Movie Night

The pandemic has created a void in things to do, especially here on Long Island where we have only entered phase one of opening this past week. So my out of the house activities are a daily am walk to the local deli for coffee, an evening walk most nights with a couple of friends, and golf on the weekends. The majority of my free time other then taking care of personal life activities is watching television. My TV time has been dominated by cable news, which sucks because there is no live sports (except Nascar and German Soccer) to occupy my down time from work.

Add to this I have gone from teaching online 5 nights a week between Adelphi, Manhattanville and HR Jetpack, to zero as the semester ended last week. So I now look  forward at least twice a week to catch a movie. Lets just call it MOVIE Night. And tonight was a movie night!!!! I Watched the Guardian with Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. Its probably the 5th or 6th time watching it over the past few yrs., but its a great movie. Action, drama, and a good story line. It hit me personally 30 minutes in when Costner’s Commander tells him he needs to know when it is time to  get out of the water. Costner obviously disagrees. I won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it (go rent it  or watch it on the Paramount network).

“You need to know when it is time to get out of the water.”

A classic line and a metaphor for saying you need to know when you need to move to the next phase of your career. Most of us can’t see it or accept it. Professional athletes often hang on one or two yrs. to long with diminishing returns. As I look at my own career it is difficult to decide if I have some mileage left to run HR for another company one more time, or am I better suited to continue on my consulting and college teaching trajectory?

I am not alone or unique in facing this dilemma. We all face it at some point and sometimes more then once. I felt a little empathy for Costner’s character having to go from Rescue Swimmer to Instructor. He was in a way “a fish out of water”. Well actually he was perfect to be an Instructor, he just yearned to get back to his true passion. Was he to old, battle warn, a step to slow? He held all the records until he meets his protege in Kutcher. The opportunity to pass the baton was to a certain extent, satisfying and distracting. My own business accolades with SHRM, HR Executive Magazine, Adelphi, and local business are much like Costner’s characters records. Meaningful at the time but eventually just a name plate on the wall. We all have gifts and some of them get rewarded with ribbons and trophies. More importantly it is what you do with your talent. Do you help others? Do you make a difference?

We all look for importance in our life. Some of us even create bucket lists. Do you have one? It helps us make sense of our goals, desires, and accomplishments. It keeps us focused.

From adversity comes opportunity.

Movie night lets us dream.

Make a difference. Use your talent to the fullest.

I gotta go get a towel and dry off…. I will see you at the pool when it opens up…..

I love movies!

Rough Winds


The past six weeks have been rough here on Long Island. As a stand alone, the Island has the second most confirmed cases of Corona Virus in the country. We have been limiting social contact since St. Patricks day, way back in the middle of March. We have friends that have contracted it, most are ok…a couple are struggling with it now. And a couple of family members of friends have succumb to it and past on…Tragically…

It’s lonely being housebound for 6 weeks, for all of us. I played my last night of tennis the Thursday before St. Pats. My last pickleball game that Saturday. And unfortunately my last round of golf three weeks later, as the governor shut my last escape physically to all of us 10 days ago (rightfully so). I’m fortunate to be doing o.k. …..a weekend walk with my neighborhood boys club, there are 4 of us, keeps us from the brink of craziness. And one to two walks around the neighborhood each day (weather permitting) with Pandora cranked to 10 in my earbuds…. thank god for the music of STP, The Foo fighters, Tool, and a myriad of 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s classic rock.

My work had some interruptions in March, fortunately we have gotten some of our client work back virtually the past two weeks. All my teaching is on-line too. So financially we are handling the strong winds of change. I would say we are more fortunate than most.

This Spring’s Conference Season is a train wreck. I just completed taping two sessions for SHRM Talent. The conference is going virtual. It feels weird doing a taped presentation in front of a computer on ZOOM. More like I am teaching a class or taping a class on-line. My timing was way off too. My 18 minute Smart Stage came in at a paltry 12 minutes and change….my hour presentation is still being edited and I estimate maybe 32 – 33 minutes. I have done over 2 dozen live SHRM  major events and I usually come in a couple minutes under the wire. But no introduction, Q&A, and audience banter soak  up a significant amount of time….so my 52 minute Agism was cut by about a third. I’m sure SHRM and the audience will understand. I was not short selling the presentations….just didn’t factor in the extras not being there. And to be honest, I didn’t want to fluff extra into the presentations.

