Category Archives: michael specht

Back to the #HRFutures PART 1


I was lucky enough to attend Michael Specht’s first #HRFutures conference in Melbourne this last week, it was an event to explore the use and/or need for companies or corporates to embrace the web2.0 or Enterprise2.0 in this new millennium. A road map if you will on how to embrace this technology, bringing it away from being the playground of Gen Y’s and Bloggers to mainstream corporations.

After starting this, I have decided that there is too much to say for one blog post. This will be the first in a series from me.

This conference was attended by HR and Recruitment professionals from around the country from wide ranging backgrounds. Internal HR teams from Government institutions, Healthcare, Research facilities as well as Job board owners and Recruitment Agency hot shots, even the odd Internal Recruitment person. Thought leaders in the Australian HR/Recruitment industry, maybe, but as labelled on Twitter, definitely a smattering of the Australian Recruiting mafia. Some of the most engaged and contributing people in the Australian HR/Recruiting Web community. It was a great bunch to mix with, it was impossible not to learn from just being in their presence.

The conference was kicked off with Stephen Collins (AKA @Trib) enlightening all there about his experiences at TED. Stephen was a person I was following on Twitter, not because of anything really, just because he was linked to a number of people I really respected. Now, I will religiously read his tweets (even if they are about the Rugby Union) and add his blog to one of my “must reads” on my blog roll. See Stephen’s version here

TED as depicted by Stephen was an inspiration. Stephen’s delivery was engaging and confident, obviously someone you want to listen to. One of the main messages I took from @Trib presentation was the need to engage, collaborate, trust and motivate your people. The need to be PRESENT where ever you are, not to just turn up and do the day to day. Be present in the moment, focus on what you are to achieve, personally, professionally and corporately. If you are there for someone else, BE THERE for them, his illustration of having the whole group sing “Happy Birthday” is definitely an eye opener. Proving it doesn’t matter how well you sing as long as you are there for someone (ie YOU), good or bad the effort given will be worth it for that person!

He spoke of how, even through these tough economic times, the people at TED were remarkably passionate and driven to make a difference. They were aware that now is a time of massive cultural change across the world.. and they wanted to be part of it. Terms such as it’s time for a “Global re-boot”, the “curse of business as usual”, working where “practical wisdom is a guide (not policy)”.

Going over my notes, today, I think the best thing about Stephen’s presentation was the fact that it made me think, and how I could implement these ideas into my organisation. There are so many jotted notes all around my page of things I need to explore, or questions I need to ask, or things I just must implement at my company. that is the sign of a great presentation to me.

Ideas of Leadership v Management
A shared vision
Give trust, get trust
Foster creativity (the market has moved from a focus of making things to creating things)
Removing “Dumbplexity” loved that term. (in other words, making things happen! not meetings for meetings sake, be decisive, cut down silo’s and walls)
Connect, engage your people’s networks
Allow failure, encourage it (favorite analogy, Thomas Edison made 1000 light globes before one lit up)
Allow conversations, collaborations build your corporate community.

Imagine, Re-imagine, Think, Re-Think.

If this presentation doesn’t get you champing at the bit to go and make a huge difference to your company, or the world… well, I don’t understand you. Thanks Stephen.

The focus them came to the practicalities of implementing such a thing, with Sean Liew (@sean_liew on twitter) BearingPoint giving us a real life view of how he and BearingPoint have engaged with this technology to enhance their business and their business offerings to their clients. This also resonated with me as the BearingPoint model can relate to mine relatively easily.

His journey with their Wiki, showed the need for such technology in an organisation, and the fact that employees crave such a thing. The wiki was implemented from a practical need to make his life easier when working on tender documentation in a collaborative manner. It was just too time consuming to continually download these 200 pages documents every time someone made a little change. Bottom line results…. within one year this corporate wiki had 24,151 unique visitors, 117,000 visitors and over 1,000,000 page views. If that doesn’t illustrate that people are craving such involvement and collaboration, I’m not sure what does. Presentation slides found here

A quote stood out for me in this presentation.

