This week, I’m interviewing Chris Taylor, writer, entrepreneur, and speaker, about his first book Beyond the Picket Fence, now available for pre-order. I was intrigued about the message of Chris’s book to live a deliberate life and wanted to know more about what this means for employees and employers, and Chris did not disappoint. I think that his message captures the mindset that many of us (regardless of generation) are drawn to in light of the changing dynamics of our economy and the evolution of the traditional ’psychological contract’ we enter into with our employers. Employees and employers both stand to gain by considering his thesis. I caught up with Chris in Spain via e-mail.
- Congratulations on your book Chris! Is it weird to be on the other side of things, being interviewed about your own book, rather then you asking an author questions about theirs as founder of Actionable Books?
Thanks Jane. It’s definitely a different experience, but I’m enjoying having a message to share that I feel so strongly about. I always thought the best interviews I’ve hosted were with people who were passionate about their material, so I’m just hoping that comes through now that I’m on the other side of the proverbial mic!
An explicit focus in almost every area of HR is getting, developing, growing, and keeping top performers. The cream of the crop, the engaged, motivated and committed super star, showering discretionary effort wherever they go like flower petals.
And yet, we accept that performance distribution will look like this:
Or, if you agree with Josh Bersin, like this:
“An office is a place to live life to the fullest, to the max. An office is a place where dreams come true.” – Michael Scott, Dunder Mifflin
Have you noticed how organizations are no longer content with simply having engaged employees? Now they must also be happy. Why? In part because research claims to show that happy employees are more productive and create more value for their organizations.
Ah, say the social science majors, welcome to our world, where proving causation (rather than just correlation) is not such an easy thing to do. In fact, as reported in a recent article from Inc, competing research shows that happiness may in fact be a bi-product of focus and productivity, not the other way around. Read more
If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I have strong feelings about the ability of mentorship to accelerate career progression and professional achievement. So, it will come as no surprise to you that I am up on my soap box at the EOList this week. Check out my post about how proteges so often overlook the influence they have over the results of mentorship: A Complete User Guide to Your Mentor
One of the very few downsides to becoming a homeowner is that people (ok, your parents), don’t want to store your things (ok, junk) anymore: “You have your own basement now.” Fair enough. That is how I found myself sorting through half a dozen boxes of books, notes and random items that I had not seen since 2002, when I packed them away after University.
I’ve always had pack-rat tendencies, which at least partially explains why my inventory of these boxes turned up one (practically fossilized) high-school geometry notebook (the only math I ever truly enjoyed), my Forensic Anthropology Training Manual (with margin annotations about the intertrochanteric crest), the outline for my 4th year Social Theory thesis paper on postmodernism, ethnography and Ludwig Wittengenstein’s ideas about language and meaning (duck rabbit), and a stack of other random university papers I authored.
Reading these papers was unpleasantly disorienting. It wasn’t just that I didn’t remember writing them; it was as though they were written by a completely different human being, someone who was not me. I have frequent occasion to think “I wish I knew then what I know now”, but never before “I wish I knew now what I knew then”. Read more
A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to be able to attend the 2014 HRPA Conference as a blogger to observe and share my thoughts on this year’s keynotes, sessions speakers, trade show vendors and after-party shenanigans. It was awesome (thanks HRPA and Achievers), and proved to be excellent inspiration for a handful of blog posts over at LiveHR.ca. By far the most read and most shared post I wrote was based on Bonni Titgemeyer‘s great session about becoming an HR blogger (republished below). I got lots of comments on Twitter, retweets and favorites, and many of them were from non-bloggers. Clearly Bonni’s presentation, and my post, struck a nerve. I can’t help but think that there are many HR folks out there (possibly lurking in shrubberies) who love the idea of blogging and are looking for their chance to dip a toe in the water.
I’m about to tell you about that chance! Read more
A couple of articles in The Economist and The Atlantic this week have me thinking about peak jobs again. Especially since The Economist article pulls in the thoughts of anthropologist David Graeber, as my last blog post on the topic did. As a reminder, the concept of peak jobs refers to a point at which technology’s destruction of jobs (through automation or innovation) meets or exceeds its capacity to create jobs (through demand for technological goods and services). As I’ve written about previously, anxiety related to peak jobs has amplified in recent years as the type of jobs being automated has shifted from the most menial roles to jobs that we previously viewed as safe. This, combined with a broad hollowing out of middle management jobs in many sectors (jobs we still tend to agree are safe from automation), has left a larger group of us watching our backs for the encroaching robot workforce. Read more
As the late, great Whitney Houston said: “Crack is whack”. Truthfully, it’s pretty hard to expand or improve upon Ms. Houston’s assessment of this particular issue, which is why it’s taken me a while to extract the deeper lessons that I knew lurked under the sordid surface of the Rob Ford fiasco.
Rob Ford is my mayor. That is, he was inflicted on me by a significant proportion of my fellow Torontonians in our most recent mayoral election. But I don’t hold it against them; truly we lacked compelling alternatives, and they were all probably in a drunken stupor anyway, so how can I hold them responsible? The point is, while the world held witness to the most surreal, ‘Daily Show’ worthy portion of Mr. Ford’s downward spiral, the good people of Toronto have had to endure actually having him as the mayor of the fourth largest city in North America. This reality holds some genuinely important lessons about leaders and the organizations that create and empower them, buried as they might be under a fine, white powder.
A belated happy New Year to you. You may have noticed that I took a little bit of a blog-cation over the last month or two. I’m still here, but had a few things to take care of as 2013 drew to a close. Despite that, 2013 ended on a high note, with the outstanding Michael Carty of Xpert HR selecting my post ‘Manatees, Tube Tops and Policies for the Clueless Few’ as a top HR blog pick for the year! Who knew that those peaceful water elephants of the mangrove swamps would prove to be such good luck? If you missed that post, and enjoy a good rant about rules made for the willfully ignorant among us, please check it out here.
In other news, I’m really excited to report that I’ll be blogging from the 2014 HRPA conference this week; you can catch me (and a distinguished panel of my fellow HR Bloggers) at LiveHR. The annual HRPA conference is the premier HR event in Ontario, always bringing together the best and brightest in Human Resources, and I look forward to sharing this year’s high points and musings with you. Thanks to HRPA and Achievers for their support of the HR blogging community! Perhaps I’ll see you there?