Are You as Motivated as a 5th Grader?


I am a self-proclaimed HR Blog addict. As a tried and true ENFP I love people and reading about personal interaction. Probably should have majored in HR. But, my creative side called and instead I make things that HR uses to help people engage and interact. Aside from my blog addiction I can’t help but apply what I read about engagement, leadership, motivation and psychology into real-world opportunities, situations and circumstance. So I write this post really to toss out questions to my readers.


I have a middle schooler this year. You know the guy. Pre-pubecent awkwardness is peeking out from my sweet elementary school child. And it usually comes in a form of “Do I have to do that?” or “Not, now.” or “I’ll take care of that later. Let me finish this game I’m playing on my DS.” You have read the research and seen the national test results. The middle school achievement dip is real and it is all aligned with normal childhood development. I get that. But, since we have turned the corner to middle school I feel I am dragging my child through the necessities of life that create a productive citizen. I know I’m not alone.

Generally my child is  good student. As a proud parent I would say he is above average. Where we struggle and fall is in organization and lack of applying himself in a rigorous fashion. While he might make A’s and B’s on tests and know the material it is hard to recover from missing homework, zeros and incomplete assignments and forgotten test dates that decimate grade point averages. So we lumber on, leaving a trail of forgotten music instruments and wallets and phones. Where is the motivation to pull it together?

We cheer lead and encourage. I share tips and list-making advice. I enforce the buckle-down to study. And we try to implore a sense of hope that not all is lost when the homework goes missing. But, motivation can be lost when the ridged structure of school comes crashing down on a curious child whose distractions infect his organizational health. We are not ADD, we are a boy in middle school.

Teacher Motivation Training Needed

So my question, are there programs, consultants or systems a school district or PTO can adopt or even contract to send their teachers to motivation training? Teaching is more than putting out the academic requirements for a grade. It is about being able to motivate a child to learn it. Yeah, that old adage “You can lead a horse to water but, you can’t make him drink.” Well, that certainly applies to middle school learning.

Academics are lost if the ability to motivate is misunderstood or undeserved. I’m looking for a motivational program that can be taught to middle school teachers (grades 5-8) that can be applied to keep the learning fire lit under middle school students so they aren’t “left behind.” And I’ll keep doing my part at home to motivate. Playing hooky is not an option. Anyone have any ideas?

photo credit:



Have Yourself a Social HR Christmas

Have yourself a Social HR Christmas,
Make change management gay,
From now on,
old school structure will be miles away.

Here we are avoiding olden days,
Happy behavior change days of yore.
Faithful office mates who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Have yourself a Social HR Christmas,
Let your talent gap be okay,
From now on,
job displacement will be miles away.

Here we are with happy pay days,
Happy quantifiable days of yore.
Faithful job descriptions who are dear to us
Gather a paper trail once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the social network allows
Klout a shining star upon a follower now.
And have yourself a Social HR Holiday. Wow!

This holiday post is brought to you by Project Social. Thank you for a great year of blogging. Please check out the blogs of my encouraging, supportive Project Social partners: Dave at “HR Official” and Laura at “Working Girl” as well as founder Victorio Millan . And may you all have a great holiday. @designtwit

Still shopping? The Ultimate HR Pro’s Bacon Gift Guide

Photo by @designtwit


Okay HR, Time for Social to Pay

Many of you know my back story. I fell into social media back in 2009. Like most HR vendors I searched out the market I sell to. But, what transpired in that search did not exactly lead directly to my customer. Late night tweets, revolutionary think-tank mentality and conference meet-ups changed how I understand and interact with my customer and how I understand social media as a tool for business. Social media is here to stay and businesses are begging for help to manage an ever-growing segment of business communication. People ask me how we do it all the time.

A Harvard Business Review post talked about social media trends for 2012 and named HR in the trend set. Specifically “gamafication” was mentioned when developing systems for employee motivation and the “cult of influence” which is a well documented success at Zappos, influencing employee performance, retention and brand cheer leading. I have personally witnessed HR and marketing careers totally transformed by social media. The HR think-tank twitter mentally of 2009 has morphed into 2011 defining and applying usefulness for social media in recruiting, personal branding, incentive strategies, work-place policy, labor relations, employee behavior, employee performance and corporate community management.

