Essential Career Development: How HR Can Lead the Way to a Renewed Economy via Passionately Engaged Employees

What a provocative title for the February TSHM (Triangle Society for Human Resource Management, one of the local SHRM chapters I belong to) monthly meeting! Since my innovative career road mapping processes for organizations is one of my core consulting offerings, and since I wrote my last blog (link) about protecting an organization’s largest investment (people) via career planning, I knew I had to attend this session.

The speaker was Karen Tax (link to her business website), who after spending 15 years as a software engineer, returned to school to get her masters in Organizational

Karen Tax, Founder of Karen Tax and Associates, providing consulting and coaching services

Karen Tax, Founder of Karen Tax and Associates, providing consulting and coaching services

Development and then changed her career direction. She has spent her last 12 years as a self-employed coach and consultant, including launching a successful online career development community called “IAM Career SMART!” ™.

From the session I realized that Karen’s approach is very different from my career mapping process, but with her focus on connecting corporate career leadership to individual learning and coaching, our work is quite synergistic. Here are the key learnings I took away from this February 28th session:

• That employee productivity, which can lead to organizational success and a renewed economy, is at its maximum when employees are truly passionately engaged. The results we should be aiming for in terms of passionate employees are people who are empowered, entrepreneurial, authentic and leaders. And yes, leaders are needed at all levels of an organization.

• The biggest issue keeping employees from being passionately engaged is fear, which fosters risk aversion, mediocrity, status quo, disengagement, stress, limited thinking, health issues, impatience, rigidity and powerlessness.

• The antidote to fear is a corporate and HR strategy that is based on values, strengths, motivations and passions. By focusing on a love-based model instead of fear, we each can become our essential best.

• Real change or shifts in our way of thinking can inspire possibilities, ignite passions and change behaviors from the inside out. This can then connect our employee’s best within themselves to our organizational goals, resulting in maximum individual and corporate performance.

So what is the bottom line in what I took away? A critical component that HR needs to provide within a career development framework is to help each employee connect their passions to the organizational goals such that both the employee and the organization truly achieve their best.

A “Fireside Chat” with a Fortune 500 CEO – the Value of Organizational Development

On Monday, Nov 12, 2012, I attended a unique first-time event sponsored by the Triangle Organizational Development Network (TODN – link). The event was limited to a small number of participants to allow for more intimate discussion and interaction over a nice dinner in a restaurant private dining room. The event was billed as a “fireside chat” and titled “OD Value Proposition from the CEO Perspective.”

Rick Anicetti

The featured speaker (actually it was more of an informal interactive chat) was Rick Anicetti, a former “Fortune 500” CEO is now Founder and President of From One to Many Leadership Consulting LLC (an affiliate of Vistage International.) Prior to his latest venture, Rick was CEO of Delhaize America, which is the parent company for the well-known leading grocery chain Food Lion.

As one of relatively few CEOs who actually spent time in a Human Resources position, Rick offered us some excellent and profound insights into leadership. Rick was specifically asked to address how he as a CEO views the value of the Organizational Development practitioner. Some of the nuggets of wisdom I took away included:

• In today’s market, it is often difficult to differentiate between competitors. They can all get the same products, systems and processes. So therefore the one differentiator can be an organization’s people, and their ability to get it done better and faster.

• A company’s human resources (or people) are the most important investment of the company, but also its most expensive and fragile resource.

• Since most CEO’s do not have HR or Organizational Development experience, we in HR need to “ease into things” pertaining to HR and OD instead of blasting in with everything all at once. I liked Rick’s colorful analogy of “not leading the CEO out onto the skinny boards too quickly.”

• It is important for HR and OD practitioners to really know the core business and to look for strategic ways to make an impact on the business

• A simple way to look at leading others: share all you can, share where you are going, why we are going there, and each individual’s role in it.

It is a special opportunity to spend quality time in a small group setting with a senior business leader of Rick’s stature. I thank Bob Stapleton and the TODN leadership team for setting up this wonderful opportunity. And I encourage all TODN members and friends to take advantage of future “Fireside Chats.”