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Networking Doesn’t Suck. Our Mindset Does.

As humans, there are certain common aspects of existence that we are all supposed to dislike. Mother-in-laws, the Department of Motor Vehicles, final exams, root canals…and networking.

“I know I have to network to get a job, but it’s so hard.”

As a textbook introvert, I used to take these lamentations to mean that I must not be doing it right, because, well, I rather enjoyed “networking”. And that couldn’t be right, could it?

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The One Thing You Should Know About a Career in HR

I’m doing really well at the saddest goal I’ve ever set. This year, after an honest assessment of where my time was going and a realization that I was consistently overcommiting myself, I faced facts and stopped doing some things. Chief among them was that I stopped going for coffee with people just because they asked me to.

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Psychic Entropy, Deep Work, and the Post-Knowledge Economy

Being a knowledge worker is so 2016. At a recent event, a speaker described our economy as being on the threshold of the ‘post knowledge era‘ – a period in which companies will achieve competitive advantage not by accruing the most data, but by honing the ability to focus on the most salient information, and coax relevant insights and analysis from it. While AI will increasingly be used for routine, repeatable tasks which can be governed by rules, our human intelligence is still unmatched at using context and intuition to reach non-linear insights, and in a world awash in information our attention (rather than knowledge) will become the scarce resource.

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Don’t Make Me Happy

I’ve just spent a week working with a few of my Actionable colleagues on the other side of the world. This gave me cause to reflect on both the obvious and intangible elements that contribute to our exceptionally collaborative team culture. It also meant that I had a lot of time on several airplanes to catch up on my reading list. Something that had been in my Pocket list for awhile was this short article by Olivia Godhill about employee happiness. I wrote about this topic years ago, and have since mostly ignored the employee happiness hype, but it continues to be an alarmingly popular aspiration for many in HR.

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Did We Create the “Passionate Quitter”?

If you had to choose between two employees for your organization, both solid performers, one deeply passionate about their work and profession but who will leave within 3 years, and the other who is looking for a long-term career with your company but sees this work as “just a job”, who would you pick?  .

If you chose the passionate employee who’s likely to move on soon, why? I’m not suggesting that this choice is wrong. But I am curious about the reasons behind it.

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Does ‘Remote Work’ Work?

When I joined Actionable at the beginning of this year I had never worked remotely, aside from the odd day over the years when I worked from home to spare my colleagues from a particularly vicious cold. I’d worked in organizations with remote workers, and had handled plenty of HR challenges and questions related to those arrangements, but I’d never experienced it first hand. Joining a fully remote, distributed organization was daunting: it meant that I needed to figure out how to work remotely for myself, while also understanding the particular needs of a remote and distributed team.

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Can I Give You Some Feedback?

Feedback. It sounds so basic. So obvious. It’s easy to get distracted by the latest HR tech, the robots, Uber’s garbage fire. But feedback deserves our attention. Mostly because we’re terrible at it, and that is at the root of so many problems and missed opportunities in our organizations. We think we get it, but I have my doubts. You can tell because so many people talk about feedback like it’s a chore.

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Weightlifting and the Inner Game Of Work

This post is not really about weightlifting. Rather, it’s about the unexpected framework that lifting has provided for thinking about all the ways that I (and I suspect many other humans) tend to get in their own way at work.

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Why HR Should Talk Less About Culture

This week an old post of mine, HR’s Sloppy Thinking About Culture, was shared on LinkedIn and then Twitter (thank you very much Simon Jones and Rob Briner). Once I got over the initial shock that five years have passed since I wrote it, it seemed like a good opportunity to revisit the topic of organizational culture.

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What HR Should Know About the Future of Jobs

This week I noticed an eye-catching stat making the rounds again. You’ve likely seen it as well:

“65% of today’s elementary school students will do jobs that do not yet exist”

Although it sounds believable, the claim is actually quite suspect. You can read a thoughtful tale of its history and context in this excellent essay from Benjamin Doxtdator: A Field Guide to ‘jobs that don’t exist yet’’.

The underlying message this stat conveys is that education is failing to prepare our next generation for the economy of tomorrow. And hey, don’t we already have a digital skills gap?

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