Leadership Lessons from Les Mis

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season, and wish a prosperous 2013 for all.  I gave myself the gift of distance for the past couple weeks – distance from work and social media…down time.  Very nice.

Another gift was seeing Les Mis – twice!  Being a fan of the stage, I was skeptical about the casting in the movie, but it was perfect. Yet neither the stage nor the movie tells the full story of Monsieur Madeleine – le nom de Jean ValJean while in Montreuil-sur-mer where he is the town’s Mayor and the master of vast workshops that employed the townspeople of the village.  I found a leadership lesson in the pages of Victor Hugo’s description of what happened after M. Madeleine confessed to being ValJean and disappeared. (more…)

Connecting an (HR) Disconnect

Back in the 1980s, I thought HR was disconnected. At that time, I was starting out in compensation, writing job descriptions (yippee). This was back in the days of point-factor evaluation plans where details of what the job did, what/who it was responsible for and how it influenced in the organization determined the salary grade and pay level.  Job descriptions were pretty standard, and a quick look at shrm.org says they haven’t changed much….identification data, general purpose, duties, tasks, functions, qualifications/KSAs, special requirements, ADA information.

I didn’t quite “get” the purpose of job descriptions back then (it may have been because I really didn’t like to write them). But it seemed that they were written, graded and stuffed in a drawer never to be looked at again until someone wanted the job upgraded. (more…)

Whose job is it to develop talent?

We all know the research.  Gallup says that people leave their leader, not the organization.  Harvard Business Review says that, above all, top talent wants the opportunity to grow.  The American Society for Training & Development estimates that U.S. organizations spent about $171.5 billion on employee learning and development in 2010.

Learning drives performance in innumerable ways.  Employees are better skilled to do their jobs.  They are more committed because they are more productive and engaged.  So how do employees really learn?

Attending a class to learn important content is a good way to learn a new skill or gain knowledge.  (more…)