We Could Be Heroes

by John on March 3, 2015

This past weekend I had a chance to catch-up with some friends at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The experience was nothing short of awesome. It was one of those top ten moments where you want to take as many pictures to remember, but you don’t because you’re just enjoying the time. Really, really enjoyed the event, and especially the group of friends that join us.

Our group is a rather eclectic bunch: HR Pro’s, Lawyers, Bankers, Law Enforcement Agents, and Educators. We all share a healthy love of good food, great wine, and great conversations. However, it was a quick, quiet, conversation that sparked the inspiration for this post.

I was catching up with one of the HR Pro’s and they said “Y’know John, I believe we all have one work superpower. This superpower is unique to the individual, and once you use it at work, you’ll never forget that you’ve got it”. I smiled, and then laughed and agreed with them, but didn’t give it much thought for the rest of the day.

In the days that have passed, I started to think a bit more about this concept and started to wonder if it is a truly valid concept.

I found myself asking goofy questions like: Do you have a work super power? If so, what is it? If not, how do I find out what it is? When will I know if I use it at the right time?

I’ve done several self assessments over the years. I know that I’m an ENFP, I’ve seen my Gallup scores, I’ve done the whole strengths finder (I know that I’m an activator, a relator, an ideator, an influencer, etc. etc. you get the point).

Maybe talent acquisition folks have different powers than the talent development folks? Do the PhD’s in OD have telekinesis skills? What about the payroll clerk who can do excel models with their eyes closed? Or the benefits coordinator who can calculate rolling average FMLA (which is one of my circles of hell in the HR Inferno)?

So for now, I’ve got to do a bit more self actualizing on the whole “work superpower” thing.

It’s a shame we didn’t get a chance to share our other “superpowers”. If asked, I’ve got that bad boy ready to go.

I learned how to spell my last name in the womb, and that my friends was no small feat.


It’s taken me a while to file my final dispatch from Brandon Hall’s 2015 HCM Excellence Conference. Brandon Hall Group 2015-01-28 23-11-43 The spring college recruiting season is upon us and my days and nights have merged into a series of interview sessions, information sessions, and student counseling sessions.

I also wanted to wait a bit before I filed my final dispatch. I needed a few days to review my notes and really wanted to make sure that I truly got the essence of the conference.

Thinking back, I have to say that I was lucky to be completely out of my element for a few days. I was thoroughly impressed not only with the analysts and staff at the Brandon Hall Group, but also the conference attendees as well.

I wasn’t kidding when I had mentioned in previous posts that all the sessions were filled with incredibly smart people, but enough of me boring you, here’s a quick breakdown of what I observed as major takeaways:

  1. Always align your strategy with the business: I started with this in my first dispatch and it still remains the most important point. If you’re unsure, then the strategy is not aligned. Go back and review the strategy again.
  2. Listen to your customers: Don’t limit this to just external customers, but your internal customers too. Again, simple advice that is often overlooked and it becomes the proverbial death knell for your project.
  3. Learning is “real work” and it must be done in the most efficient way possible: I got hung up on this concept the first day. I kept asking myself “What would Donald Trump say if he walked in during the middle of this session? Would he feel that this was an efficient way to spend the company’s capital?” My questions were answered when I was sitting in a session listening to line managers share the positives and negatives of their project roll outs. All the presenters shared the good, the bad, and the downright scary and they all tied it back to overall business strategy of their firms.
  4. Worry more about the experience first and then about the content: If you can get to 80% on your project, you should trust the fact that the other 20% that’s content related will come from the employees. Focus on your audience!
  5. Are you in the learning business or the performance business: Another critical question that needs to be answered and then executed on accordingly.

I want to thank everyone at the Brandon Hall Group for their hospitality and generosity during the conference. Conference blogging is a tough gig and at times it can seem if my opinions or observations were influenced by the organization, nothing can be further from the truth. I was granted a pass to the sessions and had unfettered access to the participants and presenters, had several great conversations and asked some pretty tough questions and got some very real answers.

As a complete novice in this area of HR I came away with a newfound respect for my colleagues in this space, this area and conference will continue to grow over the next few years and it’s nice to see such a professional organization at the forefront. Great Job!


Dispatches from the 2015 HCM Excellence Conference – Day Two:

January 30, 2015

It’s pretty difficult these days to break the mold of your typical conference; however, I remain very impressed by the Brandon Hall Group team. The sessions are packed, the audiences are engaged, and the presenters are doing a good job sharing the information. Day two had me covering three sessions. The first, discussed how learning […]

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Dispatches from the 2015 HCM Excellence Conference:

January 29, 2015

I was asked to be a blogger for Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence Conference taking place in Fort Lauderdale, FL this week. The sessions are full of incredibly smart, passionate, and engaged participants and I have to admit, it’s a bit daunting. However, in my book, when someone says it’s daunting, my default response is […]

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Honoring An Influencer: Victorio Milian

January 23, 2015

Around this time of year, we honor a blogger/HR Pro/Superhero in the name of Tim Sackett as an influence in the HR Blogosphere. And this year’s honoree is well deserved. You see, Victorio Milian is not only an amazing individual, but he’s a good soul. How do I know this? Well you’re going to have […]

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