Social media is a communication tool. A tool that must be learned. A process that must be implemented and managed. Networks grow. They don’t just appear. And they must be sustained or they will fade away.

HR is Changing. Be the Trend Setter.

Social Media-minded HR professionals now is the time to seize the moment. Don’t get caught in an “HR Spring” of social media risk mitigation. You are on the cutting edge to create best practices in your organization with regards to social media across business segments. But, it is up to you to help define those best practices. Here is great stats post by “Blogging 4 Jobs” on how HR is using social media. How is social media migrating into your business or organization? Do you know? And are you ready to go outside of HR to find out?

Help your employees become empowered by social media to push the best of your business. Give them the rules, the expectations, tell them about reputation pitfalls and guide them to wise use personally and professionally. Shape every employee as walking customer service reps and brand ambassadors. I feel the Coca Cola Company has it going on. I’m sure there are other great company policies out there as well. Educate yourself now. Small businesses are clamoring for consulting advice. I feel every law firm and HR policy firm needs a passionate social media consultant to advise them before social media policy is written. A good policy needs to be guided by the tool’s usefulness not just the tool’s risk. There is no one-size-fits-all social media plan. It must be evaluated based on the individual business market and community culture.

Okay, So you Wanna Get Paid?!

I have had the pleasure of meeting some pretty smart business people online through social media. Typically I find them engaged, driven people, fueled by personal interaction and the online methods that connect them to niche markets and professional fields of practice. These are the golden natural abilities that make them skilled social media users.  I also believe this economy has pushed people online to network and find their customer or find a job. And as networks grow, so does the complexity of managing that network and understanding how to leverage it to help your career skills or the business you work for. As of late, a trend has emerged with several in my online HR network. They are figuring out how to take all of this social media experience to the next level and make it part of their job.

Here is the question I get. How can I get someone to pay me for social media consulting?

My answer: tell your network and hang out the shingle. Tell people what you do. Describe your social media management services. Own it. Tell them the results you expect to give them. But, you have to decide your niche. Do you cross over into marketing? Law? Recruiting? Customer service? Training? I’m not talking about helping a company set up a twitter or Facebook account. Any monkey can do that. I’m talking about helping a company understand how to use the tools effectively to engage, educate, broadcast, listen, collaborate, participate and build community relationships. And please help them understand why these things matter even if they do not lead directly to sales. I can tell you they do lead indirectly. Online reputation matters. Much in the same way brand awareness works to help your customer remember you or refer you when they, or someone they know, are in need of your products or services.

Here is another reason why social is important and why you should be getting paid to help businesses. It may not be as important to the C-suite but, it is important to customers, specifically those under 40. Why? If you do not have a social footprint you are distrusted and seen as behind, out of step with the marketplace. Does business want their brand unreachable and un-engageable in the world of smart phones and Facebook?

So write your business plan and publish basic pricing packages for your services. Do I know what to charge? No idea. But, charging anything is more than some of you are making now in social media. So put prices out there to see what the market will bear. Looking for a promotion at work? Pitch your social media contribution. What are you waiting on? Spell out the value your knowledge brings to the table and show how to apply it. Then send an invoice.

There is real opportunity out there. But there are pitfalls. Looking at the consultant track? The hurtle: most of those needing to buy your services are not using social media. And they may not even be in HR. There lies the catch. They know it is important. But, you are going to have to market more conventionally to find them. I think we are still ahead of the curve here. I think there are very few full time in-house social media/community manager positions. But, that is changing. So make your plan. Where are you going to fit your skills? The other pitfall: describing the results of your consult or plan. Be ready to educate against the myth that social clicks lead directly to sales and be ready to explain why social still matters as an indirect reason for sales.  (See: un-Google-able, un-tweetable, un-engageable.)

Social Media is Not Yo’ Mama’s HR Silo

In the end, I also feel those in HR need to understand the application of social media skills are a hybrid, some way out of the HR box. My business is a great hybrid example that has helped us survive this economy. We are not a trophy shop or a custom frame shop. We are a hybrid of custom framing, trophy shop, design firm, brand promotion and manufacturer of our products. If I was just a trophy shop we’d probably be long gone by now. And I am committed to my business. I am not a social media consultant. I just love to use it and blog about it. I need a referral list. I’d love to publish a list of HR professionals across the country ready to consult on social media. You know who you are. Some are out there doing it well. And I think there is room for more. Especially relative to industry expertise. Send me your info! Do you have info to send? I know you have the talent. I will tell people with a guest post on your blog!

