Table of Contents
Top 100 v1.60 Gautam Ghosh
In 2002, there were not many people talking about blogging (the term of art was Weblog). The dot com collapse was still front and center. Business was at a standstill following 911. Weblogging was in its infancy in Silicon Valley. There were few international proponents.
In India, Gautam Ghosh was trying to sort out his place in the world. After a series of starts in the hotel industry and pharma sales, he’d picked up an MBA from XLRI school of Business and Human Resources, one of the country’s leading universities, in 1999. While trying to build career traction, Gautam launched his blog in 2002.
By 2007, he was being recognized (by HRWorld) as one of the most influential online voices in HR. Ghosh is busy demonstrating that social media can be a real careerpath. It’s particulary interesting to hear him tell about the use of social media in India. Creating a new career path in a stodgy discipline like HR is less common outside of the United States.
As the democratization of celebrity continues to push through global society, the applecart is being upset all over the place. Much of the reaction to the algorithm generated lists of HR and Recruiting influencers has to do with the unpredictability of new work trajectories. Emerging communications technologies make head spinning career moves possible.
Ghosh rode the blogging trajectory through stints with Dell, Deloitte, HP and Erewhon while coming to the conclusion that his future was in independent consulting. By 2009, Businesspundit.com had him listed as one of the top 75 business blogs in the world. It’s pretty heady stuff.
In my conversations with Ghosh, I’ve always noticed an undertone of something particularly HR-like in his approach to developing his vocation. “I was always looking for my place in the world,” he said in a recent phone call. This emphasis on ‘fit’ is at the heart of what social media makes possible.
He told me about a large Indian company that has a Chief Beliefs Officer. The CBO is responsible the way that rituals, beliefs and myths are deployed in the workplace. Ghosh used the example to illuminate some of the differences between Indian HR and it’s more Western implementations.
“We are not investing in fundamental research and are just blindly applying Western HR concepts to work. But, as you can imagine, in a land where a ‘CBO’ is a good idea, there are some hiccups. Work, compensation, community and motivation are all different culturally. We are in the early stages of discovering what is Indian about Indian HR”.
That’s part of the reason that Ghosh joined the startup 2020Social, where he heads the talent practice. The company’s clients are mostly in the marketing space. 2020Social has Ghosh in its ranks because they understand that the difference between custmers and employees is mostly theoretical.
Gautam Ghosh is a role model in his home country and around the world. A decade of demonstrating that alternate career paths work while focusing on big ideas and implementation gives him a platform for influence all over the world.
Five Scenarios: IX Opportunities
I’m looking forward to the conversation in San Diego at ERE. (There’s still time to register if you hurry). With any luck, we’ll do something really interesting. I hope that the articles to date will provide a framework for discussion and brainstorming. The session is at 3:15 on Wednesday the 17th. I’m interested in seeing how long it can go.
My presentation will take about 6 or 7 minutes. The rest is conversation. I’m of the opinion that this sort of thing is better done by conversation than a presumptuous lecture.
We’ve covered a broad range of topics in the series to date: Geopolitics, Demographics, Automation, Health Systems, Infrastructure, and Performance Management as a Lifestyle. It’s been a whirlwind tour through a range of possibilities. The idea behind scenario planning is stretching your mind to the point that you can see opportunities and vulnerabilities that you can’t discover otherwise.
As if to underline the energy price scenario ($200 oil), crude prices have moved up about 15% in the past month. Soon the rest of the country will be enjoying $3 gasoline like we have in California. Even so, the point of scenarios is not a crisp set of forecasts. The idea is to get at the underlying structure of possibility.
Here’s the real headline. Disruption is coming to a recruiting operation near you. And, soon.
(Disruption happens when industries are overturned by a new way of looking at things. We’ve been undergoing waves of disruption while reconsidering recruiting in the light of slower growth and regionalization. It’s likely that fundamental definitions of quality, success, performance and delivery are going to change. One great example of Recruiting Disruption is the ARMY’s video game that was originally used as a recruiting tool. Nowadays, it is a part of the soldier life cycle. The recruiting tool becomes the training tool. That’s a whole new way of managing human capital.)
At the turn of the 20th Century (say, 1905), most people worked on farms. Cars and airplanes were unusual. Communications meant snail mail. Some cities had big companies but they were not the norm. Recruiting then, as it is now in the vast majority of cases, involved word of mouth and ‘referrals’ (meaning the willingness to vouch for someone) As organizations flatten and relationships between them and the people who work for them evolve, several things are going to be really important:
- Knowing exactly what you want to have done is the most cost effective way to get it done. This means more planning.
- Sensors will be everywhere generating amazing insight into work, customers, markets and organizations.
- Human Resources will be increasingly called to task for navel gazing at the expense of operations (see the ARMY video game for 21st Century HR)
- More and more people will work for smaller and smaller companies.
