Friday, October 16, 2009

Workplace Hugging

I believe this is the first guest blog post I have ever put on Recruiting Revolution. This was just too good to pass up. One of our recruiting team members (Shine Thomas) sent this to our team today:

What are the rules for workplace hugs? Here are some ideas I have been pondering on:

  • The guy / girl hug. A quick hug and 2-3 slaps on the back. Keeps movement going and ensures there is not an awkward too clingy stage. Someone will always get the wrong impression even if it is for a nano-second.

  • The two girls who work closely hug – This sort of hug usually starts with a squeal of “HIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!”; big arms, big smiles” maybe some swaying ; some more squealing. Special occasions (such as babies and engagements) can take this hug from 30 seconds to up to 5 minutes and multiple repetitions.

  • The sideways half hug - Also good for guy/ girl workplace hugs. Affection is being shown but not too much to give the wrong impression.

  • The First hug - When your relationship goes from being friendly hello to hugging it is a very instrumental point in your relationship. It can determine how the relationship will move ahead. If the hug is not equally reciprocated it could lead to bonding issues. However, if the first hug is a good quality hug, immediate life long workplace bonding is sure to follow.

  • The outside of work hug - You see someone you know from work and chat to occasionally at random spot out and about in your hometown. Maybe even another city. It’s far enough away from the workplace to warrant extra excitement. You will probably do a “HEEEEYYY (guys) or semi-squealing “HIIIIIIIEEE” (girls); lean in, reach out arms a bit and maybe do a quick hug. Risk takers will go straight into the hug.

  • Candidate interview hugs - I have been known to hug my close candidates in the reception area. I must admit I advise against this practice though. I would recommend sticking to a warm extra long handshake and big smile. Some of my candidates have close/ stalkerish relationships with me.

  • The new hire hug - There are some candidates you court for a long time. Lots of conversations. Lots of “one more question” phone calls. Lots of trips in for interviews, emails with smiley faces, the excitement of an offer, the acceptance of an offer, relocations and finally they are here at the village. It is really a special day almost like a wedding day. I know on Sunday nights, when I know a new hire is going to start on Monday, I do get nervous excitement! You meet them on day one or sometime during their first week. You walk up to them and say “HIIIIIIEEEEE!!! Welcome aboard!!!’. If you're a female recruiter who has just hired another female recruiter, a hug is critical at this point (unless they are a VP in which case personal discretion should be used). If you have a guy / girl situation a hug might not normally be a good idea. It all depends on if you have developed a good candidate brotherly / sisterly bond.
  • The performance review hug - Not much to be said there. If you get a pay rise or promotion a hug is warranted. Or at least a semi hug for two guys. If you didn’t get a good review, a simple “OK then, I have to go now, I have a crazy day working my butt off for you and you don’t even appreciate me and I could be your boss“ look could be OK.

  • The termination hug - avoid hugging in termination conversations at all times. It sends a confusing message to the terminated employee. Even if they are crying their eyes out maintain a neutral corporate stance but try and be sympathetic with your eyes so they know you are not an A**. Also, do offer tissues.

  • The manager hug - I would follow your manager’s lead and watch their body language. They will definitely be slow moving. If you feel like they are going in for a hug and are OK with this, then hug back immediately. It’s hard for boss people to take that risk so reward them with a lot of enthusiasm. If however, you are not wanting to receive the hug, take 2 steps backwards, cross your arms and smile. They will get the hint.

  • The client hug - I find this the most challenging because I really do love my clients and I want to hug them all the time and have to refrain!! (I know I am a freak but I am still in my honeymoon phase). I think when you get to the point of hugging your clients you have become a true trusted advisor. They will listen to anything you have to say because you are at Hugging level. You can get away with anything when you get to this level :Examples below

    I’m sorry I don’t have a single qualified candidate – but I can give you a hug!!!
    I’m sorry the candidate declined our offer – but let’s hug and cry about it together.
    I’m sorry you cannot replacement hire the 5 people who have left your 7 person team

    Your team hates your management style, you should really hug them more often

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dumbed Down World of Clichés and Pop-Psychology

Feedback is good as long as it’s constructive…

Really? So if I tell you that you are ugly but the good news is I have a great plastic surgeon I can recommend, that’s good, right? Just because you use the word constructive doesn’t make it so. Don’t hide your political posturing and sarcasm in “constructive” feedback. If you give it truly think about how you are affecting the person receiving it.

You can be anything you want when you grow up…

Really? So your kid wants to be an astronaut yet they suck at math but can draw a perfect flower. What the heck—encourage them to be an astronaut—I’m sure they’ll be great at it. Instead you may want to consider actually encouraging your kids to do what they are naturally very good at. And hey, who knows, maybe they will actually be able to get a job when they graduate because they are good at what they do.

You have all the time in the world to figure out what you wan to be when you grow up…

Really? Let your spouse pay the bills why you figure it out. Oh, and the kid in India that figured it out fifteen years before you did, guess what, they got the job. You don’t have all the time in the world! You don’t even live that long!

There are no bad questions…

Really? Have you ever sat in a meeting where someone asks the same question that the person right before them did because they were playing on their blackberry? But hey—still a great question right? Why not start a meeting and say please be thoughtful of your questions? Or please ask questions that will advance the discussion forward. We aren’t in kindergarten. We are paid money to think—not ask stupid questions.

It’s all about communication…

Really? So if someone sells you a crappy car but over communicates why it’s so great then the problem is solved, right? Communication doesn’t solve everything. Sometimes you have to actually do work to solve it. If you are being strategic you will ask yourself if it a communication problem or a true business problem. Don’t always assume communication is the answer to everything.

Work-Life Balance…

Really? I didn’t know we died when we got to work and came back to life afterwards. I must have missed the transition when this oxymoron was first coined…”from here on out work is no longer part of your life.” That really must suck for a farmer—they must never be alive. Stop thinking life and work are separate…got news for you-life is work and work is life and if you don’t like your job don’t try to solve it by spending the least amount of time there.

