Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wrap Up of the SHRM Atlanta 20th Annual Conference: Sports, Greatness, Social Media & Creativity

Without making this too long I will try to do my wrap up the SHRM Atlanta 20th Annual conference. I started off my afternoon with an intriguing title. I mean how can you resist a session called The Shift Has Hit the Fan? Presented by Michael Hanson of Jobs2Web he talked about some of the difficulties (and solutions) in dealing with Talent Acquisition in today's social media world. The SHIFT (Is that a silent F?) has been going from newspaper ads ---> Internet and job boards-----> to a myriad of social media sites. He talked about the nessessity of having your job postings present in the bigger picture and not just a select few. He emphasized that most job searches start on a web brower, e.g., Google, rather than a job board or a particular company site. He did emphasize that just posting jobs is push marketing and a company is better off in engaging both active and passive candidates by being available easily through social media. The information was interesting, not currently in my sphere of work, and he got a tiny bit "sales pitchy" at the end but there were quite a few questions from others in the room so he was relevant.

A second afternoon session was Creative Leadership: Making the Case for Creativity as a Core Leadership Skill. This was presented by Paul Reali. Paul made the observation that creative thinking in today's business world is less prevalent than it has in the past. He feels we should be teaching creative thinking and problem solving as leadership skills. I happen to agree with him. He took us through a couple of exercises to show us that sometimes knowledge and context can be limiting factors on creativity. He had us think of as many uses for a brick as we could in a minute or two. The range of solutions went from 6 to about 17. Most of us came up with 10-12 and include things like: build something, hit something, weigh something down, break a window, act as a water level raiser, etc. Not really all that creative. He said giving that same test to children, who have no real context for a brick, their lists often top 20 or 30 uses. Including a brick being a stand in for a Barbie funeral scene. None of us in the room of adults got that one.

He showed that there is a structure for teaching creative thinking and a structure for applying it. Given the limited time frame we had for the session we did not get too deep into that. But he did offer some of us a book that explains it further. This book is H2 Solve Wicked Problems. I have promised him I would review the book on this blog so stay tuned. Just leafing through the book it looks like interesting stuff.

In the previous reports I failed to mention the keynote address for Monday evening. The speaker was Don Yaeger former sports writer now turned inspirational speaker. I must confess I was somewhat skeptical of what a sports writer might be able to offer to a group of HR people. But he was an excellent speaker and he has developed a list, based upon his work with great athletes, of 16 Consistent Characteristics of Greatness. His delivery was excellent and he entranced the audience. Even if you did not know some of the athletes you got the point of the speech. Most people left that evening pumped up.

This was a pretty good conference. I was able to reconnect with old friends, reconnect with students who had been in classes years before and I was able to make many new connections. As one of the speakers, Vicki Hess, said, there is power in your associations. So I am energized. I will be working with SHRM Atlanta to help put on a spring event to help connect small business with professional HR. I will be one of the speakers and I am pumped about it. So stay tuned.

And by the way, congratulations to Keith Hicks of Radient Systems, Inc. and Gary Jones of Grizzard Communications for being presented the SHAPE Awards. Two older guys in a sea of women that won awards! Right on!

1 comment:

Michael Hanson said...

Mike -

Thanks for the great write up! I really appreciate the feedback and will watch the salesy stuff towards the end of those things. Hopefully the passion I have for the subject matter came through. The next time I'm in Atlanta I'd welcome an opportunity to connect over coffee to chat about other topics as well.