My Interview with Engel Jones at 12 Minute Convos

12min-convo-ArtBack in December, I was invited to be interviewed by Engel Jones of 12 Minute Convos podcast fame.  I enthusiastically agreed and sat for an interview with him.  I was impressed with his professionalism, his enthusiastic attitude, and his dedication to podcasting.

He told me after the interview that it would be published sometime mid January and here is the link to it on his website.  I hope you enjoy it.

One of the things I learned from the interview with him are the “under the hood” steps needed to take to conduct interviews – something I’ve been thinking about doing here at HHHR and hope to do in the near future.

No Post or Podcast This Week

FB_IMG_1506436645254

My granddaughter expressing her displeasure that I didn’t get a post or podcast out this week.

Hey Crew – sorry about not having a blog post or podcast this week.

I’ve had a heck of a busy week with a lot going on in addition to fighting the bad cold that’s been going around.

I have a couple draft posts I’ve been working on and I just didn’t have the time to get to them last week but am working on them now for next Sunday!

 

Jeeps, Tires, and an HR Foundation

I’m taking a break from my series on strategic HR and pushing out a post about a recent purchase I made that ended up inspiring me to write a post that equates to HR.

This morning I had to buy new tires for my Jeep Wrangler – my dream car and one I was finally able to buy (with my wife’s consent, of course!) after pining for one since High School. I’m not an off-roader but have always loved the look of the CJ-5 and CJ-7 and then the Wrangler through all its iterations.

I also had to buy new tires for my wife’s car a couple weeks ago so it’s been an expensive couple of weeks but one I’m OK with it now that winter is here. I’m OK with spending money on important safety and foundational things.

As I was driving from Les Schwab Tires to Starbucks this morning, I noticed how much better the ride was compared to my old tires. I hadn’t noticed my old tires were worn down to the point where I needed new ones until it had snowed a little the other evening and I was slipping around more than usual. This being the rig I’d always wanted, I take very good care of it, religiously washing, getting my oil changed, and rotating my tires every 5,000 miles.  I was hoping I could squeeze out another winter on my old tires

And by just looking at them, they looked fine, the treads were all evenly worn and there were no bald spots (something I used to use as a guide when I was much younger and poorer!) But having slipped around more than usual the night before, I did the “penny test” and discovered that it was time to get new tires.

As I said earlier, I immediately noticed how much better the ride was compared to my old tires. My wife also commented how much nicer her ride was after getting her new tires. Of course, we always notice this whenever we get new tires because it’s a drastic change going from worn out to new tires. We never notice our new tires being slowly worn down because it happens over a long period of time. 

Now that I can afford it, I always buy the highest quality tires I can. I do this because the tires on my vehicles are the foundation of the car. They are the only piece of equipment that has contact with the ground.  Whether the surface is smooth dry pavement, a rough dirt road, a wet surface, or a snowy icy road.

The tires we have on our vehicle are what allows us to safely, or unsafely, navigate the different road conditions to get where we need to go.  If we have poor quality or worn out tires, we can usually survive for a while on the dry smooth roads but they may eventually blow out and leave us stranded. Ultimately, we will have trouble on the other types of road conditions. Its very important to have a solid and safe foundation.

So yes, I’m equating the quality of the tires on my Jeep to building and maintaining a solid HR foundation. Is that a stretch? Maybe, but let me tell you why and explore further as I equate the parts of my Jeep to the functions of an organization. All are equally important.   

So let’s break it down like this:

  1. The financing of the loan for my Jeep is the Finance organization. (Boom. Easy)
  2. The engine and drive train are the Operations organization. This function is what actually propels the Jeep and organization forward and makes everything in the Jeep and organization run. Like the tires, this function has to be regularly  well maintained.
  3. The body of the Jeep is the Marketing organization. This is what things look like to the outside observers and potential employees.  Just as my Jeep looks so darn cool, Marketing is responsible for making the organization look appealing to their customers.    
  4. The driver is the Leadership of the organization. Of course, like the driver of the Jeep, leadership is responsible for steering the organization to where, and at what speed, it needs to go and essentially sets the tone of everything that happens in the organization.
  5. The passengers are the Employees of the organization. The employees are not always just passive passengers but can assist Leadership with the direction they are going and can help drive and offer advice on where to go and how to get there.
  6. The tires are HR.  As are the tires, HR is not the most exciting part of an organization but the function that should always be in constant contact with the culture of the of the organization just as the tires are always in constant contact with the road. Good tires and good HR help the Jeeper and Organization safely navigate through difficult terrain/culture and weather/business environment conditions.  