If you are communicating with a leader it needs to be high level…

Really? Because no problem (like the collapse of our economy) requires more of an in depth look at an issue. “Our analysis on risky lending practices indicates these three bullet points… Executive writes back from their blackberry, “Thanks for info” message sent via blackberry. We need to get real and stop thinking our executives can’t handle information. If we have a complex and important problem to solve give them the facts so they can make a solid decision.

Work Hard Play Hard…

Really? Because you work hard you have a free pass to do beer bongs on the table? Just because you work hard doesn’t make you exempt from looking like a complete idiot. How about work hard and be yourself. Not work hard and act like you are at a college frat party.

We are the largest…

Really? Who gives a rats ass how large your company is. Every time I go to a conference I hear speakers say “we are the largest heating company in New England”, “we are the largest beer distributor in Florida”, “we are the largest this, we are the largest that”. Who cares! What is with the largeness syndrome? Do you think someone hears that and is like, “wow, your company is large”? No—it’s totally forgettable. How about come out and say we are the SMALLEST company in the world at annoying the hell out of people by saying we are the largest. Now that is cool!

Gen Y/Millennial’s feel they are entitled…

Really? I see this written about every day from someone in the industry. Of course—it’s not written by the Millennial’s because like the WWII generation, Baby Boomers and X’ers—when their parents said the same things about them they viewed it as OLD and ARROGANT. Just like all of the other generations there are lazy, entitled people and hard workers. Please stop clumping them together in one category—it’s just truly an inaccurate way to view the world. The same inaccuracy that the WWII generation had of their kids listening to Elvis and the Beatles!!

When you hear one of these statements don't just take it as some form of wisdom someone is giving you. Think!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Susan Burns and Jeff Hunter wrote powerful and provocative blog pieces on the elusive Talent Camp (#talentcamp). If you haven’t read these two pieces you are missing out on true thought leadership; you would be remiss not to pay attention to these two if you are a recruitment professional. With them, a group of industry visionaries are coming together to discuss the future of the talent acquisition space. There will be specific attention paid to one of the most misjudged and poorly understood organization assets--TALENT.

Rapid changing currents of socioeconomics, social innovation, environment and quality leadership have made our space more relevant than ever—but only as relevant as our ability to show responsible leadership. If achieved we can bring profound, long lasting credibility to our craft. If we as a collective industry can agree on common principles and focus our efforts we can influence an entire market. If we cannot make this shift the market will dictate the future of our profession. Focused attention to the long lasting health and sustainability of our profession and the impact it has on society will be a key focus of mine at Talent Camp.

Within organizations, marketing, sales, operations, production, etc., are often thought of as drivers of the business. HR/recruiting often is thought of as influencers/supporters of the business (I’m stereotyping a bit—this is not true in all organizations). One of my goals is to break down the difference between an influence model and a true business driver model. All too often recruiting professionals ask me if I had to get permission from this department or that department to implement a program or campaign. If the program or campaign falls within our area of expertise why would we ask permission? You may need buy-in depending on what you are trying to accomplish but this is different than permission. Practitioners in our space are often waiting for something to happen in the business or waiting for permission while the organizational need is already there. How do we as an industry shift this nuance in how we execute strategy and tactics within our space?

There are large disconnects between strategists and tacticians within the recruitment industry. We lack clear, definable understanding between the differences of organization building and talent acquisition. We battle points of view on whether it’s better to pick up the phone and cold call or brand. We argue about the best sources of our hires. We tend to avoid questions on how to shape the future generations of recruitment professionals and the political and corporate institutions we operate in. If we avoid these discussions we do the whole industry a disservice. I have been invited to keynote at several industry events over the past few years. At recent events I have presented on branding and marketing in the area of recruitment. Some of the feedback I received was around why I was so focused on marketing. A few people said I came across more as a consultant versus a practitioner. When I get up on that stage my focus is straight forward. Advance the industry. I often educate myself by looking outside the recruitment space. I learn from brand marketers, operational experts and other disciplines to understand how these can be applied to our space. There are a lot of questions about how practical this is. If you’re paying attention to the industry you will find more and more organizations are pulling leaders from these other disciplines to lead recruiting functions though. Why? Because they came from areas of the business that have credibility! If we fail to pay attention to the socioeconomic currents, the entirety of our discipline we will see more and more of this.

For some reason the recruitment industry has not been able to get this as a whole. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of individuals who do but there are too many who would rather spend their time derailing progress. It’s entirely possible to unite the industry though and advance our craft. The freemasons did it in the 1600 and 1700’s and remained strong into the last century—maybe an extreme example. The Human Resource profession has done a better job of it. Take a look at the size of SHRM and the speaker line-ups they get: Colin Powel, Jack Welch, Covey, etc. Business leaders! They are sizable enough and powerful enough to impact legislation. Recruiting industry pundits and speakers often criticize our HR colleagues for not partnering or valuing the staffing function. I’m not arguing that HR is the most progression function within an organization but where are we? The list of industries/crafts that have been able to organize effectively goes on—American Marketing Association, Information Technology Association of America, etc. Take the Information Technology Association of America ( as an example. Here is one of the first things you see when you go to their site:

"Tech Leaders Urge Investments in Digital Infrastructure as Part of Recovery Plan– In a letter sent to House and Senate leaders, The Technology Association of America, formed by the merger of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) and AeA, formerly the American Electronics Association, joined over 100 companies urging lawmakers to include strategic investments More..."

This is an organized and focused effort to influence the government to spend in their sector. They believe this will help Americans, create jobs and as a result shape the future of their industry. This is strategic. If you are sitting in your recruiter seat filling roles and think that taking on something like this is way outside your sphere of influence—we need to rethink this. It’s about organization and coordination of common principles that we all share. And it’s this very thinking that can secure our future and the entire industries. We sit within one of the most relevant and vital disciplines to an organizations survival and we have not stepped up as an industry to create change in the way organizations value talent. Sure we talk about. But it’s going to take much more than chatter to significantly impact the fabric of how talent is valued.

I like how Susan Burns positioned her post about Talent Camp—“The Big What If”. Here are my big what ifs:

  • What if we can get agreement/synchronization on the industry future, the industry players and a game plan to focus and coordinate our efforts?
  • What if we can define the distinction between the sphere of influence and business driving within our industry?
  • What if there was formal education for the craft of talent acquisition?

Can all of this happen? It can. It’s not going to happen right away. This is just a start. The only way we can get there is if enough people in our industry can agree on a purpose and a direction. I meet brilliant people in our industry every day. It’s an incredible, passionate group of people. I meet fun people, creative people. We simply lack unity and direction. Whether this becomes something more, or simply a dream, I’m looking forward to the discussion the following Talent Campers:

Briand DeGroodt

Franny Oxford

Jeff Hunter

Joe Gerstandt

Lance Haun

Laurie Ruettimann

Mike Johnson

Ron McManmon

Shauna Moerke

Suzy Tonini

Susan Burns

Financial institutions contributed to the collapse of our entire economy. People institutions bring economies back to life. Shaping the thousands of people institutions out there is what we do. It deserves thoughtful, educated and measured commitment. Let the discussions begin!


Monday, September 14, 2009

ERE EXPO--A Recruiters Dream!

Just sitting here on the airplane (using GoGo wireless) and reflecting on all that is being accomplished in the recruitment industry and in recruiting at adidas. I’m going to forewarn you that this post is going to seem a bit random but that’s where my head is at right now. Spinning with reflections and ideas!

I’m returning from a recruiting industry event called ERE Expo ( I know there are tons of industry associations out there but anybody who is in the area of recruiting can most likely attest to the caliber of individuals you meet at ERE. This one was a favorite. Beyond my favorite industry guru hall of famers like John Sullivan, Gerry Crispin, Kevin Wheeler and John Sumsner we also had our super innovators like Jason Davis ( , Joel Cheesman ( just sold to , Neal Bruce (, Shally Steckerl ( & one of my favorite industry rookies of the year and industry MVP Josh Westover (

In addition to being able to network with some of my industry favorites I got to co-present, sit on panels with and meet many talented industry professionals. A few that really stood out to me were…Marvin Smith (Talent Community Evangelist at Microsoft), Mike Grennier (Sr. Director Corporate Recruiting at Walmart), Brian Schaffer (Recruiter at DaVita), Sejal Patel (Project Manager Staffing Marketing and Channels at Intel), Chris Hoyt (AT&T) and Angela Guidroz (Sodexo). In addition I got to see many industry friends including Grant Hubbard with Qualigence, Sarah White with HRM Direct, Master Burnett with and too many more to mention here. And last but not least I have to call out my partner in crime Steve Bonomo—Global Head of Recruiting at adidas He is a great friend and leader. I’m truly honored to work under his leadership at adidas. I also need to mention my direct supervisor in Portland, Jochen Eckhold, for his support and leadership in allowing me to come to these events, learn and grow.

There are a few themes and trends I would also like to call out that I see in the industry. Everybody seems to like to recap themes at these types of events. I actually enjoy reading these because everybody seems to bring their own twist…so here is mine:

Advertising—Traditional advertising in our industry is officially dead (dead of course is relative because dead things in industries don’t always die right away but can take many, many years simmering along with small beacons of success in niche areas—you don’t need to quote me examples of where it’s used). But the reality is that we will start seeing more and more shifts in advertising spend to pay-per-click and web advertising using contextual targeting, rich media, social networking, guerilla, word of mouth, PR. It’s been happening for a while but new players in this space will dramatically speed this up.

Media Fragmentation—With traditional advertisers threatened many new up and comers are emerging. Some are great and others offer false hope. Some show great ROI and others appear to be money traps. It’s becoming imperative to get educated on who the players are and what’s effective. Those that don’t will waste valuable organizational resources. There is a ton of hype in this space so practitioners will need to be more discerning than ever on which channels they choose.

Employment Branding—Is finally getting the respect it deserves in the industry. While companies may not totally be there yet they are getting the importance of it and are starting to look beyond the basics. I’m seeing more and more recruiting departments hire Marketing people from the business side. This is very intriguing and promising for the industry.
Integration—Everybody seems sick of the lack of integration in our industry, both from a technology perspective and a cross departmental perspective. Companies are starting to work hard and put more emphasis on this. There was a great article by John Sullivan today on on this topic.

Social Recruiting—You can’t find a conference these days that doesn’t focus at least 25% of it’s sessions on this topic. This is hot, hot, hot and more companies than not seem to be experimenting with how to best harness it’s power and show ROI. There are many promising stories in the industry right now. There are still a lot of hurtles in this space but progress is being made. In my opinion there is no turning back in terms of the importance of this in our space.

Candidate Experience—Still suffers in our industry. Candidates continue to feel that they don’t get the respect they deserve from organizations. This one is sad in that it’s been an age old problem we have not cracked yet as an industry. Those that due though can show true competitive advantage.

Employee Engagement—is a hot topic for organizations right now. With organizations becoming leaner and meaner it’s even more important to engage the current workforce. Internal careers plays a major role in this so more and more recruitment leaders will need to turn their focus internally over the coming months and years.

Conferences—less people are going but most of those that are going are creative, innovative and hungry to learn. This makes the experience of going much more exciting. This last ERE proved to be one of these cases. It was a fantastic conference all around. That said I still see many disengaged people at many of the conferences I go to. I also see a lot of disbelievers in industry advances and innovations. My prediction for these people—find another industry to get into because you will most likely not survive with that approach.

Industry News and Networking—I’m blown away by how learning, networking, conference going is combining so many forms of community, technology, communication, etc. At this ERE, the events and sessions were set up and advertised using social media, changes communicated real time. Events were streamed live. People were Tweeting what they liked real time. Highly organized events were intertwined with guerrilla events and parties are turning into charities and vice versa. And all of this is weaved together in this way that just seems to make sense—maybe it’s the freeing nature of the internet and technology. There are not a lot of rules and so it becomes thoughtful and human. This is one trend I love!

Hiring—Is picking back up. Almost everybody I talked to tells me they are seeing an upswing. This is one of the many things I love about the recruitment industry. It’s my personal barometer for how the market is doing. This is the greatest news of all! When the market is hot recruiting is HOTTER!

Final Thoughts—I want to thank Dave Manaster and his team for putting on such a fantastic event and for the opportunity to keynote at this event. I also want to say that if you are out there reading this and you haven’t ever attended an event like this in your industry or raised your hand to present at a conference consider it. There is no better way to give back to your craft and to learn from others.

At this event Steve Bonomo and I got to tell our Employer Brand story and share what we have learned in recruiting. The questions we get from the audience inspire us greatly. The fact that people care and are willing to take a stand to make our industry even stronger is profound. And the opportunity to inspire others is a chance of a lifetime. The one comment I won’t forget is when someone walked up to me afterwards and said that he wasn’t an adidas guy but is going to buy his first pair. He said that during the videos it made the hair on his arms stand on end. If we can touch one person like this, create one better candidate experience or inspire a recruiter to want to learn and grow it’s all worth it to us.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Follow adidas Careers on Twitter

For up to date feeds on new adidas job postings and career information follow adidas Careers on twitter:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

adidas Launches New Global Career Site

Check out the new face of adidas careers:

Hopefully by now you have noticed that this is not your average career site. Here you will get to experience some of your favorite athletes and learn about careers at adidas in a fun and interactive way. You also get to hear first hand from our employees on what it’s like to work at adidas. There are many things we would like to tell you about working with us but we will let the site speak for itself.

The one thing we do hope you take away from the site is that working at adidas is much more than a job. We did our best to convey this on the site, and hopefully, someday, you can experience this first hand. Until then we hope you continue to visit our site, check for updates, and apply to the many career opportunities offered by adidas and our sister brands.

We also want to hear your feedback. Creating the best career experience for you is our end goal. We aren’t perfect though and will work hard to continually improve this experience, especially as we receive your feedback. Under the "Why adidas" link at the top of the page you will find our feedback section where you will have the opportunity to take a quick survey or e-mail your feedback directly to us. While you are there you may also check out our mission statement, overview of benefits and application process. Other areas you might want to check out are:

  • Future Talent Section: Here you will find our internship and graduate programs. Read program descriptions, view videos of current employees in these programs, and apply.

  • Locations: We have created robust location pages so you can get a sense of what it’s like to work at adidas locations around the world.

  • Sustainability: This link will direct you to our main corporate site and give you information about what adidas Group is doing globally in the area of Social Environmental Affairs.

  • adidas Group Career Sites: Check out our adidas Group career site and our sister brand career sites--TaylorMade, Reebok and Rockport.

  • Retail Stores/News & Hotjobs: Learn what it’s like to work in retail, check out our hottest jobs, and read about what’s new.

We believe the greatest value is interacting with the athletes and learning about the departments you are interested in. Of course if you want to skip all of this and jump right into the job search you can do that too.

Impossible is Nothing

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

adi Dassler's Birthday Video

It's adi Dassler's birthday (adidas founder) and we are having a Party! We had an internal contest at adidas to see who could come up with the best birthday video. The Global Head of Recruiting, Steve Bonomo, along with other HR, Recruiting and some Marketing team members produced the following video. If you like it give us your vote by giving it a favorite rating!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reinvigorating the American Brand, Part 5 of 20

Giving Back

We now know our ecosystem, our economy, our consumption needs to be a balanced system for it to work in the long run. We have a symbiotic relationship with the world we live in and the people we live with. If we take we need to give. Giving powers positive influence in the people around us and the cultures we interact with. If one of our major oil companies enters a country with an agreement from their government they should also be held accountable for giving back to the direct community they are taking resources from. Chances are these communities didn’t have a say in the government’s decision, yet they are the ones most affected and impacted by the company taking resources there. We need to hold these organizations accountable for giving back. Organizations that are taking resources need to boost the well being of the community they operate in to maintain a balanced system. I say this needs to be regulated because the giving often doesn’t come close to what is taken. An organization is an entity that will maximize profits above all else. This is not a bad system but the flaw in the system is greed. I will touch on this topic later. Most companies will resist regulation but they need it in certain areas. We should not be fearful as citizens to regulate where needed. Capitalism has proven to be the best system on earth but it’s not a perfect system. To protect this system it’s our responsibility to make sure we strengthen its weaknesses—this is one of them. As a global leader we need to show compassion, especially to those who need it. We are Nation but we are also citizens of this world. The health of those around us impacts our health. Our social systems that enable dependence may have flaws but letting people suffer has even greater impact to the long term health of the system. The balance between a free system where we can acquire unlimited wealth and one where you can end up with nothing is not one were simple solutions can solve these complexities. We need to move past the sound bites and really think and analyze how our tax dollars and our votes impact this ecosystem. It’s delicate and when our gut reaction may be to get angry at a political agenda it’s our responsibility not to choose sides but use our brains to make informed decisions. We give back in many ways including our votes and our tax dollars. From an individual perspective if you are successful and obtain wealth then give—learn from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in this area—two guys that absolutely understand this delicate balance. These guys aren’t driving around in Hummers and staring in “The Hills”—they are curing Malaria and Polio on a global level. These guys get it!

Coming Next-Part Six: Sustainability/Consumerism/Productivity

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reinvigorating the American Brand, Part 4 of 20

