  Because of that belief.  What we do is really, really hard.  We’ve taken hundreds of differences and blended them all together.  Races, religions, nationalities, ages, disabilities, and educational levels. There are great differences in incomes, schools, professions, communities, industries and the places we call home. We have differences in sports, hobbies, interests and passions.  We have different foods, desserts, side dishes, snacks and recipes and flavors we love and those we don’t.  We have hundreds of different drinks from juices, soft drinks and sport drinks to beers, wines and spirits.  We each take care of ourselves in different ways with hundreds of different health routines, exercise habits, and diets.  And there are differences in our families too.  Some are huge with hundreds of cousins and aunts and cousins while others are small with only a few members of our immediate families.  We relax in an unlimited number of ways whether that’s by enjoying time with family, friends, a book, a movie, an electronic game, a tablet or television.

We sit atop the greatest health science in the world.  The collection of medical brilliance in our country is hundreds of times better than the next best medical system on the planet.  We spend more money on medical research to find cures and treatments for anything and everything than the rest of the world combined.  Our health system is really expensive to run – but it funds the greatest medical breakthroughs – no – miracles – in all of history.

And we sit atop the greatest innovations in the world.  Over the past 100 years almost all of the greatest innovations on the planet have come from our country.  And what is better, there are thousands more already in process and behind that thousands more.  There are more than 650 venture capital firms in this country today and their portfolio of companies, some 7,000 companies, are right now creating some of the greatest innovations we and our children and their children will ever see.

There are about 320 million people in the United States.  80% of those people are good, hard working, conscientious people who care about everyone and everything around them.  That takes into account 256 million people.  Conversely,  about 20%  of our population don’t share in those same values or beliefs.  Here’s a question – Wouldn’t it be great if the 256 million people could show the way to the 64 million who need it.  So is Bob Cratchit and his family an 80 or a 20 – and what about old Ebenezer.  Certainly Mr. Fezziwig fits on the high end of one of those distribution curves – doesn’t he?

And who does it all begin with? Each of us!  We’re responsible.  Apathy is the greatest sin.

What can you do?  Start with random acts – it’s easy during the Holidays!  Simple gestures for others that show you care.  We’re surrounded by them every day – opportunities to care.  Perhaps that’s the solution – the 80% taking regular positive action to show others you care.  Perhaps in those acts you’ll touch a few of the 20% and they’ll follow suit.

 

So – are you and 80 or a 20??  When you go back over your year could you prove it – and could you have done better?

Look for our new ‘pay it forward’ solutions coming in 2016!  Programs, solutions and tools to help you be a better manager and professional tomorrow than you were yesterday!

Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year!!!

P.S. Lest we relax, there are about a half a percent ½ % of our population – about 1.6 million under lock and key.  Some of these are incorrigible who have no regard for anyone.   But there is an even smaller part of our population that we need to be even more wary of – it’s the 1/10 of 1% of our population.  It seems like such a small number – 1 tenth of 1% of a population of 320 million.  Note – that is 320,000 people in this country right now that want to cause others harm.  Be always vigilant.  The challenges to our beliefs by the likes of acts in San Bernardino, or Sandy Hook, or a Boston Marathon, or an Oklahoma City or 9/11 are always going to be around us.  Be vigilant.  These are people who are around us at all times.  Although we may be suspicious of some, others will integrate readily amongst.  And until someone comes up with a way to identify these you need to protect yours.  Be safe!

 

Please follow and like us: