Book review, Career, HR for non-HR people, Human Resources, Leadership, SHRM, Thinking differently, Working in People & Culture

HR Rising!! – the book you need

Book review: HR Rising!! by Steve Browne

More and more, we are recognising that HR is a global community that can be a force for change – change that means people’s work is more rewarding, that we can help people be effective and successful at what they do, and that organisations – be they public, private or nonprofit – can benefit from happier, more engaged workforces.

The global coronavirus pandemic adds another layer entirely to this. What’s the most important thing you would look for when looking for your next role? (Other than a paycheck of course – thanks ‘rona for the recession…) It’s an organisation that puts its people first, that has shown they do that through challenging circumstances. They are the orgs we all want to be a part of, the ones that walk the talk, they have great leaders and that translates into their employees feeling valued, respected and engaged.

I’ll let you in on a secret – none of that happens without great HR. Not good HR – good HR is a team that doesn’t screw up your pay, your benefits. Great HR (or as they’re more commonly known here in Australia – People & Culture) are about creating workplaces where good leadership is rewarded, people are trusted to do their best and given the tools to do so. They’re not obsessed with the dress code, or clocking in on the dot of 8am – they contribute to the creation of a culture where outcomes are what matters, and you’re more than an employee – you’re a person!

If this is the type of HR you want to practice, or encourage in your organisation, you need to know Steve. He has a talent for breaking down complex issues into an easy to read, enjoyable format, he tackles leaders with no substance, HR’s penchant for vagueness, the need for “messy and wonderful” at work while dismissing a whole bunch of unhelpful stereotypes.

Leadership is much more than the proverbial seat at the table, and Steve manages to deliver a message as relevant for senior leadership as it is for someone just starting out in their HR Career. He advocates that working in HR should not be an exercise in mediocrity or a burden (and if it is, he tells you to get out!) – but a profession you should be proud of, and find a real sense of joy in working in. Steve’s book is a vital ingredient to finding the joy you’re missing in HR.

On a personal note, Steve is someone I look up to, as a multiplier, someone whose passion is to make things better for others. It’s not just his penchant for the exclamation mark that I adore – although obviously we’re kindred spirits here, he is the kind of person that inspires you to do better, to be better, and I think we all need a little bit of that right now.

HR Rising!!’ is an absolute must-read – and not just because I’m quoted inside the front cover! Go get yourself a copy now!!

AHRI, Australian HR, Career, Human Resources, Leadership

5 Key Takeaways From The AHRI Awards

AHRI get a lot of things right for me as an association – they work incredibly hard (every employee or volunteer I’ve met have confirmed this), they listen to their membership, and they lead with the genuinely good intent that our profession can be better and can create better work environments for others.

Last week I attended the AHRI Awards, a national event that I have never had the opportunity to go to before. It was fabulous. Not just because of the great MC (Peter Berner), performances & food – but for the great conversations and stories that were shared throughout the evening.

The “people profession”, as described by Lyn Goodear, came together to celebrate the hard work of both individuals and workplaces in bettering work for others.

Ok, ok, ok – without further ado, here are my 5 key takeaways from the event:

1. Individual awards are where it’s at

The first two acceptance speeches for the night really set the tone, both giving heartfelt thanks to their teams, mentors and managers who believed in them. It was a timely reminder that no matter how busy you are, how much you’ve got going on, the support you give those in your team will make an impact far bigger than you realise at the time.

There is amazing talent coming through in the field of HR and I’m excited about the impact and change that this will inevitably bring.

2. Diversity & inclusion is where all the cool work is happening

The HR Diversity Champion Award as a really big one for me. The Defense Force isn’t necessary an employer that I would have picked as a front runner in innovative HR practice (which I full well acknowledge may be my own denseness) but I was really impressed with Shane Cox’s work in providing career pathways for indigenous youth.

3. The numbers of people with AHRI certification are growing

I’m really enjoying the growing professionalisation of HR in Australia, largely due to the efforts of AHRI. Certification was a topic of conversation at the awards – which definitely prompted me to reflect on exactly when I will be getting my A into G on that one!

4. AHRI = genuine advocacy

A message I heard loud and clear – not just from AHRI (because what member association isn’t going to advocate this), but from volunteers, staff members, and from what efforts are recognised makes it clear, we are fortunate to have this be our professional association.

I heard multiple times from the winners in their acceptance speeches of the honour of their work being recognised by AHRI. What AHRI is doing is celebrating work that is changing the way others work, interact and experience their own work. Work that is genuinely changing peoples’ lives.

5. Conversations!

The AHRI Awards was a fabulous opportunity to get out and meet (and reconnect with) people who do great HR. Sometimes life can get busy and its easy to forget, or just not prioritise, meeting new people and listening to what makes them tick. I was lucky enough to sit next to someone who had also rejoined the workforce, and changed role, soon after becoming a parent for the first time. I got to hear about the fascinating experiences of someone who has moved into HR after a long career in energy. These conversations, among others, were a good reminder that its easy to get caught up in your own bubble and forget to take the time to learn from others.

I had such a brilliant night. Not just because of the organ (OMG THE ORGAN), the showtunes from Wicked, the Phantom, Les Mis & Jersey Boys, but because of the honour of being around people that are so brilliant at what they do that they inspire me to be better.

AHRI, Career, Human Resources, SHRM

Finding My Tribe & The Power of Multipliers

This morning I sat down for breakfast with Greg Hawks ahead of presenting at the Illinois SHRM 2018 Conference – #ILSHRM18. A completely random occurrence: both Greg and I were speaking at the equivalent Ohio conference (a fabulously run event), and upon seeing we were both going to be in Chicago, Greg suggested we have breakfast.

Greg, myself and 110 mousetraps sat down, main-lining coffee, chatting about how we’d both ended up at the Hilton Suites ahead the conference kicking off. We just didn’t shut up! We discussed conferences (how well run was #OHSHRM18?!), kids, HR, business, speaking, American hospitality (it’s disconcerting how polite everyone is here), and the amazing people we’ve met along the way.

If you asked me a few years ago whether I’d be here, bouncing around ideas with a phenomenal speaker (do make sure you check him out) in the restaurant of a hotel in Chicago where I’d been invited to speak at a conference the answer would have been a resounding hell-no!

But here I am. And the unreal nature of the situation has not been lost on me – I’m incredibly fortunate. Yes, it’s taken hard work to get here, but much of how this has all come about has been because I’m surrounded with a tribe of smart, successful, kind people, like Greg, who have been generous with their knowledge, friendship and time and paid it forward.

I worked with a wonderful human, also called Greg (Jennings), in Melbourne at the YMCA – it was this Greg (perhaps there’s a consistency with the name?) who introduced me to the concept of ‘Multipliers’ (from Liz Wiseman & ANOTHER GREG (McKeown)). Multipliers are people who believe in the concept of plenty and are all about helping others, encouraging growth and creativity in the workplace. I took to this concept quickly as it immediately resonated, providing a reference point for all those people I most admire & the way they work.

As I sit here in my hotel room I reflect that the tribe I’ve got gathered around me are all multipliers. Colleagues, past and present, friends, random acquaintances-turned-good-friends, mentors and of course the incredible #HRTribe, many whom I first met via social media, have all helped me grow, learn and be more confident in my work. There are far too many to name, but I am particularly excited that over the next 3 days at #ILSHRM18 I get to spend some time with a few of these multipliers – who probably don’t really understand the impact they’ve had on me, and others, with their approach to life.

Who are your tribe? Are they multipliers? How do you prioritise learning from, and spending time with them?

So without any further ado, a bit of well-deserved gratitude:

Thank you so much to Dave Ryan, Steve Browne & John Jorgensen who I get to hang out with this week! Thanks to Julie Doyle & the whole Ohio SHRM team for my past few days. Thanks to Andrew Morten & Mary Kaylor, the SHRM crew & SHRM Bloggers for everything (there’s a lot). Thanks to Mardi Versteegen, Andrea Martinez, Brylee Neyland & the Widex group for being a fabulous, supportive & scary smart team to work with. Thanks to every single person I worked with at YMCA Victoria – there are far too many to name here – but you’ve impacted me more than you’ll ever know. Thanks to the AHRI team for all the the education, support & leadership you show in the HR space. Thanks to the incredible network of Melbourne-based business & HR leaders that are so generous with their time and gifts.

Disclaimer: This list is by no means exhaustive, as there are many, many other people who have had a huge impact on my professionally. I’m just quite jet-lagged, forgetful and am happy to trot out the excuse of being a mother to a 1-year old to explain my forgetfulness.

I’m really looking forward to the next couple of days at #ILSHRM18, I hope that I am able to do half as much for others as they’ve done for me. I want to thank the committee, volunteers, speakers and attendees ahead of time – as it’s the hard work that you all are doing that allows me to learn from each one of you.

Thank you to my #HRTribe!

Career, Human Resources, Parenting, Working in People & Culture

How NOT to lose your employees to a competitor while they’re on parental leave

Lately there’s been more and more discussion around parental leave. Who legally has to offer it. Who goes above and beyond. Who pays for it. Who doesn’t.

But what isn’t often discussed is the risk you face of losing your employees while they’re on parental leave. Not just to full-time parenthood – but to your competitors. This isn’t just something to think about in terms of women who work for you – 50% of men say they’ve passed up work opportunities or switched jobs after they’ve had kids.

There are few times within a person’s career when they’re more susceptible to being approached than when they’re in the new fog of parenthood. People are disconnected from their role and organisation – even when engagement is high. During this time people are far more likely to be revaluating their priorities, what they enjoy, and what they want to be doing when they’re ready to re-join the workforce.

Last year I went on parental leave to have my first baby. Despite working in HR for many years, I wasn’t quite prepared for the up-ending that taking a break from my role would mean for me in how I saw myself and my career going forward.

My former employers did a great job of trying to keep me engaged. They were accommodating in my hours of work as I worked through severe ‘morning sickness’ (the name of it which still makes me laugh). They were very thoughtful when sending me off from my role. They agreed to me coming in for meetings now and again (at my request) with my baby, so I could stay connected with my team.

So why did I accept a role at another organisation when approached as I neared the end of my leave? (And what made me consider this role, rather than the offers I had prior to going on parental leave?)

Changes were happening, and they made me uneasy

While I was on leave there were some major changes within our leadership team, including a couple of people leaving who I worked with closely. I found out about these changes on the grapevine, rather than directly from my team. This made me nervous – were my role and key objectives going to change on my return? When would I know more?

I wanted career progression when others assumed I’d want to put my career on hold

Not linear career progression, but new projects, challenges and opportunities. I started to feel (whether this was rooted in any truth was irrelevant) that my new role as a ‘New Mother’ was defining me in my interactions with some people at work (please note, this was not true of the organisation as a whole, but it was true enough with some people that I felt limited).

I had originally intended to take a relatively short break of 7 months; however, I was approached by my current company who wanted to meet me in relation to a role they had come up. I initially said no but due to a superb recruiter I came and met her and the reporting Executive. It was (professional) love at first sight.

  • They reassured me they knew what it was like to juggle babies and work
  • They had created a role that had heaps of opportunity to deliver on outcomes – and help shape the focus of HR
  • The role was an excellent career step for me
  • They were unbelievably awesome at what they did (people say people leave managers? I would challenge you to think about that flipped – I joined because of a manager).

In the end, my decision to leave my role came down to quite a few reasons – and I must be honest, there were a couple of times when I regretted making such a big change at the time that I did.

If you’re thinking about how to keep your people engaged when they’re on parental leave, steal some tips from employers that do it brilliantly:

  • Remember that different employees may want different things – no matter your approach be clear that you can accommodate individuals wants and needs accordingly
  • Utilize technology – you don’t have to just rely on emails and phone calls – Pinterest & Reddit both offer employees access to parenting app Cleo and there are other similar things out there
  • Be inclusive – families come in many different forms and it pays to run a critical eye over any materials/advice you’re circulating. Don’t assume the primary carer is a woman, remember same-sex parents, and don’t accidentally not include adoptive parents – they need accommodations too!
  • Find out more about organisations similar to yours who are ranked highly in terms of appeal to parents – Fortune Magazine has a list of the best 50 workplaces for parents and you can also check out lists of employers that promote gender equity (as often a factor in calculating this is recognising flexibility for any parent rather than just women)
  • The best advice though? ASK YOUR EMPLOYEES! What do they value? What benefits/approach would they appreciate. Being a great employer for new parents doesn’t necessarily need to cost big dollars – workplace flexibility is priceless!

 

#SoMe, Career, Human Resources, Leadership, SHRM, Social Media & Learning, Working in People & Culture

The #HRTribe – they open doors like you wouldn’t believe!

Next month I’m on my way to the Illinois SHRM and Ohio SHRM Conferences to speak about HR in Australia & the lessons I’ve learned along the way. How this opportunity to speak outside Australia has come about is an excellent example of the collaborative nature of the international HR community (for which I am forever thankful).

A few years ago I had a brilliant conversation with a guy called Steve Browne. You might know him, he’s one of the Board Members at SHRM, he’s an all-round nice guy and he’s an active promoter of everything that’s good in HR. I’d been blogging a bit and was thinking about my professional development and what might be a good investment in my career and had decided that I’d like to apply to be a part of the SHRM Blogging team for 2016.

Well it all happened. And it changed my career and the way I think about HR exponentially.

While I’ve worked across different countries, was a member of SHRM and an avid reader of international HR & business blogs I was not at all prepared for the shift in my thinking that resulted from becoming a part of the SHRM community.

Since attending that first conference, not only have I been lucky enough to attend some phenomenal conferences and see some true thought leaders in the HR/management space (not lame, self-proclaimed ‘thought leaders’ that I think we’re ALL sick of), but I found my tribe (#HRTribeTM) AND became a part of an incredibly community that seeks to progress our profession and help us adapt to the new world of work as people-people aka HR professionals.

Two years after that first SHRM Conference I’ve now been a part of the Official SHRM Blogging team twice and this September I’m heading to the Illinois SHRM and Ohio SHRM Conferences to speak – what a roller-coaster!

The way HR is evolving internationally is so exciting because I believe it makes us confront what is unique and special about our profession, rather than resting on our laurals as the rule-makers and police. It’s forcing us to consider what those assumptions that may have been holding us back. Gone are the days (well… hopefully) where we are a primarily an administrative function. Having the opportunity to speak to people about what works well in different countries – and what doesn’t – is an incredible gift and one I’m looking forward to sharing an Australian perspective on this September. I’ve loved practising HR in Australia over the past 5 years and think that the quirks of employment law and common practice here definitely have some (interesting) lessons for those operating in different environments!

I owe a huge debt to Steve Brown, Dave Ryan, Andrew Morton, Mary Kaylor & the whole SHRM community (especially the bloggers!) for their generosity in time, guidance & mentoring over the past few years. I sincerely believe that as we further collaborate and learn more from each other we will only serve to further cement HR as a function that is seen as indispensable and valuable to organisations as we all believe it is.

 

#SHRM #SHRMBlogger #Speaker #HRTribe #Gday

Career, Human Resources, Leadership, Reflective practice, SHRM, SHRM18, Uncategorized

The Disruption of HR

Disruption doesn’t happen from the inside.

The founders of Invisalign weren’t dentists. Uber wasn’t created by Taxi drivers. Airbnb wasn’t created by hoteliers. And yet now they dominate their industries after completely upending them.

The digital disruption means that everyone’s specialty is at risk of being toppled by someone else. Someone that doesn’t know your business and industry as well as they did. But it turns out that’s an advantage. Because they’re not constrained by the same limitations you place on yourself.

I’m fascinated by speakers in the disruption of HR, of how we treat people within business.

Over the past month I’ve been soaking up some gems from a few people who are the very thought leaders (without making you sick with an over-used term) who I believe will take HR where it needs to go to deliver on what the world of work needs in the future.

The futurist

I am lucky enough to know the fantastic Alex Hagan – Alex is the founder & CEO of Kienco, a workforce strategy consultancy based in Melbourne who works all over the world and as well as being generally excellent at what he does, is a lovely human. We got talking about the future of HR the other day.

The discussion centred around the ‘old guard’ (AKA those who live for policies, procedures, control and to say ‘no’), and the opportunity and responsibility of nurturing those who see the real value-add: to provide strategic people counsel and guidance to help organisations flourish along with the people within them. The ones who will guide the HR profession into the future, when the ‘no’ crowd’s value is superseded by apps and automation.

The Dr of Change

I went to a fascinating breakfast learning session the other week (often an oxymoron) where Dr Josephine Palermo spoke on the cultural disruption an exceptionally large telecommunications company in Australia – Telstra – is facing as it expands over borders and moves into becoming a technology company – rooting it’s change in the customer experience. I know. Customer experience. It’s so overdone. But what got me excited about hearing Josephine speak was this was real.

The key takeaway for me? That we need to move away from ‘best practice’ – there’s no such thing when you’re looking at such new concepts and changes. What you should be aiming for is ‘emerging practice’ and knowing your business well enough to create a fail fast safe environment.

This really resonated with me – it speaks to the core of what HR needs to understand, live and breathe and then teach others to do. If we’re all about people – then we should be modelling great change, understanding the people in our organisation (and by extension, our customers), and helping the business deliver on what’s required to meet our goals.

The Social Movement

I’m so fortunate to be a part of the #SHRM18 blogging crew – but what’s cooler about this than me being stoked to be a part of it is the company I get to keep. HR is a social beast and to continually improve we need to surround ourselves with people that do it differently, people that do it better, and learn and adapt and share what we know to help make work better – because isn’t that what we all want?

To be a part of the social movement making HR better I’ve got some brilliant recommendations of where to go:

  • (self promotion alert) check out the phenomenal crew of #SHRM18 bloggers – they’re all on Twitter and there’s also some great individual blogs that you can follow. It’s easy to set up a feed rather than subscribe to them all if that’s your thing? Feedly is a great resource to get all your blog/article/website articles in an easy-to-read magazine style one stop shop.
  • Definitely get onto HR Open Source. They are freaking awesome. What could be better than a community of people just like you (if you are also fantastic) who want to make HR and work better for everyone? There’s a tonne of crowd-sourcing of HR challenges, sharing of resources and just a great sense of community.
  • Soak up some podcasts. On your way to work? You can totally learn while you’re doing that. Check out:
    • Drive Thru HR (so good – and heaps of content!) hosted by @MikeVanDervort it is seriously good stuff.
    • HR Happy Hour – hosted by some of the best in the business @SteveBoese & @TrishMcFarlane.
    • Impact Makers from @JenniferMcClure – this is a new one but Jennifer is AWESOME and you should definitely check it out.
    • We’re Only Human – HR is about people, and Ben (@BenEubanks) is a phenomenal interviewer who has one of the longest histories in HR/work podcasting out there. Highly recommend.
    • Business, Life & Coffee @joeyvpriceHR, the CEO of Jumpstart:HR is an excellent interviewer and really expands your horizons with some really interesting business leaders and a wide variety of experts.
    • Talking People & Tech from @DaveGass & Jared Cameron looking at the intersection of HR & Technology.

(There are so many more I could go on about – but often I find out about a really good one from listening to another – it does become a bit of an addiction).

  • Get into the HR Book Club – it’s not too late! From the HR-famous (yeah, that’s a thing) @LRuettimann herself. Laurie also has an excellent Vlog series that you can access on her website.

So what do we need to do? Keep asking questions, soak up all the knowledge you can, and as you’re figuring it out make sure you share so we can all learn from you too!

Career, Formal learning, Human Resources, SHRM, Uncategorized, Working in People & Culture

Investing in Yourself

L’Oréal says ‘you’re worth it’

Nike says ‘just do it’

And I say ‘what they said’.

 

It’s easy to go through life, be content in your job, hope for something better to work out one day but think ‘it’ll happen in time’. But it’s not that easy. Good things don’t always come to those who wait. Sometimes you need to back yourself – because if you don’t, other won’t either.

This week I spoke as a part of a panel to a fantastic group of university students about transitioning from university to their career of choice. These students had made the admirable decision to invest in themselves, and put in the hard work (and expense) and attain a graduate or post graduate degree.

Formal university education is often what we think of in relation to getting the career we want, but in a competitive employment market, it is never enough. In my years in HR it has never been the letters at the end of an applicants name that have stood out. It’s when I can clearly see how much they’ve prioritised their own learning and development, beyond what is offered in tertiary study or as a part of their employment.

When giving advice to new graduates and people looking to take the next step in their career, my advice is always similar:

  1. Study can be your friend. But consider all options.

    Many hiring managers highly value the right letters from the right school – and without knocking that, I think it’s important to consider your industry, where it’s headed and what your goals are. Want to be seen as an employment law expert? Then a Masters in HR with law as a major might be for you. If you’re not sure and just think it will be easier to land a job with an MBA? Proceed with caution.

  2. Don’t undervalue your professional association.

    I’m a big advocate of professional associations, upon relocating to Australia from New Zealand five years ago AHRI was a magic bag of opportunity and learning. Likewise, over the past 3 years I’ve been a member of SHRM I’ve been exposed to a HUGE amount of learning and professional development. Don’t forget, it’s not just the professional development you may have access to, or the certification you may achieve (both worthy elements though) – but it’s the people who will share with you and help you grow that I think are the most valuable element of a good professional association.

  3. Use social!

    You’re reading a blog right? There are so many better ones out there than this! I’m an (enthusiastic) amateur, I’ve learned so much from people in my field who share freely and offer advice, support – and sometimes even resources. The beauty of the internet? You don’t even have to attend a conference to be able to learn from it and connect with the attendees thanks to Twitter.

  4. Get outside your comfort zone.

    Scared of public speaking? Think you can’t hack a secondment within the operations of your organisation? Afraid to put yourself out there by writing an article on LinkedIn? Just do it. Getting outside of your comfort zone is the perfect way to learn new things, whether you succeed or ‘fail’ (read: learn an important lesson about how to be more effective next time).

  5. Chase brilliant people.

    The times that I’ve learned the most? When I’ve been partnered with great minds on pieces of work – an experienced nonprofit executive, a dynamic CEO, a GM who ran rings around everyone they worked with. Grab hold of roles and opportunities where you are surrounded by people who know their stuff. Because their smarts do rub off!

  6. Most importantly – provide opportunities for others.

    Good things come to those who put their money where their mouths are. Want to take the next step? Provide assistance to someone who needs theirs. My most successful moments can all be traced back to someone else believing in me, offering my advice or an opportunity (and I’ll forever be grateful).

 

 

#SHRM17, Career, Human Resources, Working in People & Culture

Heading to #SHRM17 as an International Attendee?

Last year I attended SHRM for the first time – it was spectacular!

Attending as an international delegate, the scale of the conference was mind-blowing – much bigger than anything I’ve attended in Australia or New Zealand. I was surprised with the number of international participants, but to be honest the biggest takeaway for me was the calibre of attendees and speakers alike.

This year the conference is in New Orleans – somewhere that would be amazing to get to!

SHRM17StreetSignLOGO

It wasn’t just the keynotes either (although they were pretty spectacular all round) – the value I got from the other attendees – in particular, the organisers, volunteers, bloggers and the people I met in the lunch lines was the absolute highlight. Being able to share in their enthusiasm for rethinking how we engage with people in our organisations and witness the evolution of HR was career changing.

As a first time attendee I relied a huge amount on the SHRM Blogger articles and the guides published on the conference website. The scale being much bigger than anything I’d interacted with before was a little (edit: a lot) daunting: multiple streams, concurrent sessions, a large venue, all meant that relying on advice from the experts in planning my time was invaluable.

Things to consider for international attendees?

  1. Check out the international lounge – you will meet a huge variety of people and it’s nice to have a ‘base’ to work from.
  2. Read up on the SHRM Blogger articles. These are the people to take advice from, veteran SHRM attendees and new additions alike, they’ve scoped some of the hottest speakers and expo attendees and will point you towards all the hidden treasures of the conference.
  3. The Smart Stage is absolutely the place to be when you’ve found yourself with a bit of time (and there’s undoubtedly a number of speakers that you want to schedule into your conference time too) – but the ‘aha!’ moments I had when just sitting down for half an hour were some of the highlights of my SHRM16 time.
  4. Plan plan plan! No you don’t have to plan down to every minute (unless that’s your thing – then go nuts!) but make sure you’ve had a good look through the schedule and find your top picks – the venue is big and if you have a must-see you don’t want to miss out because that session was at the other end of the venue or you got lost (see step 5 for getting lost).
  5. Make use of the friendly volunteers. Unless you’re a conference location savant you will be thanking your lucky stars for the hundreds of volunteers who will point you towards the bathrooms with the smallest lines, direct you to your next session and let you know where the lost property stash is for that bag you left behind!
  6. Get on to the message boards – there are the official SHRM ones you get access to with your ticket, but there will also be numerous Facebook groups spring up where people will organise dinners and you’ll hear about events happening over the time of the conference. If you’re not one to normally get out of your shell make this the exception – I’ve never met such a welcoming group of people as at these events, some who have become wonderful friends.

