The future of our entry level workforce – gloomy

19 10 2006

Will our future entry level workforce be competitive and competent?

Are we ready to build a nation full of entrepreneurs and world class workers?

I highly recommend you read the study published by the The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management, entitled:

Are They Really Ready To Work? Employers’ Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce”

According to this study of 431 companies in the US, representing over 2 million employees in a variety of industries and geographic areas, the future is bleak.

“The future U.S. workforce is here—and it is woefully ill-prepared for the demands of today’s (and tomorrow’s) workplace.”

The basic skills and knowledge identified and considered to be very important elements for future employees include:

  • English Language (spoken)
  • Government/Economics
  • Reading Comprehension (in English)
  • Humanities/Arts
  • Writing in English (grammar, spelling, etc.)
  • Foreign Languages
  • Mathematics History/Geography
  • Science

The applied skills, which are increasing in importance as criteria for success in the future:

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving—Exercise sound reasoning and analytical thinking; use knowledge, facts, and data to solve workplace problems; apply math and science concepts to problem solving.
  • Oral Communications—Articulate thoughts, ideas clearly and effectively; have public speaking skills.
  • Written Communications—Write memos, letters and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.
  • Teamwork/Collaboration—Build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers; be able to work with diverse teams, negotiate and manage conflicts.
  • Diversity—Learn from and work collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, races, ages, gender, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints.
  • Information Technology Application—Select and use appropriate technology to accomplish a given task, apply computing skills to problem-solving.
  • Leadership—Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals; use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others.
  • Creativity/Innovation—Demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work; communicate new ideas to others; integrate knowledge across different disciplines.
  • Lifelong Learning/Self Direction—Be able to continuously acquire new knowledge and skills; monitor one’s own learning needs; be able to learn from one’s mistakes.
  • Professionalism/Work Ethic—Demonstrate personal accountability, effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time and workload management.
  • Ethics/Social Responsibility—Demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior; act responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind.

Excepts from the study:”Business leaders must take an active role in outlining the kinds of skills we need from our employees for our companies and economy to thrive.”

“As business leaders, we must also play a role in creating opportunities for young people to obtain the skills they need. Businesses can partner with schools and other organizations that work with young people to provide internships, job shadowing programs and summer jobs. Businesses can encourage their employees to serve as mentors and tutors. Businesses can invest in programs at the local and national level that have demonstrated their ability to improve outcomes for young people.
Finally, business leaders can use their expertise in innovation and management to help identify
new and creative solutions.”

We assume that our schools are producing graduates with fundamental business abilities, why isn’t it happening?

Are we going to accept that the training of the future workforce is in the hands of private business, and not the educational system?

What is the cost to business when new employees must be given remedial training, just to get them up to entry level?

What is your organization doing right now to ensure, or create talent for the future?

Read the study, pass it around the office and makes sure the boss and human resource people get copies.

This is no longer someone elses’s problem.

“ The numbers don’t bode well for the future—the future of our workforce. It is in our interest to help solve the problem. And business has the capacity to help solve the problem by partnering with education and community leaders to create opportunities for young people to practice the skills they need to be successful.” – Bill Shore, Director, U.S. Community Partners, GlaxoSmithKline

Related Links

The Conference Board: Are they really ready for work?

Are they really ready to work (PDF)

Most young people entering the US workforce lack critical skills essential for success

Young Workforce is “Ill-Prepared”





Leadership, do you want the job or just the title and benefits?

2 10 2006

Everyone wants to be in charge. Being the leader seems to be a universal goal of most people working today.

Do you really want the job, or just the title and benefits?

A leadership position requires the use of many abilities and skills which most of us do not have, or do not have fully developed. It requires sacrifice and discipline. A leaders life is filled with decisions that are not black and white.

It’s all about people, motivating, directing, and evaluating, listening and learning with them.

A leader is often lonely, but never alone. Highly criticized and analyzed by their own team and by outsiders. Must be flexible and adaptable, and at the same time firm and unwilling to compromise.

Are you ready for the job?

