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Archive for the ‘Courage’ Category

I had the opportunity to participate in a coaching program today at Babson College in Wellesley Massachusetts. The program matches undergraduate freshman, juniors, and seniors with area Babson alumni and business professionals. In my opinion, it is an innovative approach to integrating feedback into the undergraduate curriculum as well as connecting Babson College to the broader Boston community. Kudos to Babson!

But what really struck me as I finished the coaching session today was the courage of those students who participated in the program. Imagine participating in three business case discussions with other classmates, while being directly observed by six older business professionals…all with the goal of receiving specific competency-based behavioral feedback on your performance during those discussions…and you are 18 to 22 years old.

In the business world real behavior-based feedback on performance is a rare commodity…many of us “prefer” not knowing how we are performing and rarely elicit specific and regular feedback from others. Performance reviews, when given, often are considered a chore and very perfunctory. 360 degree assessment feedback is often reviewed, possibly disputed and then filed away for a “some day” review when the “real” work is done.

The undergraduate students at Babson who participated in the program inspired me to courageously ask for regular feedback I know I need for my own growth and excellence. I challenge each of you in the business world to do the same.

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Most of us are aware of the public outrage over big Wall Street bonuses being paid out especially in light of Wall Street’s contribution to the financial collapse last year. Given this year’s theme of “Bold” and “Courage”, I wonder what HR’s role could be in 2010 in creating the strategies and influencing the structure of executive compensation plans.

My experience is we are often called upon to provide the important work of administering executive compensation – working with external executive compensation vendors to develop compensation models, massaging (in the best sense of the word) the data so that it translates to the goals/outcomes of our businesses, presenting the output to our senior HR leadership and possibly to the Board of Directors and then administering the plans once approved.

So if we claimed “Bold” and ” Courage”, what would our role look like? Would we move beyond the important work of administration? What does true leadership look like? Can we (HR) define the big hairy audacious goals (BHAGs) for executive compensation? Are we equipped – we know the business, how it makes money and grows profitability, its strategy and its current objectives; the compensation levers; the talent we want to incent and retain; and the impact of plan design on achieving both short-term and long-term objectives? Are we willing to go head-to-head with those who would exclusively craft short-term focused executive compensation plans (usually in the name of keeping certain talent) that often do not serve the business and its long term profitability goals?

There are many more questions…and I am aware that the time for questions is quickly passing as we (HR) need to quickly get in front of this one. I am calling myself and all HR professionals to stand in the space of “Bold” and “Courage”, as we move forward on this very important business lever.

Your thoughts?

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Courage is in the air…it is showing up in tweets, on fb postings, in conversations with colleagues, and in the recent eBook “Do Amazing Things”

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