New social technology application is not a nice neat package for your HR silo. You must see yourself as a trainer, a marketer, a policy enforcer, a user of technology to engage and communicate. Set your price, sell your services. Buyers are waiting. Your boss is hungry for new ideas. But, you have to be clear about a plan and spell out the results. Social relationships matter. It is the human in human resources. It is why HR needs to be a strategic player in social media. Step out of the silo and sell it.

Seriously, I would love to compile a list of professionals ready to market their HR social media consulting services to small and mid-size business. You know who you are. Contact me.


The Ultimate HR Pro’s Bacon Gift Guide


Cyber Monday has come and gone. But this bacon fan’s holiday shopping list is still long. I’m always looking for unique gifts for my friends and family. And bacon products are always fun to shop for. I have run across some pretty cool stuff in my online shopping search and thought I would share some of my favorites with you. Bacon Pennant Available on Prank Place.



Bacon Ornament
Bacon Freak is one of my favorite sites. And I could not pass up a bacon ornament. It was definitely a “one for you and one for me” kind of gift item. Available here.


Bacon Periodic Table Shirt

Yes, that is me posing silly at a Nashville Tech conference photo shoot. No cigars were smoked in the making of this image. But, I was asked constantly where I bought the shirt. You can have one too at the Royal Bacon Society Website.


Real Bacon, Real Gifting

My HR blogger pal Joan Ginsberg turned me on to Nueskes Bacon this year. The smoked bacon is supreme. It will fry up to a serious crisp and has a smoke flavor that would add depth to any recipe. Nueskes has a great selection of gift packs. It would be a more demure gift for the boss than the one pictured above.


Books Are Always a Great Gift

There are several bacon recipe books on the market. One that I have recently downloaded to my Kindle Reader is a foodie, gourmet cooking delight. There is no quick 30 min meal. You must be ready to cook with the love, detail and patience only allowed me on vacation and for special dinner parties.  “Seduced By Bacon” moves recipes from breakfast fare to dinner, vegetables and dessert. I always knew bacon could be for dessert. Some people say it is a vegetable Download it now!



Bacon Gift Wrap For Fun and Games

It is the season for giving. Sense of humor allowed. Find this and many other bacon items on  Archie McPhee. Why? Because everything is better wrapped in bacon.


Bacon Candy Canes

This one has been tweeted and shared a lot. Thanks Robin Schooling and a host of others who brought this jewel to my attention. Think had them! Popular! They are out of stock, so you might try Bacon Freak.


Bacon Bourbon Carmel Corn

If the taste memory of the popcorn at HRevolution in Chicago is a craving not to be denied, order some here.



Bacon Beer!

While we are plugging bacon we might as well plug beer. Craft beer is a great gift alternative to the perfunctory hostess gift bottle of wine. Seek advice from your local package store about the latest local bacon inspired brew in your area. They are popping up everywhere. Shout out to my Western NC Peeps with a recommendation for Pisgah Bacon Stout.  It is a seasonal beer with a hint of nutty and smoky.  If you can find it, it is gift worth remembering. Or check out this article on the 10 best beers for breakfast.



Bacon Vodka

It is actually called BAKON Vodka. Why not since we are onto alcohol gifts. I have had a version of this Bloody Mary in Austin, TX made with this bacon -infused Vodka. Genius. Well worth the effort to track down a bottle.



Bacon Platter

Lets not leave out household accessories. This little ditty might not go with the heirloom silver and Grandma’s china. I’d call it a statement piece. Archie McPhee will set you up.



Bacon Alarm Clock

In my product design world, this was a hot piece made by Matty Sallin, a graduate student at New York University. It is an engineered an alarm clock that cooks a slice of bacon in lieu of ringing a buzzer. Resume on this blog if you need a lead on design talent.


Bacon Lip Balm

For the stocking suffer or Hanukkah gift, this might make a fine choice. I think it is an easier sell than bacon flavored toothpaste.




Bacon Pancake Mix

If you already love syrup, pancakes and bacon together then why separate them? This gourmet pancake mix comes with the bacon already in the mix. And they don’t stop there. The mix also has chocolate chips in it. Whoa!


Esty Bacon

I encourage a key word bacon search of if you want the truly unique. I’m coveting bacon jewelery and decorator items. And I am always a sucker for art in a frame. Find this print at  The World Shop on Etsy. Since the print is sold without a frame, I’d say they need to visit my website and let us work up some contract framing options.


Happy holiday shopping HR bacon fans. I’m humbled you choose to read my little blog.


Business Challenge List-Making

It is Project Social time. Thank goodness for my team. Work has been busy. Motivation to blog comes easier when a topic presents itself like the one this week . “Top Challenges Businesses Face Today.”

Being in business for yourself is not for the faint of heart. Especially in these economic times. My point of view on this “challenge” topic is based on running a small business. I suspect I won’t find my list far off large corporate issues and struggles. I also wanted to take a broad stroke perspective, not just from the HR department. Because I feel HR needs to think in broader terms about business in order to understand how to impact it. I believe the list below is enough to bite off.

#1 Government Regulation

#2 Keeping up with Technological Advances

#3 Product Innovation

#4 From the point of view of my customers so it only counts as 1/2: Change Management

Advance and Innovate!

Number two and three are challenges but, they are challenges I love to face head on like a creative project. #2 and #3 are harder to advance in tough economic times. I make lots of lists and plans about how to tackle technology and innovation. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. And the solutions tend to ebb and flow based on cost analysis, employee feedback in the process, style trends and what my customer’s want. Some people might put “sales” as a challenge. But, as an ecommerce and personal selling business, if you are addressing #2 and #3 sales will come if your market audience is targeted enough.

But, do you have the talent pool ready to tackle challenge? Are your employees allowed time to really think about ways to innovate and advance technology? Or are they boxed in by fear of failure or profit loss or non billable, uncompensated time?

Challenge is what makes business fun if you are allowed to “make it work.”

Government Regulations

#1 is a thorn. Government regulation and the ever shifting sands of tax code is a big bad ugly monster. Something must give. The system is not working at all for small businesses that value taking care of their employees and working efficiently. I won’t go into the solution or politics. It is really about how these regulations are made, managed and implemented. Not that we don’t need regulations or taxes. I can certainly address examples of the problem. Healthcare is the other white meat of government scorn. I recently read a quote from Walmart’s President and CEO Lee Scott who admits, “In some of our states, the public health program may actually be a better value – with relatively high income limits to qualify, and low premiums.” [Transcript Lee Scott Speech, 5/4/05] Really? If Walmart can’t deal, then how can my little company deal?

Change Management

#4 is an interesting challenge nugget. I hear businesses complain a lot about change management. When our customers go through change it brings a sense of uncertainly as a vendor. Will they bring “their people” to work with them and let us go? Will their working style mesh with my companies already established, profitable work flow? Will we have to start all over again building confidence in our service? And in some cases we are training the buyer about how our products answer a cultural need in an organization. Will we wrestle with import competition? Can our bottom line continue to price-point compete? (see #2 and #3) I feel our concerns are the EXACT same things going on in the heads of employees when change arrives. And I have seen it handled both well and poorly. All henge on good communications and valuing what everyone brings to the team.

So those are what I see as major challenges businesses face today. My business partner said he would also add finding great employees can be tough. My Project Social partners Dave and Laura also have their list to ponder. Wonder how Dave’s DC trip to the SHRM Leadership Conference has altered his perspective on challenges since this blog topic was chosen? So be sure to check out their posts over at “HR Official” and “Working Girl” I would also love to know if you agree with my challenge list. But, if it is just too heavy then I challenge you to this question.

Which is a Better Way to Cook Bacon?

  • Traditional Pan Fry
  • Pan Fry with Bacon Press
  • Oven Bake
  • Microwave with special plates and tools
  • Grill
  • Buy it Cooked and Re-Heat

All have their challenges and place in the work flow. Cook it! Eat it! Or you will starve. Look for my “Best of the HR Bacon Gifts” listed here in the next few weeks! Just in time for the Holidays! Image source: Bravo TV Project Runway