The remainder of the conference calendar year is in doubt too. I have a freebie to SHRM national in San Diego the end of June  (courtesy of the blogger debacle), but I doubt that conference will survive….Johnnie Taylor (CEO of SHRM) is giving May 4th as the decision date….but my money is on cancelling this one… Maybe I will squeeze in a local presentation at one of the SHRM chapters later this year….And talking about chapters, I have been helping out the Long Island chapter with ideas for future programming and have stepped into an interim volunteer role assisting with programming…if you have a cool topic…hit me up to discuss….

What I feel terrible about, aside from no sports and golf…to play or watch, is my Adelphi students. I have an undergraduate class with 9 seniors graduating with no graduation ceremony….and an MBA class of NYU – Winthrop Hospital Administrators and Professionals. They are unbelievable juggling the pandemic and life….and they show up every week for my class on-line.

They are unsung hero’s.

So that is my update for now….I hope the rough winds die down soon…..and I hope all reading this are safe!


Catching up with 2020 Vision – The Blind Audition Tour

It’s been a while since I posted here. As 2020 comes into site I wanted to provide the folks still following me here a quick update.

To start with I will be touring again in 2020 with a hot topic of “AGEISM” with my Blind Audition Tour. It kicks off On February 26th at the SHRM Long Island breakfast meeting followed by a stop in Orlando Florida at SHRM Talent.   There will definitely be additional dates so stay tuned!

I am still teaching grad school at Adelphi,  conducting SHRM certification  prep for HRJetpack and Manhattanville college, and doing a variety of interesting executive leadership projects in conjunction with Improving Communications and under my HC3 umbrella.

I continue to  stay active writing on Fistful of Talent and the SHRM blog. I also have been active with guest podcast and webinar activity with my pals at Workology and HRJetpack. In fact, my 2020 webinar series kicks off on Weds. February 5th with a webinar on: While I Was Sleeping, My Company Went Global! Now What? I’ll be posting details on LinkedIn next week. My HRJetpack series will run every other month with webcasts on a variety of topics.

So I am busy but always open to new opportunities, so feel free to reach out….till my next post!

Thanks… Giving

My business associate Rich Atkins is probably cringing at my title and misuse of the English language. It is Thanksgiving Holiday week and the most special of holidays for me. I spent the first 14 yrs. of my career working for retailers, so this holiday was my last gasp of relaxing before a typically robust 7 week holiday season. I say 7 weeks as we did not finish till early January with store Inventories. Even in my last couple of years doing HR at Limited Brands, the holiday period was a 6 and 7 day week marathon of long days, nights and weekends.

The past two decades I have been fortunate to work in other industries which afforded me the opportunity to have extended 4 and even 5 day weekends. But my time in retail left me with a deep appreciation for those called upon to work by choice and most often by necessity during this Holiday. In the past few years retailers have opened for extended sales on the holiday itself. How sad that profits are put in front of people. In my opinion they should bring back blue laws to prohibit all but essential services on this holiday.

A local retailer on Long Island, P.C. Richard and Sons chooses to continue to close each year on this day, refusing to buckle to competitive pressure to do otherwise. They annually run an advertisement in Newsday, the local paper, wishing all of their employees a joyous holiday and taking a shot at others who fail to treat their employees with dignity and respect. I personally give them a lot of credit for holding pat.

So with this special few days I am compelled to recognize those who give so that we can “get” or enjoy festivities, food, football, and friendship.

Medical and EMS personnel, services workers across all industries, and our armed forces, we owe you more than a THANKS for working so that we can enjoy this special day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

The Broken Model of University Education 2019 Edition


It is hard to believe that Universities around the country are locked into a Century old paradigm of Research and Reward as a priority over quality education for our next generation.

As a part time educator, myself, I see it first-hand throughout the year at the university I teach at. Now this is not a blanket statement that credentialed, or should I say tenured tracked, professors are shunning their responsibilities toward students (many are exceptional educators with yrs. of quality results). But the system is certainly doing so.

To top this off, many areas of learning, including my own (the business school) have reinforced this broken and outdated system that focuses on terminal degrees over both real-world experience and the ability to educate adults in the classroom.

Ask yourself, if you wanted to learn Accounting, would you be better off with a former accounting business senior partner with 25 to 30 yrs. of real world experience or a rookie PHD with 2 years of a fellowship having done research on some slim segment of the field? Tough call if the PHD can work the classroom or if the retired partner can’t.

But from a practical viewpoint it is hard to reason that the researcher brings more to the table then the experienced practitioner.

In some areas of education such as nursing and social work, universities have provided more of a balance to utilizing a practitioner approach to education and requirements to teach. But for some strange reason the business community has not.

At Adelphi, where I am a senior adjunct in the business school, we are currently grappling with this issue. It is bolstered by ASCSB accreditation requirements that mandate a certain percentage of doctoral level full – time educators. In fact, almost all must be. Tension has arisen over the past few yrs. as adjunct faculty have been bypassed for the opportunity to teach full-time. The business school administration with full support of the university has chosen to go the old school route. Hiring degreed PHD’s over otherwise highly qualified professionals from industry that just happen to be really good in the classroom. They use the accreditation standards as a shield to any and all conversations on the topic.

It’s hitting a crescendo now as several new faculty have appeared as part-timers stare and watch them fumble over curriculum that they rarely have practiced in real environments. The adjuncts are provided the crumbs as they take on  the leftover classes. Many  adjuncts don’t care as the class is just an extra few dollars or something to do that is fulfilling. However, several do care and even a few, like me, would welcome the opportunity to do this as a full -time gig.

Think of the analogy of a pilot, would you rather have someone who has read about piloting and got an A on the written test and done an extensive research paper on flying, or someone who has flown thousands of hours in the Air force or Navy and has dealt with all types of stressful conditions. We already know the answer.

The crazy part of the conversation is that teaching does not require a degree of any kind to perform. Universities pay premium dollars for tenure track professionals to conduct research, which certainly is of importance, especially in the sciences. But let’s be serious, how many of the journal articles written by the everyday professor is read by even a small number of individuals outside the PHD fraternity…or impact our lives in the smallest of ways? My musings on the SHRM blog and Fistful of Talent get multiple views and reads in comparison (and nobody is paying me for them) and truth be told have more practical impact within the HR community.

So, the question for today is why has the world of Universities and their yearning for PHD’s never changed with the times?

Now that would be something to do research on!

Transparency in the #SHRM19 Bloggers Lounge with Johnnie C. Taylor

shrm19johnnie1We had an unscheduled visit in the #SHRM19 conference bloggers lounge on the second day of the Vegas HR conference. SHRM CEO Johnnie C. Taylor stopped by with his Chief of Staff, Emily M. Dickens. It was a 45-minute intimate conversation with about 18 bloggers and a few SHRM staff that happened to be present at this afternoon pop up get together.

There was no formal agenda and plenty of time for those present to pepper both with some hard hitting and transparent questions  about SHRM’s decision to work with the White House and other business leaders to tackle issues such as the skills gap and second chance hiring.

Johnnie was direct in his response to these concerns as he reiterated the importance of SHRM’s presence and involvement in having legislative actions presented to Congress. He was clear this was not a political statement and even referenced some professional backlash he received years before for his support of Hilary Clinton. He pointed out that every decision made by SHRM to push forward a “People First “agenda in the workplace will include both sides of the political isle.. He stated there will often be 10-20  percent  (or more) of the SHRM membership that may have a divergent viewpoint on all of the major agenda items,and that’s why it is so important to air our views and be transparent. He was steadfast in his approach to moving the SHRM agenda forward for the benefits of our members and all individuals in the workplace, not for any  partisan political reason, and the need to be clear to members in doing so.

We discussed ageism at length. An agenda item for SHRM on both a national and local level as we head toward 2020. One of the members of the blogger team even shared their own personal journey of dealing with discriminatory behavior in trying to attain full-time work during a three-year time frame.

The bloggers also thanked Johnnie for the visibility of new activity in the area of individuals with disabilities, which was highlighted by some great video and live discussion on the main stage this year. Many individuals on the blogging team face challenges with their own family and friends in attaining opportunity for individuals with challenges to contribute in the workforce.

The conversation also turned personal for a few minutes as Johnnie shared his own work/life balance situation, as it was his daughter’s birthday this past week, and he had to be at work here in Vegas with all of us. He noted he was going to have a special day with her right at the end of the conference.

We also chatted about where the line between civility and inappropriateness, in differences of opinion, needs to be drawn.

The conversation was just that — a conversation. Johnnie and Emily listened to viewpoints on these and other issues facing the HR community and the conversation appeared to be well-received by all the bloggers who were present.

For me, this was the highlight of a great conference…a face to face conversation about relevant HR issues with the leadership of our society. We need more of these discussions with small groups in the future. I’m counting on everyone to do their part.


#HC3 Live During #SHRM19 Conference Week


I will be doing a few social media spots before, during, and after #SHRM19 in Vegas this coming week.  First up is #DrivethruHR with Michael Vandervort and Robin Schooling  Tues. 6/18 at 1pm EDT:

We’ll run the gamut of HR topics including:

  • The next generation of HR leaders
  • The sad state of affairs (and false notion) that candidates are “over-qualified”
  • Religion and politics in the workplace

Oh heck – we might even talk “dress code!”

During the Conference you can catch me on the HR Jetpack Facebook page doing a live interview (actual time TBD, but I will send out tweets and LinkedIn notices).  The awesome Christina Danforth  will be moderating.

Finally on June 27th I will be doing a #Workology podcast with My friend Jessica Miller- Merrill. This will be a frank discussion about the #SHRM debate and some of their recent actions which have left some folks scratching their heads and others disillusioned. Robin Schooling and I will be giving you different perspectives on this and broader topics in today’s HR community.

Stay tuned for updates and times at #HC3 on twitter!



#SHRM19 Conference Stories what Happens in Vegas stays in Vegas (sometimes)


I am a veteran of SHRM major conferences having spoken at more then a dozen national and regional conferences including Talent, Legislative, Strategic (for the old schoolers amongst us), and the grand Daddy of them all: the Annual conference, where I have had crowds exceeding a thousand individuals pack rooms at 7am to hear me dish on a variety of topics over the past few years. I have also been a member of the blog squad the past three yrs. and have attended several  conferences in costume as a participant too.

I will leave it to others to give you insight into navigating the workshops, networking and nightlife. Instead, I will share a couple of my favorite stories from my time away from office and family. I hope you will find them interesting and insightful too.

It was 2013 and the annual was in Chicago, I was supposed to speak and had to decline as my daughter was graduating. I had a choice to be at the whole conference or at my daughter’s high school graduation…Easy choice of course….But I did venture to Chicago for a day and a half to attend the CHRO summit put on by HRPS each yr. The Society usually comingles HRPS and Foundation events into the conference calendar. And as many of you know, there are a smattering of events after hours especially on Monday night. So, when our day of learning and networking ended it was off to The House of Blues in Chicago to see DJ Jazee Jeff, remember him from the fresh prince of Bel Air TV show with Will Smith? Well of course it was beyond capacity and we found ourselves in a dilemma as to what to do. We had been told they were turning folks away before we jumped into a couple of cabs. Well A quick call to Curtiss Midkiff the former SHRM social media manager did the trick (Curtiss was involved in the planning and managing of the event), it didn’t hurt that we were in an entourage with Achal Kanna the CEO of SHRM India along with a couple of former SHRM board members and a couple of former C-Suite members of the SHRM staff. Curtiss met our group of about a dozen at the restaurant in front of the concert hall and hustled us through the kitchen onto a freight elevator to the balcony where we danced for close to an hour as  Jazee spun some great tunes…Of the interesting late nights at SHRM, this one event took the prize….I will never forget that 3 minutes going through an actual kitchen to literally get in the back door and elevator with a group of senior SHRM folks and then dancing with the CEO of SHRM India! By the way she is a great dancer…

Two years later (2015) the conference was in Vegas. I was there with two of my senior HR staff. My CEO at my former organization was about to be out of the office for a month and decided on a meeting with all senior direct reports back in NY in the spur of the moment, yours truly included. I spent that Tuesday Morning after the main stage speaker in the back of the vendor exhibit area for two hours with my phone on mute except when I needed to respond or chime in. I was freaking out as my backup battery on my phone was draining fast and I didn’t bring my electrical charger to the conference. I prayed that there were no overhead announcements whenever I had to speak. My pen and pad were swag from a couple of nearby vendors and my earphones were swag give a way too. One of my staff tossed me a vendor battery charger near the end of my call as well. Every time someone complains to me about vendor give a ways, I am reminded of how the swag bailed me out that hot summer day.

My last story was way back in November of 2007 it was the SHRM Strategy conference in Tampa Florida. I was there to receive and give a brief acceptance speech after I was named by the Society as the Human Capital Business Leader of the Year alongside award recipients from blue-chip giants, IBM and Coca-Cola, and Mexico City-based El Puerto de Liverpool, S.A.B. de C.V., Mexico’s largest department store retailer. It was my 15 minutes of fame. I spent weeks writing and editing my 5-minute acceptance speech. Then the night before as I was practicing speaking in front of over 1400 attendees, I froze and thought this sounds canned. I did what I do best…I wrote a few notes on two 3×5 index cards and threw caution to the wind. The next morning, I walked on stage and gave the speech of my life, all from the heart.

What did I learn from these three experiences? First expect the unexpected. Second, improvise. And last, cherished memories can happen at an SHRM conference…I have my memories…now go make yours!


Whats Next….Part 2


So, my news is that I am moving on from Signium USA as of May 1. I will continue to keep a relationship with the organization if you need Executive Search assistance, however all of my HR consulting services will be handled through Human Capital 3.0 and my partnerships for Learning, Development, and Training will be with Improving Communications and HR Jetpack.

Signium has been a great business relationship with awesome retained search capabilities on a global basis over the past 3 years. However, it is time for me to focus primarily on what I do best…Human Resources!

So, I am turning the page and moving forward with myself at the helm.  I will still maintain a relationship with Signium on an ad-hoc basis. if you need retained search assistance anywhere in the world, Signium is well equipped to assist. Additionally, their Human Capital leadership group is well staffed to handle large and complex Human Capital programs internationally and I will continue to be a partner to any project to large for me to handle with my team at  HC3.

With that said, I am going to concentrate on programs and services that I know and do best: Talent and Performance Management, building and fixing HR processes and protocols, Training and Development creation and delivery. That’s my sweet spot! And it only makes sense… for myself, my team, and my clients…

I will be back soon to let you know how its going…. hope your all having a great 2019!!!

#SHRM19 Vegas Style



I am off to Vegas in a few weeks for SHRM19. I will be blogging again, but sitting on the sidelines for presentations this yr. At first I was feeling a little empty, but I have done my duty on Stage over the yrs. I have no tour this year, just a couple of sporadic appearances..The biggest one is this summer for SHRM Long Island at their annual breakfast mtg. And there may be one or two more before the yr. is out.

I’m a little dry on new material so being out at a couple of conferences and HR events should help in recharging the creative batteries.

This yrs. event will be interesting as I have now become somewhat of a veteran as a blogger. I know exactly where and when the action occurs and I easily edit out much of the noise and distractions. That will be a little more challenging in Vegas as there are so many distractions. For those first timers, don’t fret. It is important to have a plan, at least for 50% of the time. I suggest scheduling 2 speakers plus the main speaker each morning. Also try to do a 7am on Monday as Monday night and Tuesday night tend to run pretty late. Leave time Monday afternoon for the exhibit hall, its quieter then the rest of the time, also you can catch some smart stage presentations while there. It is also a good time to grab all your swag and drag it back to the hotel before night activities.

I am scheduling some down time Tuesday after the morning speaker to ensure I am up to date on business stuff and maybe even a quick nap…trust me on this one. Also bring extra comfy shoes…its a lot of walking….

I will be filling you all in on some interesting speakers and behind the curtain stuff as we get closer….One last thing…water, lots of water during the day…

Bet you already knew that…

I will be back to dish a little more in a couple of weeks…till then please continue to follow me on Fistfuloftalent, Workology, and of course the SHRM Blog…