The next two items are things that a Jeeper and organization have much less control over.  

  1. The climate and weather is the business environment the organization is in.  Jeepers have no control over the weather and Leadership has no control over the business environment. On any given day the weather/business environment can be clear and sunny, overcast, windy, gloomy, stormy – you get the picture.
  2. The road is the organization’s culture. Similar to an organization’s culture, the roads we drive can be smooth and dry, rough and rocky, slick and icy, and even flooded and impassable. Sometimes we even go off-road to experience something new and unusual.

And when we are talking about these last two items, where we have little to no control, it depends mostly on the skill of the driver/Leadership, the health of the engine/Operations, and quality of the tires/HR foundation that you have on your Jeep/organization that determines how well an organization navigates through challenging conditions as they reach their ultimate destination.

Since this is an HR blog and podcast I’ll close with this.  When the organization invests in a high quality HR organization and takes good care of it, just like me investing in and taking care of the high quality tires on my Jeep, the organization will be able to effectively and safely travel to it’s desired destination, weather all the storms, and navigate the different and often dangerous road conditions along the way.

Retooling Hard Hat HR

ID-100296506

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, I took a lot of time off from my blog and podcast. I can blame it on a number of things, but bottom line, I just simply ran out of motivation. I’m sure I would have found time to post if I had been passionately motivated to do so. But I just wasn’t. It became a chore and I found it way too easy to find other things to do instead of work on HHHR.

It did bother me that I had abandoned my blog and podcast but not enough to to work on it.  At first, I enjoyed writing posts and putting out podcasts but as time went by, I just felt I didn’t have any real direction for HHHR. I didn’t feel comfortable with the niche I was trying to be a part of. I wasn’t even sure what niche I was in.  When you think about it, the HR profession is very diverse and complicated.  My niche was the entirety of HR which was entirely too big and left me feeling overwhelmed.

Then, after many months of HHHR being dormant and it nagging at the back of my mind, it came to me.

I’m going just focus Hard Hat HR on HR departments of one. Because that’s what I am. I’m in charge of a small HR department for a small mining company. That’s what I do and I do it well. So why not have that as my focus, my niche. I also, like most employees in a small company, wear several other hats. I do the Investor and Public Relations.

I don’t know what I was thinking before. What the heck does “Working Hard and Making it Safe for HR Pros” mean anyway? I guess I was trying to tie it into the Hard Hat theme but I was obviously trying too hard.

I think now that I’m just focusing on  HR departments of one, I can really concentrate on the issues that affect us because I experience those issues every single day and can write about those experiences and challenges. It gives me a great deal of subject matter. I will, of course, have to be careful about some things and won’t be able to share everything but I will take what I know and what I do and share it the best I can.

I also found myself worrying about my writing skills and how others would judge me when reading my blog.  This worry blocked me from sitting down and just banging something out, like I am now.  Even though I’ve stopped writing for a while, I continued to read many HR blogs and observed the folks writing them are clearly not worried about what others think, yet they have huge followings and are considered HR leaders – at least with their readers!

I know I’m not the most elegant writer.  I know I will make grammatical mistakes.  But I’m not going to worry about it any more and concentrate on just putting out good content that will help small and HR departments of one.  And I know the more I write, the better I’ll get.

So with that, I introduce the new and retooled Hard Hat HR, Building HR for Departments of One! I like it. I hope you do too.

Returning From my Break

ID-100267602

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, this is my first post in nearly two months.  I left off and had to take a break from HHHR back in February because I was completely overwhelmed with work in addition to some difficult personal matters that needed my attention.  I was so busy and mentally drained each day that I was unable to carve out the time I needed to continue writing and recording posts.  It was frustrating because I was doing a good job keeping up a regular schedule, the key to building an audience, but I simply couldn’t do that during the past two months.  I felt I had to write a “Taking a Break” post to take the pressure off until I was ready to return.

I am reminded how difficult it is to get restarted after taking a break.  Things had finally settled down at work and with the personal matters a few weeks ago and I’ve actually had the time to get HHHR restarted.   I simply didn’t have the motivation to start writing and recording again and I seemed to find other “important” things to do like watch TV!

Once you break an established habit and routine for a period of time, it is very difficult to regain that habit and routine.  Not only did I stop posting and recording at HHHR, I stopped my regular morning routine of writing and reading.  I also stopped going to the gym to work out.  Once my days returned to normal at work and in my life, I found it very difficult to immediately get back into the important self development habits and routines I had established.  Maybe I just needed a few weeks to recover.  Maybe I was just rationalizing.

On one hand, I’m disappointed in myself for not having the discipline to keep up my routines during the past two months and that it took a couple weeks before I felt I could get restarted.  On the other hand,  I’m thinking there is only so much a person can do and it that takes some downtime to recover from a particularly crazy stretch of time.   Looking back, I’m a bit disappointed in myself  but I also realize that I’m only human and have a limited capacity to be effective at all times.  I needed the two to three weeks of “downtime” afterwards to recover from the extra workload at work and personal issues.

But this weekend, I felt like I could finally get back into my regular habits and routines of writing and recording to HHHR, to starting up my regular morning routine, and to start working out at the gym again.  It actually feels pretty good getting back into those habits.  My lack of not doing these routines and habits were constantly nagging in the back of my mind.  I knew I needed to get back on track and, frankly, didn’t feel like it until just this weekend.

I’m now working on several posts hoping to get ahead and have some written and recorded a couple weeks in advance.  I feel like I’ve recovered and have the capacity to restart HHHR after its two months of dormancy.  I will return to the once a week routine, with Wednesday as a target day for publishing both the blog post and podcast.

While writing this post, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is  important to allow yourself downtime after a particular gruelling period of time.  Give yourself permission to recover and recharge.  Spend time with you spouse and family.  Work on your hobbies and veg out in front of the TV.  This is what life is all about.  Take care of yourself.

Tweeking HHHR’s Schedule

I’m making a change to the frequency of my posts from twice a week – Monday and Wednesday – to once a week – Wednesday.  The reason being is that I want to improve the quality of both my posts and the audioblog podcast that accompanies each.

I’m working on HHHR in addition to my full time job and as a result, find myself really having to scramble to get two posts and podcasts out a week.  I’m finding that I’m starting to ‘half ass’ them just so I can get them out in the frequency schedule I set for myself.  I want to publish a much higher quality product and think I can do it if I scale back to a once a week schedule.

So, starting next Wednesday, I will begin the new schedule.

Introducing Hard Hat HR mobile!

Screenshot_2014-08-30-12-05-47Now you can easily access Hard Hat HR on your mobile phone.

I’m excited to introduce Hard Hat HR mobile because nearly 25% of the traffic to Hard Hat HR is through a smartphone.  The responsive design of the  HHHR website automatically adjusts to and optimizes the display to your device.

Accessing the internet via mobile devices is continuing to grow and will probably soon be the majority of internet traffic.

According the the Pew Research Internet Project, 58% of American adults have a smartphone and 34% of cell internet users use their phones the majority of the time to go online.  Yes, I know most of the time they are checking email and social media or getting directions, but the comfort level of using smartphones for other online behavior is only going to grow.

So it’s important for HHHR to be optimized for this behavior.

I gotta stay on the ‘cutting edge’ of technology.  I’ve always been kinda geeky that way!

Introducing the First Tool in the Hard Hat HR Tool Belt

Today, I am very excited to introduce the very first tool for the Hard Hat HR Tool Belt – 8 Tactical Actions to Help Build Your Online Presence.

In today’s highly competitive and connected world, it is critical for HR leaders to have excellent online visibility. The best way to gain this visibility is to build a strong and cohesive Online Brand Presence by carefully following the 8 tactical actions detailed in this guide.