Hard Work

Past generations worked very hard for what we have today. These past generations weren’t perfect but they did build America and we have the same responsibility to leave something better for our kids, grandkids and future generations. This is one of my biggest fears in terms of the sustainability of America’s strength and influence as a Nation. There have been several documented examples that have shown when Nations become too wealthy people tend to outsource all of the hard work—even work that is core to the Nations sovereignty. There are theories that the Aztecs fell because of this and the Romans as well. In the early days of the Roman Empire friends and brothers fought side by side. They fought fiercely to protect their people. When they retired from the military they would earn a plot of land and could live out their lives peacefully. Later in Roman history, after acquiring a lot of land and wealth, the government used mercenaries to fight their wars. These people weren’t as loyal to the cause and the Romans started to lose ground. There were several factors that came into play with the Roman’s at this stage in history but the empire started to fall. Our Generations—Boomers, X’ers and Y’ers have been handed a lot. We can’t take this for granted. There are other superpowers emerging around the world with people who have had very little and their motivation is high. Early on in my career I started at a staffing firm and I placed people in lower wage positions mostly in the manufacturing and clerical fields. I worked in a Downtown office in Portland, Oregon which happens to have a relatively high homeless rate. The theory for the high homeless population is because of the amount of social programs offered in the city. Just outside my office I would often run into people who would ask for some spare change. These were people who appeared to be perfectly capable of working. Many of them spoke articulately and appeared physically and mentally healthy. I started off giving people my spare change but when I saw the same people day after day I decided to start giving them my business card. I told them that if they came up and talked to me I would look into placing them at one of companies I worked with. Not one of them ever came up to see me. I thought this was interesting. As I would drive through the city I would also notice the amount of Americans hanging out in the front of 7-11’s and other areas for extended parts of the day. I thought why are there so many people just hanging out during a time when we were in an economic boom. Then one of the most alarming things I heard was the High School drop out rate in Oregon. Right now about one fourth of all freshman four years ago won’t receive a diploma. This number startles me—we aren’t talking about college here. We are just talking High School. When I think about emerging countries where people are so hungry for more and the amounts of engineers and programmers graduating from some of these countries it starts to become a scary picture for Americans. Couple this with the amount students who are halfway through their University education and don’t know what they want to do yet—or don’t even know what they are good at. I bring groups of students in to tour the companies that I have worked for. I would say that a good third of the students don’t know what they want to do, they haven’t done any internships and they have, “I have all the time in the world to figure it out,” attitude. The good news is that there is still a portion of them that come in, know what they are good at, have internships in their field, and show immense passion for what they want to do. These students will hands down end up getting the jobs. It’s not enough anymore to tell our kids that they have all the time in the world to figure it out. If we tell them they can be anything they want to be when they grow up we also have to instill the hard work ethic that needs to go along with it. We are very fortunate that we still live in a place where we have limitless possibilities. This does not exempt us from hard work though. Our primary school system needs change. I believe this could be done for relatively low cost but it will take an astronomical shift in thinking. My suggestion is that we get rid of tenure and we instill a true performance culture. Administrators should be given far more control over the performance of the system and to make faster decisions to make changes when something doesn’t work. I know many people who work in the school systems and you would be amazed at the piles of bureaucratic red tape they have to go through to have something as simple as a performance discussion. This would never happen in the private sector. If something is not working or a person isn’t performing in a private organization it is going to act fast. This is not the case with our school system and our youth is suffering because of it. Parents, professors, career councilors need to ensure we are giving a current picture of the competitive landscape out there. The advice should no longer be—you have time to figure it out. We don’t have time to figure it out. Those seeking counseling should be given advice that will truly make them competitive in this new landscape. At the same time they should be guided to do what they love no matter how impractical it may be. If the impractical is complimented by a person’s true passion, hard work and focus then they will mostly likely land a career in their field or something related. Because they are passionate about it they will out compete others in the same field—no matter where they are globally. Hard work does not mean seeking out something you don’t like just because it’s practical. Over there years I have seen many people who have made this choice and they can easily be out competed by others that love what they do. My advice is the exact opposite. Figure out what your strengths are, what you’re passionate about and then work super hard to be the best in the world at it. And do it quickly. The last piece about hard work is that we all have jobs we don’t always love as we are working towards building our craft and building our career. Performance in every job you ever do will impact every job you have after it. Hard work opens doors, builds references and builds networks. Laziness and complaining because your aren’t in the ideal role yes does the exact opposite. It destroys references, shrinks networks and closes doors. Every job counts. Find what you love and work hard at it. If you don’t have it yet work hard at what you have and set your sites on where you want to go.

Coming Next-Part Five: Giving Back

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reinvigorating the American Brand, Part 3 of 20

American Jobs

We have taken outsourcing too far. The government needs to have better oversight of this. Powerful lobbyists have tipped the pendulum too far. There is an economic theory called creative destruction. This occurs when we invent something, maximize our benefit from the invention and eventually let it go when it’s no longer innovative or profitable for us to build in the US. Other countries at this point can take the technology and produce product more efficiently at a lower cost. If this is done right then we transition the industry over time to a more viable/innovative industry and American’s benefit because they get the same product at a lower cost. Because the move is gradual it gives our people enough time to make the transition and garner new skills needed. I’m over simplifying the theory but this is the drift of it. The problem now is that we are outsourcing at rates much faster than we had in the past. How does this happen? When companies assume a cost effective labor pool doesn’t exist at home. Where we have very low tech product it makes sense in certain areas to outsource. Because these products generally have been around for a long time there is typically heavy global competition. In order to compete with price you need to outsource to lower cost labor markets. Where I believe we have gone wrong is in highly innovative sectors where we assume the more mundane work is low tech. The work may be repetitive but it’s still innovative. And there are many American’s that would find these jobs viable careers. We also potentially give away trade secrets to countries that will easily take these and replicate and rebuilt at lower quality and cost thus exacerbating the issue. On the flip side we should be less concerned about letting foreign workers into the country. We mainly do this in two areas, low skilled labor and highly specialized labor. The low skill labor enables small business to operate competitively and efficiently. There are also less Americans willing to take these jobs. In the highly skilled areas we obtain knowledge in the US by allowing these individuals to come in. We are bringing them in generally for a skill we cannot find here. Therefore the organization gains knowledge versus lose knowledge. There tends to be a lot of fear in the country about allowing too many people in. We need to remember that this country was built on allowing people in. If you think about the country like a company then you know that surrounding yourself by brilliant people is healthy—this will be good for America. We will attract the brightest most diverse minds from around the world. We can all learn from these people. This is not a job killer for Americans. This is a job creator. We should be more concerned about what types of jobs we allow out and at what point. It’s not a simple problem and it’s one that won’t regulate itself. We need to be less naïve about what experts tell us. When we see jobs leaving that don’t make sense then we should put pressure on our representatives. Are the jobs leaving for the right reasons? Or are jobs leaving simply as a cost savings wrapped in a beautiful red bow of expert language that spins it into some other elusive, complex reason that nobody can understand.

