The third day is when the conference grind sets it and depending on how late your “client meetings” ran, it’s a tough day.

You need to start packing the suitcase and you’re probably wondering why you just didn’t ship that whole bag of “tangible memories” you collected off the expo floor.

I’ve seen this conundrum at the previous conferences and here’s my practical advice. Prior to the next conference, get the FedEx number from shipping & receiving. If you want to kick in some sharing of some cool stuff as a form of “repayment” do it. Thank me later for dropping that tidbit.

While there have been several thematic undercurrents at this year’s conference, the one major theme that I’ve heard in the keynotes, the general sessions, and in the hallways, all pointed back to leadership.

For those doing the mental eye roll, I apologize, but think about it. Right after the leadership theme, it’s the people theme. Hell, it’s THE SHRM CONFERENCE we should be discussing people leadership, no?

The organization gets credit for opening with David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands. In case you were wondering Mr. Novak did a great job of evangelizing the leadership message crafted by the culture firm Senn Delaney.

I genuinely like the message/culture programming that Senn Delaney has created. I’ve was lucky enough to be in an organization that used the product and have also been through the training. I truly enjoyed it, and it has resonated with me on a personal and professional level.

While the concepts are not revolutionary, they deal directly with people, leadership, and yes people leadership (sorry for the oversimplification). It was the right message, at the right time, to the right crowd, so kudos to the team.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find a way to stuff all of my “tangible memories” into my suitcase.

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The second day of large conferences has always been my favorite day. Everything is still fresh and new, the speakers are excited, and the attendees are excited… well let me rephrase that, the attendees are excited until they realize that their next session is across the convention center.

Day two here at #SHRM14 was another excellent day. One of the more innovative things that I’ve seen this year is the programming in the “Connection Zone”. While this idea and iteration is not new (the last two conferences in Atlanta and Chicago had “The Hive”) it’s great to see and hear some fresh voices and ideas and to see individuals get some stage time.

Finally, I’m trying to get over a quote that Tuesday’s Keynote speaker Mr. Thomas Friedman. His quote got reworked to be a bit more “twitter friendly” and it didn’t sit well with me. His original quote “Think like a new immigrant; stay hungry” is innocuous when read in its original form. The quote that’s causing me angst is the one that’s being passed around it is simply “Think like an immigrant”

Let’s pretend we’re not in a state where immigration is a pretty big deal, hell let’s pretend we’re not at an HR conference (with international attendees), can someone share with me just how “immigrant’s” think? Do they think different? How do I know if someone is an immigrant? Do they have a….. See what I mean? See how ridiculous and culturally insensitive the quote appears.

It’s hard to hear quotes like “HR must exercise expertise and influence” at the conference and see an internet meme that starts with the line “Think Like an Immigrant” .

Let’s see if we can “Transform” our thinking to something a bit more culturally sensitive…


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June 23, 2014

Well it’s time. The center of the HR Universe has descended upon central Florida to catch up with old friends and colleagues, meet and network with new people, and gain some continuing education credits. All while it’s 90 degrees outside with 90% humidity. I’m excited to participate in the conference as a blogger and here’s […]

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Grad Advice from Billy Joel

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Earlier last week, Billy Joel did an epic town hall on Sirius Satellite Radio. It was full of stories, songs, guest performances, and legendary live performances by Billy. The one that struck a major chord with me was the live rendition of his song, Vienna. If you have not heard the tune before, go listen […]

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