Guide vs. Signpost. Do you enjoying pointing people in the right direction, telling them where to go? This is not leadership. A signpost points the way, offers no resources or plan and no strategies on how to get there.

Leading others is far different from pointing the way. Leaders take responsibility for everything that happens during the journey, they prepare strategic and contingency plans, provide resources, and keep their people motivated and on the right road.

Teaching vs. Criticism. Able to see the flaws in others, their work and their results? The ability to find flaws is important only if you use these opportunities to teach others how to prevent or improve their performance or results. Pointing out flaws and errors for any other reason is not part of the leadership function.

Coaching vs. supervision. Telling others exactly what to do, and how to do it, is part of a supervisory role, not a leadership position. Leaders are coaches, they convince others to create and embrace goals and objectives, and to use approved systems and methods in order to achieve them.

Fair compensation vs. jackpot rewards. Do you think leaders and managers make a lot of money for doing nothing? Leadership demands personal responsibility and acceptance of risk. No one gets into a leadership position without sacrifice of some sort. These qualities are paid for and compensated with higher salaries and often perks and privileges different from the other members of the organization. It is compensation well earned, and the entire organization should understand this. It should never be looked upon as a jackpot, or undeserved compensation. If the organization does not view it this way, it’s time to modify the compensation packages or get a leader in place that leads and earns the respect and support of the others organization members.

Related Links

Leadership – who do you want to lead

What defines an exceptional leader

Leadership by default





Re-inventing the job interview

6 09 2006

I’ve been monitoring with great interest the idea and reactions to Seth Godin’s post The end of the job interview. He questions our current job interview process and proposes an interesting alternative.

Perhaps it’s time to take a hard look at our hiring and interview processes. Are they serving our needs and requirements or creating future problems?

Reinventing the job interview and hiring process makes perfect sense when we reflect that it was developed for a 20th century workforce that consisted primarily of manufacturing laborers.

The 21st century, brings an abundance of knowledge workers and forces us to ask what is the best method to determine if they are right for our organization. The interview and process required in order to understand the potential employees abilities are very different for knowledge workers.

The top leadership and management jobs in our companies have always been filled by candidates that have come with recommendations from other companies or executive networks. This provides a certain level of security that they had the skills in the old job, but no guarantee they will succeed in your organization and corporate culture in the future.

We are already seeing a shift in how we hire and select candidates. The use of networking and on-line social networks are allowing job seekers and employers access to individuals (at all levels of the company) who come with a certain degree of “recommendation”.

Dr. Ellen Weber has added her opinion to Seth’s ideas at Brain Based Business. Her piece Seth wants to bury job interviews for his own alternatives adds scientific and psychological perspectives as to why or why the concepts might just work.

David Maister lends his voice to the discussion with a resounding “I’m of the belief that the overwhelming majority of recruiting interviewing is a complete waste of time. In Screening for Character he argues that we should be hiring attitude and character, and our goal in the hiring process is to identify these traits. But there is a catch. We are not trained to do this. He suggests that candidate recommendations from others that we respect and trust are our current best method to assure “success” in the hiring process.

It’s a profound, extensive and obviously well known dilemma in our society and organizations. We know exactly what’s broke and not working well.

Now, who knows how to fix it?





How impersonal is your life and your world?

15 08 2006

We live in an impersonal world. I hear this constantly and wonder exactly what people mean when they say it. Is this a warning, an observation, a criticism, a declaration of failure in their ability to create and maintain relationships?

The world has always been impersonal, it’s just not possible that millions of human beings will relate to one another with familiarity. It’s an impossible scenario.

So why all the focus on how impersonal our lives are lately?

Is it a cry for help, a diagnosis and awareness that something is wrong or could be better?
It’s because we have isolated ourselves, by ourselves.

Impersonal is what YOU make it, it has to do with your interaction and participation with others. You are in control, you are not a victim.

Our access to wealth, communications and easy travel have allowed us to travel and move our residence often and meet thousands of people throughout the world during our lifetime. This was not possible 100 years ago.

We no longer live in Norman Rockwell’s Main street America, in a small town, where we know the neighbors, the teachers, the firemen, clerks and shop owners. We didn’t invest enough time in a safe stable environment in order to learn about others and become secure with ourselves and diversity.

In today’s world it’s so easy to walk away from ideas, behaviours and people who are not like us. We can now live by ourselves, in our own little world, designed by us and just for us. The only problem is, we are social creatures and we do want others in our lives. We have created a dilemma by isolating ourselves.

It’s just common sense that this exposure to so many people we don’t know, and who don’t know us, is bound to create a bit of tension or coldness in our initial contacts. Depending on how you respond and interact with others, these interactions can remain cold and impersonal, or might warm up and become pleasant and more personalized.

Simple acts that allow others to let their guard down are all that’s necessary. A smile, a hello or thank-you, a question or comment that initiates a conversation is sometimes all it takes to break the ice.

Relationships are made and created through trust and time. It’s about giving your time, showing interest, and learning. You cannot expect to become best friends with anyone in a week or month, be realistic. You cannot create a meaningful relationship by watching co-workers or neighbors through your window.

Proof of how easy it is to begin a relationship can be found with the Internet, social networks, chat-rooms, etc. All you have to do is throw out a comment or question and in a matter of minutes be involved in communication with a perfect stranger. Why then the complaints about an impersonal world? What’s different when you are not on-line, and are face to face with another human being?

If you think the world is cold and impersonal, take a look at your actions and behavior and determine if you are actively participating to open the door in your communications and relationships. Does your world revolve around you, your problems and your little internal universe? I’ll bet you think the world is impersonal.

Are you interested in giving, sharing, listening, learning and accepting others and their diversity? I’ll bet you think the world is a pretty fine place to be.

Related Links

Lonely and have no friends

What happens when we have no friends

Social networks, are they a part of your life?





Build your organization, don’t destroy it

14 08 2006

Pragmatic business people know that strategies must be reviewed before, during and after implementation. Difficult questions must be asked and answered throughout the organization. Results analyzed and reviewed in order to identify flaws and errors.

Many times this exercise can push us into seeking and identifying problems instead of solutions. Too much time spent on what can go wrong and not enough focus on what can be created. Gridlock sets in, no solution is good enough, there is always a flaw.

All to often we find ourselves criticizing the work of others and the efforts that did not succeed as expected. We spend time taking things apart to find out what went wrong, and seeking to identify who was responsible for the “failure”. Our days are spent destroying the ideas of others.

Why not focus an equal amount of time on the positive aspects?

What did or will work, and why?

Creation is much more difficult than destruction. Support the creation of ideas and solutions in your organization, make your first analysis focus on the successful or positive aspects.

Ask yourself, “what am I creating today”.





What does it mean when you don’t like the boss

8 08 2006

One of the major reasons given by people who desire to open their own businesses is that they want to be free of working for a boss.  It’s a bit naive to think that by trading corporate life for entrepreneurship you will avoid working for a boss.  There is always someone monitoring your performance and work.

In the corporate world a boss is there to monitor your performance, organize and criticize your work, support and provide resources or strategy, and maintain work harmony between team members.  Conflicts with the boss can be broadly divided into two major groups; personal conflicts and professional conflicts.

Personal conflicts are those related to situations driven by differences in personality, jealousies, sexual harassment, race or religious differences, and insecurities of the participants.

Professional conflicts are those directly related to the work and final work output; lack of skills or ability, ethical issues, theft, absenteeism, addictions, failure to do quality work, failure to do the work on time.

If your reasons for leaving the corporate world are heavily weighted toward a history of personal conflicts with the boss, what does that mean?  Are you a problem?  Is your personality one that provokes or seeks conflicts?  If there is a pattern here?  Some strong introspection is required before you break out and open your own business.

If professional conflicts are foremost on your list, be careful.  These are signs that you and your work abilities may be at fault and not the boss.

If the history of problems with the boss can be summarized as strategic, control, or decision-making conflicts, then I think you may be correct in seeking to run your own show.

