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Ideas & Conversations: From P&S Journal to the Global Conference

Posted By Jane E. Brenneman SPHR, Friday, February 22, 2013

What a great special edition of the People and Strategy journal - focused on Sustaining Purpose for Impact. It's definitely worth taking time to read it. What do you think?

Both the content and the new digital format are fantastic. As someone who appreciates maximizing time, effort and outcomes, it was great to read articles that are thought provoking, accessible and, oh so timely. And, if it couldn't get any better, there is a strong alignment of this special edition with the upcoming 2013 Global Conference focused on Renewing Organizational Vitality, April 14th – 17th in Denver.

It's great to post one's reactions to journal articles (as I've done below) and engage in virtual dialogue (which I'm hoping will happen). Yet, given the connection of these articles to Global Conference topics, I'm definitely looking forward to further "live and in person” discussions during the conference. In particular sessions such as Monday morning's Bridging the Gap: Eliminating Impediments to Business Performance by Building Talent Flexibility and Capacity or Monday afternoon's 3 Provocative Ideas: "Inspiring Creativity, Energy and Innovation", or Tuesday morning's Organizational Approaches to Unleashing Energy, Vitality and Innovation

All the articles in this issue of the journal are thought provoking. There are a number of topics from this journal that really resonated with what I've been observing and experiencing recently in my work.

Simon L. Dolan's and Yochanan Altman's Managing by Values: The Leadership Spirituality Connection made the connection between the "…instrumental values of the real business world and the spiritual needs for experiencing life that sustain it.” And yet, they also observed in their conclusions that, "The ‘experiencing of life,' as an existential agenda is often missing from the pages of management journals.” I couldn't agree more and would add: it should be incorporated into our B-school and higher education management curriculum.

Joseph McCann's and John Selsky's article Being Purposeful in Turbulent Environments, spoke to a critical topic for all organizations – how to sustain high performance in the face of unending, disruptive change. They identified the need for highly developed adaptive capacity, consisting of agility and resiliency. Citing five essential capabilities needed for adaptive capacity, the first, "purposeful” caught my attention. We often think of individual's seeking their life purpose and organizations having a purpose for existing, but they offer an intriguing way to look at the "purposeful” capability across the full spectrum of a whole system: individual, team, organization and the meta level (ecosystem).

Then reading The Changing Tides of Careers, by Edie Goldberg, the connection with a "purposeful” capability and the concepts presenting in Dolan's and Altman's article is further strengthened as her research bears out an emerging new employee perspective on "career success”. In contrast to a more traditional "career success” definition involving "…tangible items such as title, money and power” her research identified a new, emerging definition. Coined as the "Contemporary” perspective, career success is defined as involving "…a more intrinsic means of satisfaction such as being challenged, being able to fully utilize one's skills, having impact and the ability to achieve work-life balance.”

So, all in all, I give a big thumbs up for the People and Strategy journal, Volume 35, Issue 4.

What is your take on this journal? It would be great to start a ‘virtual' conversation prior to the conference followed by more robust ‘live' conversation in Denver at the conference!

Tags:  HRPS  HRPS Global Conference  People & Strategy 

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Inside Look at Point Counterpoint: New Perspectives on People & Strategy

Posted By HRPS Headquarters, Thursday, June 28, 2012
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2012

HRPS recently spoke with Anna Tavis, Ph.D., Point Counterpoint: New Perspectives on People & Strategy editor and head of Global Talent Management at Brown Brothers Harriman about HRPS' newest learning tool.

How will readers benefit from this new learning tool?

The book offers a unique opportunity for HR professionals to educate themselves on the key concepts and tools that are central to our 21st century HR practice. Topics address the five HRPS pillars of knowledge: talent management, organizational effectiveness, leadership development, HR strategy & planning and building a strategic HR function. These foundational HR tools are presented from different points of view which allows the readers to independently discover the right solution for themselves without over-dependency on the so called "best practices" or individual guru's approach.

In addition, a learning guide accompanies each set or articles to facilitate discussion and development among employees, organization leaders and students - it's a great for a lunch and learn session.

More than 120 authors, consultants, academics and practitioners from around the globe contributed their perspectives. Why is there such a broad range of contributors to the book?
The broad range of contributors is deliberate. We engaged the best thought leaders in the HR profession to participate in a discussion of central concepts and issues that are on the minds of those of us who shape strategies and those who work with business clients on implementing them.

Complimentary copies of Point Counterpoint: New Perspectives on People & Strategy were distributed to attendees at the 2012 HRPS Global Conference. What have you heard about the book?
The participants have acknowledged that not only the topics selected, but the presentation of those topics in the Point Counterpoint format was unique and particularly helpful to the practitioners currently working in the field. It gave them the understanding that there were no ultimate truths, but there were ultimate options for them to choose from and thus enrich their professional repertoire.

Where can HR professionals purchase Point Counterpoint: New Perspectives on People & Strategy?
Copies are available for purchase through a variety of online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the SHRM Store.

Tags:  HR challenges  HR planning  HRM  HRPS  human capital management  human resources management  leadership development  People & Strategy  Point Counterpoint  talent management 

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Making HR Analytics a Reality: 5 Proven Paths to Success

Posted By HRPS Headquarters, Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Using analytics in HR to show business impact and predict future performance is the next trend in our profession. Many organizations want to achieve success using this approach, but are unsure how to get there. Unfortunately, HR analytics has gotten off to rough start because it hasn’t been well-defined. In our 2011 article for People and Strategy, we articulated what analytics are and what they are not. True analytics that drive the business and show a real return-on-investment is about linking HR data, using cause-effect statistics, to actual business outcomes.

We often hear from organizations that a key challenge in adopting an analytics-based approach to HR is "getting all of our systems (i.e. HRIS) in one place so that they can talk to each other.”  

Although system integration is important, it is not the key to successfully implementing analytics as part of your HR strategy.

Here are five practical paths that organizations can take to achieve the goal of creating an HR strategy based on analytics.

  1. Big Analytics Behind-the-Scenes
    Data collected at organizations are typically housed in different places (i.e., on different servers/platforms). When data are housed in this manner, analytics can be conducted behind-the-scenes by gathering the relevant data – including business outcome data - from the disparate platforms. The process is not sexy, but executives don’t need to know how the sausage gets made. 

  2. Big Analytics and Big Integration
    The integration of multiple HR platforms can be a huge undertaking for big companies. Organizations in this position can put together a comprehensive approach in which the analytics (and impact!) begin immediately while an IT transition plan is executed in tandem. The key here is to do the real cause-effect analytics work behind the scenes and expose the leaders to the outputs of the analytics – make them want more.  This is an approach that is quite effective because getting executives excited about analytics now, but spending multiple months/years to integrate data will reduce that excitement very quickly.

  3. Start Small—Generate Interest
    Many organizations think that they have to examine all of their HR data at the same time to conduct rigorous analyses and have a meaningful impact. Not true. Start with one HR process or piece of talent management data and show how it impacts an important business outcome. A great one to start with is your employee opinion survey. Using cause-effect analytics, you can show which specific attitudes have a direct impact on important business outcomes (e.g. profit, productivity, safety, turnover). Use this initial analysis to get leaders bought into the process of HR analytics.

  4. For Small Business—Start Strong
    Small businesses often have a distinct advantage when it comes to integrating their HR data and conducting analytics—they don’t have old legacy technology platforms or vast quantities of data….yet. Strong analytics can be done within small businesses in much the same way as in large businesses. The focus is typically on individual performance, so having a strong performance-based culture and performance management tools are keys to analytics success.

  5. Have Integration, Need Strong Analytics
    It is scary to think that putting all of this data in one place and paying a company to house it all will actually increase costs for your organization. Warehousing your HR data in one place is a good thing, but the critical next step is to pull together the business outcomes from other functions to show how HR has a cause-effect relationship with those business outcomes and calculate an ROI.

The good news is that any of these paths can be taken quickly and effectively, and all will lead you to being a business partner by showing the impact of HR on real business outcomes.


Scott Mondore, Ph.D., is currently a managing partner of Strategic Management Decisions (SMD) and is the co-author of "Investing in What Matters: Linking Employees to Business Outcomes” and the upcoming book:"Business-focused HR: 11 Processes to Drive Results” both published by SHRM. Mondore has significant experience in the areas of strategy, talent management, measurement, customer experience and organizational development across numerous industries. Mondore holds a master’s degree and doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Georgia. He can be reached at

Shane Douthitt, Ph.D., is currently a managing partner of Strategic Management Decisions (SMD) and is the co-author of "Investing in What Matters: Linking Employees to Business Outcomes” and "Business-focused HR: 11 Processes to Drive Results.”Douthitt has significant experience in the areas of measurement, training, talent management, executive assessment and coaching, and organizational development across a variety of industries. Douthitt holds a master’s degree and doctorate in Industrial/Organizational psychology from the University of Georgia. He can be reached at

Tags:  HR analytics  HR challenges  HR planning.  HRM  HRPS  human resources management  human resources planning  People & Strategy  talent management 

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What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Posted By Lucira Jane Nebelung, Founder and Principal, Leading as Love, Thursday, March 01, 2012
Just over a year ago, there was a special issue of People & Strategy on Leading in Times of Uncertainty. In the article, Leadership as Connection: A Radical Approach, I made both the conceptual argument and business case for leading as love, essentially stating that love makes a leader a leader. I am sure that there are more than a few of you who rolled your eyes and said: "What do I do with this? This is so far away from where my organization is.  We have leaders that don’t talk to each other.  How can we possibly lead as love? Why should we bother? What’s in it for us?”

This is not about creating an initiative or even using the word "love.” Just about every organization has stated that it wants engaged, committed employees. So what brings forth employee engagement? Engagement is really about our intrinsic human motivation to belong and being in positive, constructive relationships, responsive to each other as humans with care, understanding and respect. When we try to "get” people to do something through carrots or sticks (external motivators), we are treating them as objects to be used or obstacles to be moved. We are also fostering an addiction, yes addiction, to approval or praise.   

So how do we create an environment that taps our hard-wired intrinsic motivation for belonging? When we foster a sense of purpose, contribution, growth and choice, people feel valued, supported and in control of their lives. Engagement is natural when we relate as human beings to human beings. Although unintended, our human resource management practices may require us to relate object to object rather than person to person. We lead people and manage work. Trying to "manage” (control) people results in disengagement. Perhaps a bit of an inconvenient truth for us.

You know from experience that targeting behaviors doesn’t always make a difference in our interactions. The human side of change is about getting to a way of being that then permeates our actions and practices. Change is an inside job so the only person we can really change is ourselves. Change requires a commitment and commitment requires a true (not coerced or conditioned) choice. And we can’t ask anyone to commit to something when we ourselves haven’t already done so. 

Leading means being the "first one in.” There is no need to talk about it, no need to label it. Just commit to be it yourself.  And, just what are we committing to? To see and interact with each and every person as a human being not a human resource. To be responsive from a mindset of care, understanding and respect.

Much of this may seem self-evident and simple. Yes, and because of our conditioning as to what is acceptable and important in organizations, it may not always be easy. Breakthroughs can require breakdown and discomfort.  Mastery will take awareness, discernment and choice; practice and reflection. And, if you’re feeling brave, you may just share this post or your commitment with others.

Perhaps I’ve pushed a few buttons. And at the same time I’m preaching to the choir. Either way, given the state of our organizations, we have our work cut out for us if we are going to make a difference. At the end of the day, we’ve signed up to be leaders, champions of our humanness, to lead as love.

Lucira Jane Nebelung is the founding principal of Leading as Love, bringing over 30 years of experience in coaching and consulting with executives and managers to improve organizational results and effectively implement change. She is a noted leader, architect and facilitator for key strategic initiatives resulting in employee engagement and optimal performance, customer retention and sustained growth and profitability. Lucira brings a valuable blend of both strategic wisdom and tactical experience. Read more about Lucira here.

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Tags:  executive development  HR challenges  HR planning  HRM  HRPS  human capital management  human resources management  human resources planning  leadership development  People & Strategy  talent management 

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Analyze the Organizational Network to Improve Cohesion in Design

Posted By Theresa Wojtalewicz, Managing Editor, People & Strategy Journal, Friday, February 24, 2012
"There is an oft-told story about an architect designing a multibuilding campus but not including the usual sidewalks to connect the various buildings.” Dan Novak, Mark Rennaker and Paulette Turner start off their People & Strategy 34.4 journal article "Using Organizational Network Analysis to Improve Integration Across Organizational Boundaries.” The quote got me thinking about what all the connections mean and how they relate to organizational design and networking. If the pathways aren’t connecting, then the messaging is not getting through to everyone. Likewise, if we aren’t paying attention to where people are working, then we aren’t going to be able to connect with them either.

Novak, Rennaker and Turner simplified how to make the connections and to draw the pathways throughout their article. They took this complex idea and broke down how to use organization network analysis "to diagnose gaps in communication and collaboration and to measure the effectiveness of organizational interventions.”

This article got me thinking about the infrastructure and network in which I work. What gaps are we seeing in communication and how can we analyze and fix them? How can we improve leadership in the networked context to ensure that the organization is performing at its highest capacity? I took away many ideas from this article, most importantly, "Leadership effectiveness in many organizations now hinges up the leader’s ability to operate and lead within a networked context.” Break down those silos!

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Tags:  HR challenges  HR planning  HRM  HRPS  human resources management  leadership development  People & Strategy 

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