Leaning Out, Summer Parties, and a Bad Report Card for Talent Managers

Some thoughts, advice and questions for a midsummer day.

  • Corporate directors give talent managers an “F.” The Harvard Business Review is reporting that corporate directors give talent managers failing grades. Yep, big fat F’s, according to researchers who surveyed more than 1,000 corporate directors and asked them to fill out a corporate report card. What will Mom and Dad say when we get home? While agreeing there is much work to do in our field, particularly in aligning talent strategy with business strategy, this has me riled up. Why don’t we have talent managers grade corporate directors? Plenty of directors are clueless as to what goes on in talent management; the most important input they ever offer is answering “red” or “white” at the quarterly dinner. Get down in the trenches and see what is going on in our companies and you might change your mind, directors. Or read talentmgt.com instead of Golf Digest. F MINUS for you! There, I got that off my chest.
  • Lean Out. Am I the only one getting a wee case of Sheryl Sandberg fatigue? Apparently, she is now the final word for women and work. My daughter even took over this blog to sing her praises a few weeks ago. And had more clicks than I ever do! The problem, according to a recent New York Times poll, is that most women (and men) don’t want the additional responsibility the Sandberg-istas tell us to push for. We just want some time off.
  • Don’t be a crashing bore at the summer party. Just like during Christmas season, overly earnest webmiesters are offering advice to department newbies and summer interns on how not to blow your career at the summer outing. You know, don’t drink, avoid saying anything remotely interesting, stay away from the boss’s daughter. The usual stuff. The problem is, IT IS ALL WRONG! (except maybe the stuff about the boss’s daughter). This is your chance to stand out. Unless the boss is a total zero, he or she probably wants to let the ol’ hair down a bit on the company nickel and get to know a few of you better. Show your personality! Have fun and take advantage of the time to make a memorable impression. I mean, don’t throw down a pitcher of gin fizzes and blab about your devotion to Zoran the Sun God, but be yourself.
  • LinkedIn “endorsement etiquette.” I assume many of you are on LinkedIn, the career-oriented social media site. If so, can you help me? When I am endorsed for a certain skill I may or may not have, by someone who I may or may not actually know, am I supposed to return the favor? How? Take a wild guess (which is what I will be doing unless I have ACTUALLY WORKED with the person endorsing me)? And what if the endorsement they give me is something of an insult? You know what I mean, if you pride yourself on your “charismatic leadership style” and you are endorsed for “cubicle cleanliness” instead. Reductionist, isn’t it? Help me here, dear readers.

Now, I am going to “lean out” and head down to Buenos Aires for an anniversary vacation. I am told it is winter down there, but I have no clue how that would work, so I’ll believe it when I see it. Thanks for reading, and have fun at the summer party. I want some good stories.