The most important thing to do though? Have fun! Open your mind and listen to a few speakers that have different points of view than you. Make it a mission to speak to as many different people as you can and make the most of what will be one of the best professional learning experiences you can hope for.

 

This blog post was first published at the SHRM blog for the #SHRM17 conference.

#SHRM16, Career, Reflective practice

My 2016: The oh-darn-it’s-already-December Edition

2016-blog-december

Well well well….

It’s December tomorrow, I’m about to get the Christmas tree up and I’ve only just stopped to take a breath and I’ve realised that the year has gone so fast™ (I used to think that only old people said this and I’m now one of them).

2016 was a huge year for me – I bit the bullet and completed my Masters in Management while working full time, travelled to #SHRM16 in Washington D.C. (career highlight!) and had my first full year in my role as Learning and Organisational Development Manager at YMCA Victoria. In all the insanity my blogging dropped off considerably, I have an enormous pile of books next to my bed half read and many incomplete book reviews and articles waiting their turn to be completed. In short, my own personal learning journey has been usurped by the busyness of life.

A few months ago I was asked to participate in a gratitude study, which measured gratitude practices and their impact on self-esteem. That week I added to my morning ritual a journal entry of what I’m grateful for and it was an eye-opening exercise. In the spirit of sharing a few of the highlights for me were:

  • My family and friends – who are spread very much across the world but thanks to technology I’m able to be connected with constantly.
  • My dog. This might seem a bit trite but he makes me incredibly happy and forces me to do more exercise (good for the brain, body and soul) and his positive world view is pretty infectious!
  • My career, colleagues and workplace. I am very aware how fortunate I am to work for an organisation (shoutout to YMCA Victoria!) that I truly believe in that has given me huge opportunity. Add to that working with some of the loveliest people on the planet who all care deeply about their work and getting to focus my career on developing people and organisations to increase their potential I’m stoked!
  • I’m incredibly thankful for the many people who I’ve learned and grow with locally and the globe over – the fantastic #PeoplePeopleCU crew in Melbourne, the incredible bloggers and SHRM community, and my online & IRL networks who provide support and learning opportunities constantly.
  • Living in Australia – my husband and I (and our dog Vito) moved to Australia in 2013 from New Zealand. While we love our country and going back for time with family and friends the lifestyle and opportunities offered to us in Australia remind us how fortunate we are.

2016 has been an interesting year in some respects #JohnOliver….

2016-john-oliver

… But for me it has been incredible – so now I’m going to take my last month and try and correct the neglect some of my own personal learning habits suffered earlier in the year.

Career, PKM, Reflective practice

I’m a hypocritical so-and-so…

Because I’m always going on to others about the importance of self-reflection and have seen huge benefit in using the practice myself.

Usually my morning ritual looks like:

  1. Wake up earlier than my alarm (99% due to my child-like bedtime on weeknights).
  2. Reflect on my learning in a journal. Possibly translate some of these into a blog post – some for sharing, some not.
  3. Catch up on business news. Schedule my Buffer account to share my top finds on Twitter.
  4. Wake my evening-owl partner up so we take take the dog for his morning walk. This is both good for our health and helps ensure there are no tantrums during the day resulting in suspiciously wet ripped up cardboard on our return from work.
  5. Get ready for said work.

Lately though I’ve been slack. Oh I’m full of excuses (“It’s cold this winter!” “We’ve just moved” “It’s hard acclimatising on return from holidays”… whine whine whine) but I don’t have any excuses that stick.

Along with the demise of my morning routine I’ve noticed:

  • It takes me longer for my brain to ‘switch on’ once I’m at work, and a lot more caffeine.
  • My lack of exercise is meaning I’m more sluggish  and far more inclined to pig out on junk food during the day.
  • I’m finding excuses to get out of other good habits – mainly exercise related although my study schedule is also suffering.

What to do? Well I could continue to whine about it and be a hypocrite when stressing to others the importance of self-led learning. Or I could reflect on a conversation I had with a skateboard-riding pirate last week and not ignore the importance of my own learning journey.

Challenge accepted.