Coming Next-Part Four: Hard Work

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reinvigorating the American Brand Part 2 of 20

Global Resources

I’m taking this one right from teachings of Thomas Freedman He visited Portland recently to discuss the “environmental/green” movement. Something that really resonated with me was how this was being defined in America. He said that by calling it the “green” movement we make the whole thing elusive and unfocussed. It’s a good point. What does green really mean? Recycling? Car Pooling? Localization? In his world travels one of the things that scared him most was that more and more people around the world are consuming resources like American’s. We know there are finite resources and this is unsustainable in the long run—it will cause political struggle and environmental impact in massive ways. What really matters is who leads the charge in renewable energy. The country that makes it efficient and affordable will become a global leader well into the future. It will be our next economic bull run and its reach will be global. This is an area where we need focus. Our entire system is based on petroleum right now. Every car, every product moved and every e-mail sent. Fluctuations in petroleum price cause fluctuations in our entire economy. If we find renewable energy EVERYTHING as we know it will advance rapidly. We will be able to travel further, compute more—everybody globally gets more. The social, economic and political impact of this one thing would far outweigh any other single thing we can do in the “green/sustainability/environmental” space. It’s very important that we continue to keep pressure on our representatives to move scientific investment dollars into the area—we need to be loud about this. This doesn’t mean we need to stop focusing on other environmental issues but we need to ensure this issue stays 100% in focus and prioritized. The country that figures this out will advance beyond all of our wildest dreams. We want that to be America.

Coming Next-Part Three: American Jobs

Sunday, July 12, 2009

America 3.0

20 Steps to Reinvigorate the America Brand

Why even write about this? Well I’m in recruiting and people in recruiting get to see a very sobering view of the economy. When it’s up we see millions of lives changed positively, people getting new jobs they love, making money and further fueling the system. When it’s down we see the exact opposite. These cycles will exist no matter what but the long term health of the economy ensures that the lows aren’t too low and the highs are built on substance and not fluff. And all of this depends on our collective health. And our Nations health depends on how we exercise our collective minds and bodies. We have let this go a bit and it’s time to get healthy again and stay healthy for the long run. This is as much about recruiting as it is the health of our entire system. If we want to be a high performing, winning country in the long run we got to think big now. It’s time to reinvigorate our American brand.

This is a longer read but I hope you take the time read it, comment on it and share it with friends if you feel it’s worthy. We have moved into an era of instant gratification and sound bite information. The news gives us very little depth these days. Leaders want everything delivered in high level sound bites. The answers to a strong American brand cannot be delivered in simple sound bites though. I have narrowed the solutions down to a list of twenty. I could easily break each solution down into far greater depth but I would rather hear your feedback, comments and additional solutions if you have them. As you read this you may ask why the American brand is reliant on so many things. Like any great brand EVERYTHING matters, EVERYTHING. This list is not exhaustive. These are just the top line items that I believe can have big impact in positively affecting our brand. I would like to add to it though as other ideas come in from you.

The America brand stands for a place where all men and women are created equal and where we can all live out our dreams—put simply, our single differentiating factor is FREEDOM. If you take brand strategy into account we do a lot of things right. We have a single differentiator--Freedom. We tend to infuse this message into everything we communicate as a Nation. We have what brand experts call strong alignment. This means we align everything we communicate to this single differentiating factor. And we use strong design, symbolism and multi-media to ensure nobody else’s brand is confused with ours. The website is a strong example of this. Differentiation, Alignment and Linkage are the fundamentals of strong brand strategy. So where do we fall short? How come our brand has been negatively impacted as of late? With brand strategy you are trying to influence two things, choice and expectation. You are born into America and you can choose to stay or leave. If you immigrate to America you make the choice to live here. Once you are here your expectations are either met or they are not. Earlier I said that we infuse our brand positioning into everything we communicate. A brand needs to also be authentic—you need to say and DO what the brand represents. Notice the words I chose earlier. I said we communicate or SAY this message. The challenge now is the authenticity of the message. You can’t just add a veneer and call it good. I believe this is where we have fallen short as of late. When I say, as of late, I mean the last 40 years and it’s been a gradual shift which makes the core issues more difficult to pinpoint. The challenge with this is that it’s not just a marketing problem which we have more than enough experts who can help us with this (and the government does hire PR firms and marketers to assist with the America image). What we have instead is a true organizational issue. When you are looking at issues you need to ask if it’s a communications problem, a business problem or both. I believe it’s a bit of both but it has become more of a true business problem as of late (I’m using the term business and applying it to government). Our actions as a country are not aligning with our brand positioning. It would be like Starbucks saying we always get your order right and then only getting it right one out of five times. Very quickly you are going to stop believing them. This is the issue we are up against as a Nation and it’s more difficult to fix than a communications problem. It can be done though. I’m going to attempt to shed some light on these core issues and offer up suggestions. The first step is awareness.

When you are born in America it’s easy to take the American brand for granted. I know I have many times in my life. As of late I’ve seen many reminders of what America stands for though—this is what motivated me to write this series. One recent reminder for me was from one of my ex-colleagues. She is from Iran and now lives in the United States. She told me that she is amazed that people don’t understand what they have here and she is grateful for every day she lives in this country. She went on to say that it’s hard to put into words what not having freedom feels like on a day to day basis. She said she used to be stopped in the street in Iran because a few strands of hair were hanging outside her hijab (veil) and she was told to fix it immediately. I also recently heard a radio interview with a French Professor who also now lives in the US. He said it’s time American’s remember what is so great about this country. He said he lived in France but is here for a reason. He went on to say that we, as American’s, have amazed the world once again with electing our first Black President. Never could he imagine this happening in France. This made me really think. I have friends on every side of the spectrum and I have heard all of the good, bad and ugly points about our country. But these stories reminded me that we have far more good to offer. We can reinvigorate the American brand. We can bring authenticity back to America and give it more luster and shine than it has eve had. How do we do this though?

We need to look at how the American brand was first built and how it became great. We were a vast land populated by Native American’s for thousands of years. We were a beautiful, vast continent with people who lived in harmony with the land. Then a combination of greed and power drove governments of Europe to fund exploration of far away lands. This coupled with adventurers who needed to find new uncharted places (I would hope I would have fallen into this camp back then) created the perfect breading ground for finding this new world—and it was found. Then people who could not live out their dreams in their home countries, persecuted for their beliefs and values, started off for this new world, to live new, free lives. There were of course power struggles early on up until the Revolution where the free world prevailed and the United States of America was formed. We had a melting pot of ideologies and beliefs and we struggled through them over 100’s of years—brought together by the foundation our forefathers put in place. Goodness prevailed in the end and we continued to advance as a society. At our peak was the Kennedy era, civil rights movement and a society willing to stand up for those that could not stand up for themselves, no matter what the cost. This generation was raised by what we call the greatest generation of all. They were the World War II generation. This group knew what struggle was; what hard work meant and understood that their word was everything. To fully understand what this generation sacrificed for us watch the beach seen in Saving Private Ryan and put yourself there. Capitalism and Democracy proved to be a global force to be reckoned with and its influences were spreading virally at this point. The past several generations worked very hard to preserve this. Our most recent generations, the X’ers (my generation) and the Y’ers tend to be more self critical, less confined by continents and governments and more lenient towards a culture of sharing. The X’ers and Y’ers have grown up with the most advanced communications vehicles in history and we have access to more information than any generation before us. We are also the most open to diversity and heavily focused on sustainable living. We can focus on these things because we have been given the foundation and wealth from the generations before us to have this luxury. I call it a luxury because in countries where this wealth does not exist people are focused on feeding their families, not the factory down the street polluting the environment. We have had and continue to have the DNA as a society to be a great Nation. So we have a brand position and we have the people to carry it through—where then does it break down. This is where simple sound bites don’t help and pop psychology solutions fail. The answer is complex but I’m going to attempt to dissect it. America has succeeded over and over again and now it is our time to once again make our indelible mark on history and create the next millennium of the great American brand.

Part one:

Conservative vs. Liberal—We need to move away from this battle as a Nation. This whole red vs. blue states, bible belts vs. tree huggers, conservatives vs. liberals. Differing points of view are always going to exist in America—this is not going away so we need to learn a new way forward. Disliking the other side is bad for the American brand. Let’s learn to disagree peacefully. This should be an area where we have learned from the mistakes of our past. Our country was populated by people who escaped religious persecution in other countries. They came here so they could practice their beliefs in peace. Freedom of belief applies to all religions though—Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Christian Scientists and all lesser known religions that the mainstreams tend to call cults. Everybody has the right to their own belief system and that is what this country was founded on. And non believers have the right to not believe. The sides should be able to disagree but should avoid disrespect. We are all Americans. We know this division does not advance us as people and yet we revert back to disrespect especially during times of difficult debate. We need to be careful not to be split by politicians and interest groups with agendas that use dividing arguments to get us to take sides. These are the abortion, choice, gay marriage, etc. issues. We are never going to fully agree on these things; we aren’t going to magically convince the other side to change their minds. We need to accept these differences and instead look at what we do agree on. By doing this we advance versus stay in a perpetual cycle of argument without progression. There are many groups out there that would like us to stay in this state because it’s profitable for them or advances their own agendas. In business they teach us to give constructive feedback and not make it personal. We need to learn to do the same when we have differing points of view as Americans. Make your argument, back it up with facts but don’t make it personal. When we hear leaders and interest groups disrespect other groups, religions, ideologies we need to call them out on it—it’s okay to disagree but disrespect halts progress. One more point on this topic. Our forefathers separated church and state for a reason. This needs to be upheld. I realize many will argue you can’t really make this separation. Yes, you can. I would argue that it may feel perfectly okay to you as long as your religion is represented. If this line is not clearly drawn though one day a group will come into power that is not your religion and they will push their agenda—then it won’t feel okay to you anymore. This separation exists so you CAN freely practice your own beliefs and not someone else’s. We need to honor and protect this separation.

Coming Next-Part Two: Global Resources

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Now I have on my iPhone too...this is a powerful social networking tool; impressed!
Trying out for the first time--updating Twitter, FB, MySpace, LinkedIn & Blogger all at the same time. Here it goes!

Ultimate Workout Mix

I get bored very quickly with music so I have to constantly change up my workout mix which is an essential part of my routine. A great mix can increase my performance two or three fold. A good beat gives me the extra energy to lift harder or run longer. I'm constantly looking for new tunes to keep myself going. So I thought I would share my most recent mix in hopes that someone will share their mix with me. I have to admit my genre for working out has to be fast, high energy. I typically like club mixes, hip hop, dance, electronic, etc., for working out. I like a lot of genres of music but when I'm in the gym I need this style. If you have similar taste please share your favorite tunes.

Here is my latest workout mix:

  • Punkbitch by 3oh3
  • I can't Do it Alone by 3oh3
  • Don't Trust Me by 3oh3
  • Richman by 3oh3
  • 20 Dollar by MIA
  • Fire Burning The Dancefloor by Sean Kingston
  • That's Not My Name by the Ting Tings
  • Shut Up and Let Me Go by the Ting Tings
  • Feel the Beat by Darude
  • Battleflag by Low Fidelity Allstars
  • Foundations by Kate Nash (I know, weird one but I think this is my wife's theme song for me)
  • You Sping Me Right Round by Flo Rider
  • Still D.R.E by Dr. Dre (I know old school--like to reset my pallet with old school Dre)
  • Party and Bullshit by Ratatat (Ratatat Remix of Biggie Smalls Song)
  • The Hand That Feeds by Nine Inch Nails
  • Poker Face by Lady Gaga (Okay, this one is lame but it has a great beat for running)
  • Dance Mix by DJ Danny D
I have some others in my mix but I'm too embarrassed to admit what they are. I'll start with this in hopes others will share some killer beats I can add to my mix.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Germany to Vegas to Portland

What a ride! The last few months have been like setting up your cube in the center of a Nine Inch Nails concert and head banging while researching, building strategies, presenting, facilitating, touring, fixing issues, recruiting, pitching, project managing etc. Just non-stop action! And I wouldn't have it any other way...and in between all of this spending time with the fam, friends and keeping up with my voracious reading habit!...