A companies “ability to learn faster than it’s competition may be the only was for sustainable competitive advantage” (Peter Serge MIT)

This really resonated with me, and will be the crux of my message when I next meet with my Management team.

This was all before morning tea…. I will continue this series later on, let me assure you the other presenters were equally thought provoking.

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You have nothing to fear but the PHONE itself


Has the Internet killed phone skills?

Does social networking limit the need for actual contact?

In short… NO!

I have been sitting on this for a while, brief communication with Michael Specht and a recent article by Maren Hogan really did push a few buttons for me, and made me feel a little guilty.

Social Networking, those magical sites that everyone is talking about.. you know.. the Facebook.com’s, the Linkedin.com’s, the MySpaces, great for recruiting right? How can you not make a bucket load of money just by using those sites alone… (if you believe all the hype)… Passive candidates found on these sites are way better that those that end up in your inbox from ad response.. in fact why bother posting ads to these job boards? it’s all about the candidates found in these sites. Isn’t it? (please detect tongue in cheek here). If you spend enough money on the right tool, spend enough time trawling these sites, In-mailing, IMing, DMing people will fill all your vacancies! Woo hoo… what have we been doing all this time? How did this world turn pre social networking?

What has happened to the phone?
I think this little bit of technology, which has been around forever, well long enough to not be considered new, is still the KEY to successful recruiting. I recruited pre email, pre websites, pre job boards, and you know what? I was able to do my job and make money… truly! serious! I may sound it, but I’m actually not that old! not even 35 yet, and yes I have recruited without these tools.

I got on the phone! I face to face networked, spoke to anyone and everyone… had a bucket load of business cards and kept a database (not a CRM, an ATS or any other acronym).

I mentioned at the start I was feeling guilty about things.. what you may ask? I find myself at times being seduced by this new technology, (iphones, blackberries etc don’t help, bringing all your Internet, email etc with you everywhere you go) and ignoring the phone. Sending inmails on Linkedin, or just dropping emails to people… I sometimes placate myself with the idea that this is passive headhunting.. you know.. “if they aren’t interested then they just delete the email”, but basically it is lazy, and honestly doesn’t have the best results.

The best results have come from finding names, picking up the phone and finding a way to have a conversation with someone. It’s scary for people I know! When I was selling I had to really work myself up to it at the start.. lots of caffeine, hold my breathe and dial… (kind of sounds like when I was in high school, trying to ask a girl out)

However I went to a training course, from “sales guru” back in 1997, and whilst most of the session didn’t do much for me and I couldn’t find the interest to buy his audio tapes (remember them kids?) there was one bit that stuck in my mind about picking up the phone to strangers. What’s the worse they can say? “NO!” yeah and……….? If it takes you 4 phone calls to make a dollar, then every time someone says no, you smile think to yourself “Thanks for the 25 cents!”. Man that was powerful for me. This ideal, kept me on the phone. (in fact in my latest role, when I first started, I got questioned about the spike in the phone bill! That was great validation, especially when I could point at the record number of new hires.)

Now you may not have to do what I’ve heard of people doing in days gone by… I heard of people taping the phone received to their hand and wouldn’t let themselves be undone until X amount of calls were made, and no I don’t believe in boiler room style calling.

Confidence comes in the preparation (but don’t use doing lots and lots of research and excuse not to get on the phone. Yes that’s easy enough to do! Guilty your honour) You do need to do your research, qualify, whether it be for client or candidates, know what you want to say, or what message you need to get across. I don’t believe in scripts, as you have to engage in the conversation, however you need something to gain their interest nice and early, just like at the start of an advertisement. You need to have knowledge about the subject, and a compelling reason for them to talk to you. Once the conversation is started, all the fear will disappear.. trust me… 🙂 I twittered someone on this recently, my comment “just like getting into a cold pool. A deep breath and dive on in.. once done, it can’t be undone, gets easier from there. promise”

Just in case you are still scared of picking up that phone… in the dozen years or so, I can count on 1 hand the amount of times people have been truly rude to me.

It could be your differentiator, “WOW you’re a real person, not just an email address.”