I wrote up a list of lessons that were shared by speakers during the HR Directors Summit last week.

  1. Your learning rate is your earning rate
  2. Uncertainty is always filled by negatives
  3. Catch people doing something right and recognise it immediately
  4. Let leaders do the leading (HR supports leaders in the business, it doesn’t replace them)
  5. One size doesn’t fit all
  6. The competition is outside (it is so common in large companies to fight inside battles)
  7. Diverse teams perform better
  8. People are different
  9. Learn the language of business (which seems to be “put all people proposals in € cost and € impact”, numbers matter.)
  10. Find the talent
  11. Be flexible
  12. Focus and Vision (you must have both)
  13. Tech is getting smaller
  14. Keep your people healthy
  15. Titles matter (but really only to the person who has the title)
  16. Digital natives expect greater control

I had the privilege to deliver a keynote session at the European HR Director Summit yesterday. It was inspiring to be surrounded by 200 senior HR people thinking about making work engaging and meaningful for the people at their companies.

AkzoNobel decorative paint division put 17,000 people through a 3 day reflection on who they are, where they have come from, what their purpose is. The leaders chose to do it because they believed it was important. Engagement levels doubled.

Royal Philips HR Director Denise Haylor spoke about splitting the company into 2 units. Splitting payroll, teams, leadership… 63 countries… hundreds of applications… and all delivered last week.  Hard work!

European HR Director Summit

Here’s a few photos that the event organisers shared of my session:

and some responses:

And here was a powerful lesson I took away…

“Your learning rate is your earning rate” Dan Tesnjak

The Most Important Decision

‘We choose our spouses. We choose our bosses. We choose our friends. We choose the people who work with us. We choose our nannies. We choose our lawyers. We choose our doctors. It is definitely worthwhile investing in learning, because this is not rocket science, but it requires discipline.’  Claudio Fernández-Aráoz

Claudio Fernández-Aráoz has spend his entire adult life in the business of identifying talent.  He has interviewed over 20,000 executives.  What has he learnt about seeing talent in people?

Jim Rohn says we will become the average of the 5 people that we spend most time with.  A successful life depends greatly on attracting and identifying those people.  How much time have you dedicated to crafting your ability to identify talent?

His First Lesson: People Lie

We lie.  It is not malicious, it is natural.  Some people lie more, some people lie less; but we all have a tendency to see an optimistic perspective on our actions.  In an interview, you have to understand that two people are selling to each other – one selling themselves, one selling the job.

BusinessWeek asked 2000 senior executives: within your own organisation in your own level, are you in the top ten percent, yes or no?  90% believed they were in the top ten 10%.  That’s why you need to check references!

Finding Your Top Executives: The Four Key Attributes

So when it comes to key leadership assets, what should you be looking for? Claudio has signposted four values common to all high-potential executives:

  1. Curiosity – asking questions, taking genuine interest, and seeking new knowledge and experience
  2. Insight – making innovative connections between existing concepts, offering fresh perspectives
  3. Engagement – the ability to use emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision and connect people
  4. Determination – the commitment to persevering in spite of adversity

Read more at Enviable Workplace blog.