- Recruiting will have to spread beyond relationships that involve W2s. Recruiting is talent acquisition, not employee acquisition.
New techniques, ideas and approaches will take root in emerging industries and fail in the dying industries. The very way that a company utilizes its people will become the thing that discriminates companies of one era and another.
The point of the conversation in San Diego is to see if we can figure out some of the possibilities and threats. Here’s how to prepare:
Read the rest of the series to be prepared for the conversation::
- Five Scenarios: I Introduction
- Five Scenarios: II The Trends
- Five Scenarios: III The Marketplace
- Five Scenarios: IV The Future Matters
- Five Scenarios: V Guild Cities
- Five Scenarios VI: Invasion of the Shallybots
- Five Scenarios VII: The Pandemic
- Five Scenarios VIII: The Games
2. Make notes about the things that grab you in the material.
3. Pick a scenario and list three things you would do in that scenario.
4. Make a list of three questions you’d ask about the other scenarios.
5. If you can only do one thing, try to identify the one scenario that would make your approach to recruiting fail.
See you in San Diego. (The following week, I’ll summarize the conversation.)
Review: Jennifer Government
The Five Scenarios project pushed my thinking about the future in a number of directions. Geopolitics, automation, game design, demographics and branding all came to the forefront. Getting a handle on a series of alternate futures is an exercise that stretches the imagination.
Along the way, I got into a series of conversations with Paul Hebert. Paul is the CEO of Incentive Intelligence (and a the author of a blog of the same name). He’s also a regular on Fistfulof Talent. (You might want to scan some of his writing there) Paul is an extraordinary thinker about motivation, talent management, corporate politics and branding, among other things.
Following the publication of last week’s installment of Five Scenarios on the all gaming future, I talked with Paul. Since his company develops incentive programs, I figured that a dialog about 24×7 performance management systems would fit right in. Paul responded, in part, by recommending that I read Jennifer Government.
Jennifer Government is a novel set in the not too distant future. Commerce is dominated by three entities: The Government and two affinity clubs. The affinity clubs have their roots in Frequent Flyer programs. The affinity programs have become dominant forms of business organization and there is great competition between the entities.
This is a fully outsourced future. The government has stepped away from many of its traditional roles. The two affinity groups have their own police, enforcement, military and prison systems. The plot swirls around one man’s mistaken outsourcing deal.
When a rogue marketing group at Nike (the folks in Portland must have loved this book) decides to increase sales by killing customers, the adventure begins. The new shoe line, Nike Mercury, has been in an inventory holding pattern. The company is constraining supply to accelerate demand. The killings take place in a crowded mall Nike store on the day that the inventory constraints are released. In the throng of teenage demand, a dozen or so shoppers are killed driving the demand for the new shoe through the ceiling.
The Nike marketing squad runs amok in a plot that includes military engagements between the competing affinity groups and the elimination of the government’s executive team. It’s performance management gone wild.
A thoughtful reader will notice some important questions for contemporary HR.
In an all outsourced world, employment branding and employee loyalty programs become complex and thorny questions. How do you motivate and incent teams built of people with multiple competing motives? At what point does an outsourced worker really represent the company? How do you manage the differences between tax identity and organizational identity? What governance works when the levers become binary (hire or fire)?
The story ends when the central figure gets out of jail. The closing scenes involve his search for work and the spin doctoring he does on his credentials.
Jennifer Government is satire at its best – just enough of a future to poke some serious fun while shedding serious light. Paul Hebert gets five stars for this recommendation.
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In The Know v1.10
Five links to expand your view of HR.
- The IT failures blame game (part 1) (part 2)
Many IT projects (particularly HRIT) end in complete failure (or a negotiated surrender). The Devil’s Triangle of these projects are the major constituent groups: customer, technology vendor, and system integration consulting firm. Each of these groups comes to the table with inherent conflicts of interest and communications/politcal problems. Projects run into trouble when the customer is less than clear (and internally consistent) about its project and the internal communications required to do the real work of IT: behavioral change in the organization.
“These relationships become dysfunctional when project participants focus on their own goals to the detriment of shared project objectives. From this perspective, we can say that late and over-budget projects result when competition overrides cooperation among project participants: The Devil’s Triangle explains how economic pressures can drive software vendors and system integrators to act in ways that do not serve customer interests. It also offers insight into the ways some enterprise software customers damage their own projects. Projects succeed or fail based on how Devil’s Triangle participants manage built-in tensions among themselves. The likelihood of success increases when the three groups align their individual goals and expectations in a spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit. Conversely, implementations fail when greed, inexperience, or arrogance emerge as prominent motivations and one party attempts to gain unreasonable advantage of another.”
- Pay it forward? Cooperative behaviour spreads through a group, but so does cheating
Ethics (positive or negative) are contagious and driven by the culture of an organization.