I don't understand people with quiet lives. Not that I have anything against them I just couldn't imagine my life like that. Calmly going to work at the same time everyday, leaving at the same time, eating dinner at the same time. Just doing your job and not making noise or pissing off a person or two in order to push the status quo. I think I would cease to live at that point--so instead...

I took on 3 massive projects...

Global Career Site: Launching one of the most state of the art corporate career sites in the world on June 15th--has taken a year and a half to build, Global collaboration, massive stakeholder buy-in, athlete and employee coordination, thousands of lines of copy editing, CI reviews, etc. Hundreds of hours, early morning calls to Germany and late nights have gone into this. Worth it? Every second of it. Why? Because it's not just doing a job but helping build a top organization. That is satisfying!

Project Managed US Engagement Survey and Action Committees: Launched and Marketed survey to 3000 employees, Collaborated with our global vendor and project managers from other regions, identified demographic breakdown, worked with leadership to communicate results and helped launch action committees as well as participating on the Careers action committee. Coordinating findings with global colleagues to build consistency in how we address engagement. Worth it? Every Second. Why? Getting feedback first hand from our workforce is empowering. Working to build a top organization through engagement is priceless.

Rebuilding US Onboarding Experience: Working with a project manager to rebuild our US onboarding experience. Why? Because the first project is to bring in the best and the brightest people, the second project is to ensure they are engaged and high performing while they are here, and onboarding ensures they get connected to the organization in the right way, from the beginning. Onboarding isn't a day signing up for benefits but an experience overtime to connect employees with the organization, the brand and their team. Worth it? Without a doubt. Why? Because I manage recruiting but recruiting alone doesn't build top organizations and I view the role of recruiting as organization builders--not role fillers.

But wait...there is also the day job:

--Filling positions
--Building Pipelines
--Building out Web 2.0 and Advertising/Marketing Strategies
--Participating in Management Development Program
--Building Microsites
--Fixing and Developing New Recruitment Processes
--Participating in Best Employer PR Strategy
--Giving Feedback on eRecruiting Strategy and Tactics
--Pulling Metrics for Leadership when needed
--Helping Manage Affirmative Action planning
--Participating in Global HR Engagement Action Team
--Just got back from Vegas--Speaking Event at Recruiting Conference
--Recently back from Germany; presentations to 7 countries
--Facilitated Root Cause analysis session for internal team
--Hosted multiple Universities and Tours over the past few months
--Working on a couple of partnerships and class visits with key universities

I'm sure I'm missing a few but I'll save those for a future post..

Worth every hour put into it? Yes!!!!

You live once and you get to the impact the world once....I wouldn't give it up for anything.

So...that's what's going on in my world at adidas these days. We do a lot but then again...I can be churning on widgets on a confabulator and watching the clock everyday. Not in this lifetime!

Impossible is Nothing!

Friday, February 13, 2009

What's Going On at adidas These Days?!?!

First of's a big weekend for adidas. Check out Dwights invite....

Click Here!

And it's been a little over a year and a half since I've started at adidas....and I'm still waking up ever single day and getting ready for my next win!

If you were to visit my office you would see our Impossible is Nothing mantra written across one wall. You would also see a life size wall picture of Mohamed Ali, a lighted Originals globe and wall banner, and many other adidas Sport Performance and Sports Style artifacts. You can’t help to be consumed by the brand when you have first hand visibility into what it represents.

When I started at adidas and told people I work here I would hear all kinds of stories. People would tell me about their first pair of adidas or recall one of their early childhood sporting events where they wore adidas product. One technology vendor told me that he used to breakdance on cardboard boxes wearing adidas Superstars. When I was recruiting and conducting interviews I started looking forward to hearing about people’s connection with the brand and hearing their stories.

About a year into my role an employee from our Germany Headquarters was visiting and presented on the history of our organization. He is someone that has been with the organization for a while and traveled all over the world. He also had the opportunity to speak with many people that actually had worked directly with adi Dassler. He told us how adi would fill a bag with shoes, throw it over his shoulders and pass them out to athletes at sporting events. Those must have been the days! That same spirit lives on today.

Last....and important announcement went out this week. adidas Group has made the list of the worlds 100 most sustainable companies. This is our 5th time in a row making it on the list. If you are interested you can read more about it here:

So in at adidas is great!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Burning Man Meets Recruiting

Recruitfest is on and it's going down in Vegas this year!  I haven't been to one yet but I know Jason Davis and the first thing that comes to mind is Burning Man meets recruiting.  

I do know that the seed of Recruitfest was born from Jeff Hunters Talentunconference.  This was a grassroots gathering of recruiting professionals and leaders.  Instead of traditional presentations the focus was on learning organically from one another.  Jeff hosted the event at Electronic Arts.  If you ever get a chance to tour their facility you'll find that it definitely stimulates the right side of the brain, and so did this event.  Traditional thinking and old paradigms were thrown out and many new, innovative ideas were born.

Jason has evolved this concept with Recruitfest.  It's a smaller, more intimate conference but from what I hear it tends to attract some of the industries die hards as well as newcomers that want to learn, share and push the boundaries of our field.  

I had the honor of being invited to facilitate one of the sessions at Recruitfest.  I couldn't be more thrilled.  This setting allows me to learn and grow as much as it allows me to share.  Brand building has been a major focus and passion of mine and I'll be leading a session on how to leverage it's power for recruiting.  Some of the ideas I'm thinking about are:
  • Reverse Engineering Product Marketing to Build Powerful Recruitment Advertising Campaigns.
  • Recruitment Market Segmentation--Doing it the Marketing Pros Way
  • Understanding Difference in Kind versus Difference in Degree
  • And....?????
If you are intrigued by the event I highly recommend you check it out.  Just click on Recruitfest if you want to learn more or register for the event.  

I hope to see you there!