Entrepreneurs love to say they are free and work for themselves.  In a sense they are correct, they are 100% responsible for their success or failure, and this is exhilarating and does make one feel free.  But they are now “working” for the customer, the bank or lender, the employees, and their suppliers.

Sure these are different relationships from the traditional boss-employee structure we are familiar with, but still difficult to develop and maintain, as are all human and commerical relationships.  Failure to maintain them will result in a loss of income or increased costs, and ultimately business collapse.

It’s not easy to work without a “structure” and a boss for the new entrepreneur.  It’s not impossible, but does require a set of different individual skills, great motivation and organizational abilities.  If you are invigorated by strategy, decision-making, and taking responsibility, entrepreneurship may be a good decision.





The “entrepreneur vs. corporate world” debate continues

31 07 2006

The debate regarding working in a corporate environment versus becoming an entrepreneur is sure to get a large readership response these days.  Everyone wants to know “what’s better?” and why, and everyone has an opinion. 

The philosophical arguments are fun to listen to and evaluate, but at the end of the day, we all make choices about where and how we work, based on our individual circumstances, talents, skills, abilities, desires and fears.

Much of the pro-entrepreneur supporters promote the glory of doing what you like, when you like, and the freedom to make your own schedule.  Perfectly valid arguments.

The pro-corporate supporters point out that access to important resources, education, and information is hugely facilitated by corporate environments.  Again, perfectly valid arguments.

I’m a firm believer that each person decides upon a lifestyle, and makes all subsequent decisions in order to support their preferences.  Even the failure to choose a career and lifestyle is a decision and model now trumpeted as “Slacker”.  True happiness does not exist just because you are an entrepreneur or a corporate employee.  There are always tradeoffs in any situation and environment.

I moved from being an entrepreneur to a corporate environment and back several times in the course of my career.  During this time I also changed my country of residence from the USA to Mexico.  Every change was “better”, and more importantly allowed me to move closer to my lifestyle goal.   But none of changes gave me more time, or more money, or more stability.  Each change provide me with more of what I required at that time, but each had a price.

People don’t make changes unless they are unsatisfied with the current situation.  To make job and career changes in your life requires an adjustment and modification of many other actions.   It’s never all good, and it’s never all bad.

Next time you ponder leaving the corporate world to fly as an entrepreneur, give some serious thought to what you will be giving up as you reach for the new opportunity to change.  Determine what exactly is so attractive about changing jobs and job titles.

Are you just day dreaming and caught in a “grass is always greener” scenario?

Is the new lifestyle you wish create worth the sacrifice and risk?

Everyone is able to accept success, but are you willing to accept failure?

Could you achieve or move closer to your goals in your present situation?

Related Rants:

Ten Misconceptions About Having a Job (Why Entrepreneurship Isn’t All It is Cracked Up To Be)

Ten Reasons You Should Never Get a Job

 





Is hard work important, is it still valid?

28 07 2006

Working hard…paying your dues…are these concepts still important and valid in today’s information economy and jobs?

What characteristics do you think of when someone says “she’s a hard worker”?

Is being a “hard worker” a positive or negative trait, something you aspire to?

In the US, the Puritan work ethic still provides a model of how we should work to many people. The Puritans believed that hard work was morally important, physically demanding, difficult or exhausting, required sacrifice and discipline, long hours, and usually referred to physical labor (the dominant labor required at that time). If an activity was pleasant the Puritans were pretty much against it.

Perhaps a better definition of hard work, taking into account the new information economy, is better related to; preparation and research, creating and using your information networks, taking the initiative, follow-through and closure, discipline, focus, efficiency, finding and communicating the solution in a timely manner.

Perhaps hard work is no longer a valid term or concept to apply to information workers.

The time required to do our work has, and is changing. When our principal job was agriculture, long hours were required to plant and harvest. Long hours are no longer required in order to say that someone is working hard in an office, or are they?

As long are workers are hired for an 8 hour day and 40 hour week, employers want to see their employees at their posts, ….doing something. So for many companies working hard still means being in the office for many hours, and extra hours represents hard work.

Long hours in the office could be the result of; research and investigation (good for all), inability to finish your work during the prescribed time (inefficient or fearful employee or workload is too heavy, bad for all), enthusiasm and desire to do more than the norm (good for company and possibly for employee advancement).

“Paying your dues” and sacrifice are also part of our definition of hard work. Paying your dues is part of the initiation into an organization, industry or group. It’s a sacrifice (usually related to long hours) that is part of, or required for, that specific culture. A new employee in many companies might be expected to work extra hours and make personal sacrifices to show they are working hard and paying their dues, trying to become part of the corporate culture.

There is a trade-off for employees between their personal life and business life. In order to succeed and advance in business working in a corporate culture, you must be promoted. To get promoted you have to been seen as possessing profitable skills and be a hard worker and willing to make sacrifices for the good of the company. As our culture becomes more competitive, we are faced with more people willing to work more hours and make more sacrifices, reducing our time with family and friends.

This debate regarding work-life balance is gaining momentum in the US. Workers are evaluating what role work should play in their lives and how many hours they should dedicate to working, and where and who they should “give” their time to.

Our definition of work is changing and evolving, and with it our definition of hard work is also being modified.

At what point do our evaluation and compensation systems take into account new elements that reflect the new realities and definitions of work in the 21st century?





The business leadership crisis, are you part of the problem?

6 07 2006

Rosa Say has given us some food for thought in a piece entitled Where’s the Boss at Lifehack.org. She identifies significant problems with executives today…..the inability to implement empowerment in the organization and the lack of executive involvement in the day-to-day operations. True leadership has disappeared from many organizations

A leader must understand what is happening at the day-to-day operations level if they wish to understand the business. The real action happens (or doesn’t happen) at this level, and not in the corporate boardroom.

The bosses job consists of two major activities: facilitating the work and efficiency of workers and creating strategies, goals and objective for the future. You can’t supervise efficiently, intervene or lead unless your people believe in you and your understanding of their jobs.

When was the last time you rolled up your sleeves and spent a full day at the operations level, listening, asking questions and observing?

Do you know what your people do and what is preventing them from doing it better?

Shouldn’t this be part of your daily routine?

Related Posts

Managing with Aloha (Link)

Corporate leaders and management still aren’t listening (Link)





Downsizing can seriously disrupt your company’s networks

27 06 2006

An article in ManagingTechnology@Wharton from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has an excellent piece related to your employees and their value in the company in terms of their networks and networking abilities.

Mapping out the communication networks and social networks may be a very valuable tool for your organization. Yet another factor to consider before downsizing or when evaluating the contributions of the people in your organization.

Sometimes it’s not what you know….but who you know that makes you valuable.

Connecting the Corporate Dots: Social Networks Reveal How Employees and Companies Operate

Some quotes from the article:

“Hopefully, you have organized your company the best way to get the job done,” she says. “But mapping out a network will give you a sense of whether actual work flow and communication flow match what you hope to achieve. Maybe there are bottlenecks where one person is managing all interactions. If you expect two groups to work together closely, and you don’t see them doing this, you might want to create liaison roles or other relationships to make information flow better. On the other hand, you may see groups talking to each other too much. When managers see network diagrams, they often realize they need to reconfigure their organizational chart.”

“Network maps may also unearth what are known as “cosmopolitans” — the employees who are most critical to information flow in the company. “The formal organizational structure [in companies] does not necessarily describe who talks to whom,” says Valery Yakubovich, a University of Chicago professor “

“Often you find that people you might not even think of as very valuable turn out to be important links in the structure of the organization.”

“If a firm is contemplating downsizing, for example, it had better be prepared for serious disruption in the workplace if it lets such important people go. Indeed, maps of social networks often show that the people with the most impressive titles are not as vital to an organization as their position would indicate.”

ManagingTechnology@Wharton, Connecting the Corporate Dots: Social Networks Reveal How Employees and Companies Operate (Article)





Corporate Leadership and Managers still aren’t listening.

19 06 2006

For years business management books, consultants, media articles, conferences and seminars have told us that clear communication between leaders, management and front-line workers are critical to business success.

So why don’t we get it?

Nic Paton has an interesting piece on this topic entitled “Leaders don’t listen, don’t manage and don’t have a clear vision” in the June 19, 2006 Management-issues newsletter.

Is this a human communication problem that can’t ever be solved?

Is it somehow related to the lack of transmitting clear corporate objectives to the organization?

Does it involve the lack of trust and honesty between the executive suite and the front line troops?

Is it an attitude of arrogance that comes with the position of leadership?

Is it specific to business in the USA, or shared on an international level?

Why can’t we listen, learn and share in business when everyone understands it is fundamental and critical to business success and survival?





Global Managers, what does it take to succeed?

19 06 2006

The June 5, 2006 issue of the Harvard Business School, Working Knowledge for Business Leaders has a wonderful article by Glenn Rifkin, regarding successful global manager's skills and the problems faced by corporate employees who must work in new cultures.

From my experience working in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific regions, this article is dead-on in terms of identifying the "soft-skills" required for a successful international manager.   I believe that many times these skills and abilities are overlooked, ignored, or minimized when evaluating a candidate for an overseas position.  

If you are working overseas, contemplating it as an option, or the person responsible for hiring international managers, don't miss these ideas.

The Soft Skills of Global Managers:  Glenn Rifkin





Does your company like new ideas?

13 06 2006

How receptive to new ideas, re-invention and creativity are you and your company?  

Are you “Pro-Ideas” or “Anti-Ideas”? 

The first reaction is to say “we are always looking for new ideas” or “we must have new ideas in order to survive”…”we love new ideas”….” we work hard to generate new ideas all the time”…. but is it really true? 

How do you react initially to new ideas and re-invention?  Are you threatened, refreshed, challenged or exhausted?

How do you compensate (reward) the employee or group that generates a new idea?   I’m talking about rewarding idea generation.  This is very different from rewarding ideas that are implemented. 

Does your company encourage idea generation…..how?

Do you have a reward system for ideas that come from suppliers or customers?  Why not? 

Who are the “evaluators” of new ideas in your company?   Who says, “this is a good idea” or “this is a bad idea” and has the final say whether or not to implement it?

Are these individuals or committees powerful within the organization?  Are they also the people responsible for the implementation of the ideas?  Are these the right people for the job of idea evaluation? 

Does your company embrace speakers, seminars, retreats, conferences, or other off-site activities in order to promote idea generation and creativity?  Who in the organization goes to these events, only top executives?  Are middle managers, administrative and front line workers included in this type of activity…why not? 

How does your organization first react to new ideas?  Criticism (“it won’t work because”, “it will cost too much”), or Supportive (“tell me what problem this solves”, “why do you think we should implement this”).

Most new ideas generated will not work, it’s well known that only a tiny percentage of new ideas will be implemented and actually function, but that is NOT the reason to squash all new ideas.   A company that promotes idea generation will have more opportunities at finding these “winning ideas” and survive and prosper.





How to do Business in Mexico, Part 9

8 06 2006

Individuals, not natural team players

Mexicans are independent, and more comfortable doing it alone and doing it their way. Everyone wants to call their own shots, run their own business, make their own agenda. It can be very frustrating if you are used to strict discipline and adherence to a rule book.

This natural independence is great if you are seeking alternative methods, creative solutions, flexibility, and quick responses from your people.

Mexicans do not discourage teamwork, on the contrary, there are great opportunities to teach, support and reward group activity. Many of the most successful companies in Mexico have been able to implement teamwork and productive interactive systems. If you can harness and incorporate this individuality WITHIN your business structure, you will have a very successful adventure.

Take a look at the results of Mexicans in individual vs. team sports on an international level.

Mexicans excel at boxing, speed walking, cycling, long distance running, diving…individual sports.

Team sports, football, soccer, baseball, volleyball, rugby, and basketball are dominated by other countries and cultures.

Disclaimer The ideas presented are personal opinions and generalizations based upon 25+ years interacting, living and working in and with Mexico. None of this may be true, use the information at your own risk





How much time do you spend with statistics?

7 06 2006

Click on over to “The Harvard Management Update: Five Guidelines for Using Statistics” and then over to the Carmine Coyote blog “Slow Leadership, Getting Your Numbers Right”  for some great observations regarding the use (and misuse) of statistics and numbers in business today.

I have always felt that the current urgency to quantify and put numbers on every part of the business process, and then to concentrate and focus on managing these numbers just isn’t right.  

Numbers and statistics are, and can be, incredible important, but only as signposts or signals as Carmine Coyote points out.

It will always depend upon the “human factor”, analysis and creativity, that ultimately determines if a business survives, grows and adapts on time to the changing environment. 

Are you analyzing the right numbers and looking at the right relationships?

Are you asking the right questions? 





Human Resources – Change Leadership Advocates?

31 05 2006

Rosa Say has a brilliant and intuitive entry on her blog Talking Story, The Reinvention of Human Resources. The HR role has been severely neglected as a catalyst and champion for real change within organizations. She has identified a number of major problems that exist AND offers creative solutions. Great job.

Some excepts include:

“Stop being the employee’s advocate, and give that job completely to the managers who supervise them. Forge a brand new partnership and become the manager’s advocate instead, mentoring, coaching, and supporting those managers and emerging leaders to be the EVERYTHING they should be to the people they work with. Coach them to treat their employees as business partners and nothing less. Understand that clearly, the barriers to increased workplace productivity are largely management issues.”

“Assume responsibility for grooming Great Managers. Learn to do what I do and be a coach in leadership education. I’ll be blunt: If you don’t do this and abdicate the job to the executive level there is little reason left to have HR at all, for the rest of what you now do can be easily outsourced without any lack of quality assurance.”

“Become change agents like no others. Realize that ‘change management’ doesn’t cut it, for it is reactive and not proactive. You must go for the gusto with change leadership — initiate it!”

This may be revolutionary for many in the HR world, and no doubt be soundly rejected initially by executive management. But I’m betting her ideas are right on target.

This is the “kick in the pants” many organizations need.

Read and pass this idea on to everyone you know involved in HR (managers included!), and let the leaders step forward.

Link:

The Reinvention of Human Resources





Current Resume – Lee Iwan – March 2007

27 04 2006

 

Lee Iwan

International Business Development

Sales & Management Executive

Accomplished bilingual and bi-cultural executive with broad based domestic and international experience in business discovery and development; sales, marketing and operations for start-ups, growth and mature organizations.

Results oriented, proven success in new market identification, strategic thinking, negotiations and pragmatic problem solving. Track record of “hands on” leadership increasing communication, sales, efficiency and profitability.

Thrive in dynamic and fluid environments requiring enthusiasm, creativity, communication skills and organization.

Core competencies include:

Relationships and Communication

Team Leadership

Cross Culture Liaison

Innovation and Change Management

Global Focus

Entrepreneurial Focus

Contingency Planning

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

QUIMICA CENTRAL DE MEXICO S.A. de C.V. Leon, Gto., México July 1998 – Present

Business Manager, Strategic Business Discovery & Development May 2005 – Present

Serve as independent executive working directly with CEO and Board of Directors. Fully responsible for the visualization, research, creation, communication, follow-through, analysis, planning and implementation of new business development and corporate strategic diversification projects.

Key Achievements:

  • Project Leader, pharmaceutical joint venture (Swiss-México), manufacturing and commercial operations .
  • Spearheading strategic alliance negotiations to increase long-term market share and global positioning.
  • Ongoing negotiations with India and China for product representations, agencies and toll manufacturing.

Business Manager, International Business March 2000 – May 2005

Served as Business Manager, responsible for global sales and marketing, distribution and logistics, and all corporate international negotiations with clients and suppliers.