- The End Of Big Website Builds
All things must pass. And so it is with the dark star, one size fits all corporate website. Think of it as a learning phase in the evolution of corporations as independent publishers. Today and tomorrow, corporate Internet strategy will involve going to where the audience is. At the heart of the operation, there’s a hub, of course. But the web operations of the future focus more on the spokes and the tire.
For HR and Recruiting, this means that ‘social recruiting’ or ‘social HR’ are really just lessons in channel development and management.
- Meet the Sims … and Shoot Them
The Army’s recruiting tool is fast becoming a brand value generation device on a global level. It’s the only HR product we’ve ever seen in the pages of Foreign Policy.
“One of the most popular video games of all time, America’s Army has been played by more than 9 million individuals. But it was actually developed to aid U.S. Army recruiting and has become one of the most successful military recruiting tools. A 2008 study found that 30 percent of all Americans age 16 to 24 had a more positive impression of the Army because of the game and that the game had more impact on recruits than all other forms of Army advertising combined. Once in the military, the gaming platform has also begun to be used for various training applications, including recently for robotic systems that use video-game like controllers modeled after the ones used to play the game.”
In other words, a well designed HR tool can be used throughout the employee life cycle to both attract and develop employees while improving the organization’s overall brand.
- Achievement Design 101
‘Achievement’ is the name used to describe milestones in gaming.
After you read this article, you might wonder why game design isn’t a central component of industrial engineering and incentive/compensation design. While the psychologists and HR pros weren’t looking, someone else developed tools for the structure of next generation work. Scan it, bookmark it, let it work in your subconscious and then go back and read it again.
On the Go v2.10
Snapshots of executive transitions. LinkedIn profile (in bold) when available.
- UAL Corp. appointed Dana Sacks as vice president – Human Resources Partners and Talent Acquisition. Sacks will be responsible for leading the HR support team for the company’s business leaders and for talent acquisition. Most recently Sacks served as vice president of Human Resources for PepsiAmericas. Prior to PepsiAmericas, Sacks held HR leadership roles at Tellabs, Platinum Technology and Amoco Corp.
- Professional staffing firm PROVEN launched its Human Resources Practice which will provide staffing and consulting services to its rapidly growing client base. Morgan Krumb, formerly the Director of Human Resources at 24 Hour Fitness, has been appointed as the Practice’s Senior Partner and joins the Executive Committee of the company. PROVEN’s HR practice will staff a variety of positions which will include HR Generalists, Internal Recruiters, Benefits and Compensation specialists, Training personnel and HRIS professionals. The practice will also provide specialist HR consulting services in the areas of HR department start ups, compensation and benefits, compliance, organizational change and HRIS implementation.
- Hosetta Belcher Coleman has been appointed to Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Foundation Board of Directors. A native of Tampa, Fla., Coleman is senior vice president-human resources director for Fifth Third Bank. In 2005, Coleman joined Fifth Third shortly after the merger with First National Bank. She brought with her 18 years of banking experience, 14 of which were spent in strategic HR management functions. Coleman founded Tampa Bay’s National Association of African Americans in Human Resource Chapter and is still actively involved in the organization. She is a previous board member of the Centre for Women, Inroads, Tampa Bay Committee for the Arts, and currently serves on the Hillsborough County Community Action Board.
- PHH Corporation appointed Adele T. Barbato Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer effective February 25, 2010. In her role, Barbato will assume responsibility for driving business growth and shareholder value through an effective human capital strategy across the company. Barbato brings to PHH more than 35 years of global human resources experience particularly with organizations undergoing significant business and organizational change. She has expertise in transformational leadership aligning talent with the business strategy across several industries including technology services, clinical health information management, and higher education. Most recently, Barbato served as the first senior vice president, human resources for Drexel University where she transformed the HR function from an administrative to a strategic organization with a major focus on culture change, talent management, leadership development and building a performance driven culture across the university. She previously held senior management roles at MedQuist, Inc. and Unisys Corporation.
- Univar, the leading global chemical distributor, appointed Edward A. Evans senior vice president and chief human resources officer. Evans will lead Univar’s human resources activities globally. Evans joined Univar in January 2010 after serving as executive vice president and chief personnel officer at Allied Waste Industries, Inc. from 2005 through its merger with Republic Services in 2009. A Fortune 500 company and publicly traded on the NYSE, Allied was the second largest non-hazardous solid waste company in the US with 2008 sales in excess of $6.5 billion. Prior to joining Allied Waste, Evans held operations and staff roles in both private and publicly traded, decentralized service organizations. His career began in operations with Saga Foodservice in the Northeast followed by field human resources roles in the South Central and Pacific Northwest regions of the US. He held HR support and vice president positions with Marriott Corporation in Washington, DC, and then corporate Human Resources senior vice president positions with ARAMARK Corporation, first in Philadelphia and then in Los Angeles. Evans returned to his hometown of Ithaca, NY, as the founding director of what is now the Cornell University School of Hotel Administrations Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship.