I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jack Welch‘s speech today at the SHRM conference. Let’s face it… it’s Jack Welch – it wasn’t cheap for SHRM to get him here. With that cost comes a set of pretty high expectations from an HR crowd that has undoubtedly gone through a bit of a financial rough patch of late.
The conference started out with a bunch of lights… a typical New Orleans style band… and, of course, a few speeches (one of which came from the new CEO of SHRM Lon O’Neil).
Finally, Jack Welch was introduced. The style of delivery chosen was a Q&A session… which I found to be pretty interesting. Instead of a “talk at you” set-up, they went the informal conversation route – a good idea I thought.
I frantically Tweeted throughout the entire speech. Little tidbits offered by a person that is arguably one of the most influential figures in business today.
When all was said and done, I headed outside to ponder what I had just listened to. Trying to wade through the thick list of business-appropriate messages, I was left with two that stood out above the rest.
Take control of your career. Take control of your strategic position within your organization. Take control of the message that your company is sharing. As an HR professional, quit laying down and taking it. Pushing paper should not be your forte – but, you are going to have to put your foot down first.
HR is an extremely important function within organizations today, but the professionals that dedicate to it have been pushed to the back. It’s time to grab the bull by the horns and make your voice heard.
Trust was a bit different and I loved it! Selfishly, I liked it because it reinforced some of the thoughts that I have been sharing over the past few months. I also enjoyed it because he delivered it as a warning more than as a random piece of advice.
Jack stressed that companies are changing. The ability to attract talent in the future will be tougher because the focus is going to be heavily placed on an organization’s ability to provide something different, fun… engaging! Our ideas on good work environments and engaging professional pursuits are going to be tossed on their heads. We have to give employees something more than stability… we have to give them a place that they enjoy hanging out at. A place that will open their minds and undoubtedly shoot for their hearts. This will be the future of talent engagement.
He also stressed communication and how it ties in to trust. Jack said to forget about creating messages for different tracks… the media, in-house, customers, etc… you are who you are. People will see through and distrust companies that can not be open and consistent.
Ha! Sounds an awful lot like the social media dialogue…
Trust, consistency… what makes someone stand out in social media is the very model that will make companies stand out going forward. As HR professionals, Jack is challenging you to confront the status quo and to get interested in the message. Step up!
So… that’s it. That’s what I took away from Jack Welch. As for the investment to have him at the conference, I think it was worth it. If 5% of that room left with a better sense of the future, I think that the fee will be paid back 10 fold over the next few years.
Now I’m off to wander the streets of New Orleans for a bit. This “Live Blogging” thing feels like a big responsibility… so, I’m taking as many pictures
as possible and posting them to my . page
What did you take away from hearing Jack Welch? Do you disagree? Speak up… this should be a dialogue.