Directed export sales and market development, international supplier strategic alliances; leadership of export sales distribution and agency networks; cross-functional team participation; business intelligence; sales and marketing strategy and leadership for the Asia Pacific and Latin American regions; sales implementation and market development; logistics and supply chain management, cross cultural communications, “globalization” of company culture and corporate special projects.

Key Achievements:

  • Created and implemented commercial entrance for Asia-Pacific market, first 3 years revenue $ 5 M (US), projected annual sales growth of 200%.
  • Initiated and maintained strategic alliances with international suppliers, raw material cost savings of $ 2 M (US) fortified long term strategic positioning.
  • Negotiated exclusive agency representations in Mexico for South African and US specialty chemical manufacturers.
  • Increased company global competitiveness utilizing the export department to drive corporate cultural changes in strategic planning, production, time to market, supply chain and logistics, sales, marketing and administration.

Export Manager July 1998 – March 2000

Served as Export Manager, responsible for sales, distribution and marketing strategy and management for 20 countries including Latin America, US, Europe and Taiwan.

Key Achievements:

  • Created new commission and base price structure for agents and distributors resulting in increased loyalty and increased revenue of 8%.
  • Re-engineered department systems to increase revenue and customer loyalty through increased efficiency in communications, administrative processes and product shipping.
  • Managed international sales force in Latin America and Asia Pacific regions (18 distributors / agents).

NUVIDA S.A. de C.V., León, Guanajuato, México January 1993 – July 1998

Owner–President–Entrepreneur

Served as President for start-up specialty service business, corporate and government clients.

Key Achievements:

  • Alliance between private industry, State and Local government to create and maintain 100-acre interactive ecological area – Parque Explora.
  • Managed workforce of 45.
  • First workforce in the State to receive State Certification (training and operations procedures).

FLOWERS FLOWERS INC., Evanston, IL, USA March 1986 – August 1993 Owner–President-Entrepreneur

Served as President for start-up innovative luxury consumer goods and service business.

Responsibilities included: strategy and planning, management, sales and marketing, purchasing and operations.

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Science Agricultural Economics * University of Illinois – Urbana, IL 1980

PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Board Member, State Chemical Industry Export Committee, COFOCE, February 2007 – Present

Weblog: Business South of the Border August 2006 – Present

Weblog: Lee Iwan Accumulated Experience April 2006- Present

Business Development Mission, Chennai, India, February 2007

Chromium Industry Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, February 2006

Commercial Mission, New Delhi, Mumbai India, November 2005

Course: Finance for Non-Financial Managers, 2005

Business Development Mission: Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2004

Board Member, State Leather Industry Consulting Committee, COFOCE, 2000 – Present

ANPIC, Mexican Leather Industry Fair, Leon, Gto., Mexico, 1999 – Present

ISO 9001:2000, Certification Process, 2003 – 2006

Business Development Mission: Geneva, Switzerland & Moscow, Russia, 2004

Business Development Mission: Istanbul, Turkey, 2003

All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE), Shanghai, China 2002 – 2005

Guangzhou Leather Fair, Guangzhou, China, 2002 – 2005

Business Development: Geneva, Switzerland, 2002

Commercial Mission: Mexico – Central America, 2000 – 2002

Asia Pacific Leather Fair, Hong Kong, 1999 – 2005

Linneapelle, Bologna, Italy, 1999 – 2005

Commercial Mission: Mexico – China, 2000 – 2001

Business Development: Amsterdam, Holland, 2000

Business Development: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, 2000

Miami Leather Fair, Miami, FL, USA 1999 –2001

Business Development: Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, 1999

FENAC, Leather Fair, Novo Hamburgo, Brazil, 1999

Course: Mexican International Commerce Legislation, 2001 – 2004

Diploma: Modifications in the Mexican Customs Legislation, 2003

Diploma: International Commerce – Logistics, 2001

Diploma: International Commerce, 2000

Course: The Strategic Salesperson, 1999

Periodico AM, Newspaper Columnist. 1994 – 1996

Society of American Florists, Editorial Board, 1990 – 1992

Chicago-Dempster Merchants Association, Vice President, 1988 – 1990

Lee.iwan@gmail.com