Career and Leadership Inspiration from a Local Business Executive

Here in the Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill area of Raleigh, the Triangle Business Journal sponsors a quarterly breakfast meeting called the “Power Breakfast” where business executives from across our region gather to network and hear from powerful area business leaders.

Machelle Sanders, VP of Manufacturing & GM for RTP Campus of Biogen Idec

Friday November 2 we were inspired by Machelle Sanders, an African-American woman from a small town in Eastern North Carolina who has risen to become the VP of Manufacturing and General Manager for the over 1000 person campus of pharmaceutical industry leader Biogen Idec. Before sharing her 12 “enablers for success,” she shared briefly about herself as a servant – leader, risk taker and hard worker.

Machelle Sander’s twelve enablers for success:

1. Follow your passion. For Machelle, her passion is serving and helping others, for which a senior leadership role is an ideal platform.

2. Be able to relate to anyone. This is particular helpful in resolving and mitigating disputes.

3. Seek opportunities with different levels of responsibility. Take educated calculated risks in leaving your comfort zone. Machelle did this in leaving a long time career into quality assurance to take on manufacturing leadership.

4. Take ownership of both your accomplishment and mistakes.

5. Learn to thrive in uncertainty. Today, constant change is the norm.

6. Don’t be afraid to promote and brand yourself. Focus on your strengths.

7. Leadership is key … and it comes in many forms. It does not only mean directly managing others. Building trust is the cornerstone for establishing yourself as a leader.

8. Be watchful for fear of failure. Do not let failure derail you or hold you back.

9. Inspire others. (And Machelle, you did that superbly in this session!)

10. Rewards those who excel. This helps motivate them. And rewards are not just financial.

11. Maintain your authenticity.

12. Be self-aware of your own blind spots.

If you are in the area, consider coming to this quarterly series. And for anyone who wants to provide an innovate career development framework for your organization, please contact me to discuss my career road mapping services.

Courageous HR – Human Resource Professionals Should Be Dynamic, Impactful Leaders

Last week, I went to my monthly Raleigh-Wake Human Resource Management Association (RWHRMA) luncheon meeting and experienced a superb inspirational speaker. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., past National SHRM chairman, past senior HR executive at major firms, and current President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) presented “Courageous HR: The New Imperative.” (Link to Johnny’s speaking page.) Professionals in the Human Resources field left the meeting invigorated by the message that we can (and should) have a profound positive impact within our organizations.

Nationally recognized speaker – Johnny C Taylor, Jr.

He started by painting the compelling picture of why strong HR leaders are needed now more than ever in organizations: 84% of workers in a recent survey stated they intend to leave their current jobs when the economy improves, 1 in 3 will leave their jobs regardless, and 20% have a negative view of their jobs and have already “check out.” My own analysis: these kind of dismal statistics will have a highly negative impact on employee productivity and hence our entire economy. Something needs to be done!

Johnny summarized the various ways that HR leaders should courageously lead and think “outside the box:”

1. Recruiting which focuses on the finding the right person who truly fits a job opening and with the corporate culture.
2. Rewarding the true stars, the highest contributors. It is not about equality, it is about fairness. Those who contribute significantly more to the company’s success should be rewarded significantly more. And the rewards should not only be monetary, but creative and meaningful perks can also highly motivate employees
3. Intelligently invest in employee development. Employee development programs should not be delivered uniformly to all employees. They should be targeted. Train employees and develop leaders. Not everyone wants to be or can be a leader, so leadership development should be delivered to the right audience.
4. Truly love and engage the employees. Communicate to them honestly. Don’t hide and withhold information. Conduct relevant meaningful employee satisfaction or engagement surveys and use the information to take action. And finally eliminate stupid rules.

My own closing thoughts. First, we all can have much more fulfilling jobs if we can visualize how what we do can significantly impact our organizations. Go for it!

Second, consider contacting me to talk about how my career development / career road mapping services can be one meaningful program for your enterprise that can truly engage your human talent, making your employees more enthused and productive on the job.