Once established, your online presence will gain you a great deal of credibility. You will be seen as an HR expert and thought leader by your current employer as well as any potential future employers. This can lead to possible career advancement and financial rewards!

You can get the download here.  The tool is completely free and all I ask, in exchange, is for your email address so I can stay in touch with you with the HHHR Update and you can be first in line for future tools.

How my Presentation Helped me Narrow the Focus of Hard Hat HR

Last week I delivered a presentation to a group of HR executives at Innovative Career Consulting and told them the story of  how I created my online brand presence.  Turns out, a couple executives at ICC were impressed with how I was branding myself and HHHR so they contacted me and asked me to speak to their group about how I am doing it.

The request was completely unexpected and on very short notice – I only had two and a half days to prepare something completely from scratch!

Remember, I only re-launched Hard Hat HR a couple weeks ago and am in the beginning stages of building it.  Delivering presentations is certainly one of the activities I intend to do but I was completely caught off guard by their request and certainly not ready.

But my attitude is and always has been to take whatever opportunity given and make the best of it.  I would have to make myself ready.  Who knows when the next opportunity will come or where this opportunity will lead?

So I went into deep dive mode and, in following two mornings and evenings, I built the presentation with enough time to rehearse it a half dozen times.  Whew!  Of course I was nervous when it was time to deliver the presentation but once I got going, my enthusiasm and passion took over and was able to comfortably deliver some real value to the group at ICC.

The group was fantastic and engaged throughout  and asked some great questions – many of which have given me several ideas for new material for HHHR!   One question in particular really made me think.  A gentleman asked what was the main focus or specialty for HHHR.  I didn’t have a good answer for him except to say “HR Strategy and Tactics”.   I’m actually OK (but not really excited) with that answer but the question still made me think a little harder about what direction I want to take HHHR.

That thinking led to the conclusion that the group consisted of HR leaders who were looking to me for advice and seemed interested in what I was delivering.  So why not concentrate my efforts on delivering advice and content to HR leaders and those who aspire to be HR leaders?  Boom.  That’s it.  And that is what I will do.

As of today, my new title/focus/brand is “Hard Hat HR – Human Resource Leadership Strategy & Tactics.”

In closing, I want to sincerely thank the good people at Innovative Career Consulting for giving me the opportunity to speak to their group last week.  Not only did it give me the opportunity to help a fantastic group of HR leaders, it gave me some great new ideas for the future direction of HHHR!

Hard Hat HR’s One Year Anniversary and Future Direction

Rich at Rig Site 1975Today, August 2, 2014, is the one year anniversary of HHHR!   I originally launched HHHR intending to focus on HR in the mining industry.  Later in the year, I expanded the focus to HR in the extractive industries.  Most recently, I paused for several weeks and changed the focus once again which I explain later in this post.

When I launched HHHR, I was also blogging at my other much more established site, www.RichBoberg.com, and maintained both for most of the next 12 months.  This got to be a bit more of a chore than I thought but I was still enjoying it!  I didn’t know where it would all go so I decided to just work my way through it and see where the experience would lead me!

Then about two months ago,  I had an epiphany!  After a particularly difficult week at work where everything – and I mean everything – seemed to come down crashing down on top of me, it occurred to me that I could expand Hard Hat HR away from just focusing on the extractive industries and use it as a way of providing a “Hard Hat” or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all HR Professionals.

Here is the first attempt to describe the new HHHR.

So what is Hard Hat HR?  Well, it’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the HR Professional.

Those of us in the profession know that HR gets a lot of unpleasant and difficult issues thrown at us. Sometimes thrown very hard –  hard enough to make your head hurt!

So, Hard Hat HR is here to provide protection from those issues and to help HR Professionals become more effective leaders by sharing and discussing strategic and tactical  Human Resources practices and theories.

So I did a complete makeover of both my sites.  I quit blogging at www.RichBoberg.com and converted it into my professional personal website and moved it from the Blogger platform to a self hosted WordPress platform.  I also moved HHHR from Blogger to a self hosted WordPress platform, purchased the Get Noticed theme from Michael Hyatt, and started the long journey of building Hard Hat HR into something I hope will provide value to those who join the HHHR Crew!