SHRM Conference – Welch’s Call To Action

by The Red Recruiter on June 28, 2009

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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.

Control

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

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

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as possible and posting them to my Twitter page.

What did you take away from hearing Jack Welch? Do you disagree? Speak up… this should be a dialogue.

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  • http://www.LisaCrunick.com/ Lisa Crunick

    Thank you blogging about Jack Welch’s strong message. As communication and societal paradigms are shifting, many people feel distrustful and out of control. He beautifully shifts the lens so responsibility lands on us to take control, and know that we can demand work environments which reflect our core values.
    Thanks again for sharing,

  • http://www.LisaCrunick.com Lisa Crunick

    Thank you blogging about Jack Welch’s strong message. As communication and societal paradigms are shifting, many people feel distrustful and out of control. He beautifully shifts the lens so responsibility lands on us to take control, and know that we can demand work environments which reflect our core values.
    Thanks again for sharing,

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  • http://theredrecruiter.com/ The Red Recruiter

    My pleasure πŸ˜‰ Thank you for reading.

  • http://theredrecruiter.com The Red Recruiter

    My pleasure πŸ˜‰ Thank you for reading.

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  • Pingback: SHRM Conference - Welch's Call To Action β€” The Red Recruiter

  • http://www.junglejeff.net/ jeff noel

    Red, loved this post. Jack presented a lofty paradigm – taking the bull by the horns. A very exciting one to be sure. A bit ahead of the way most professional people think at this point in time. Who wants to challenge status quo when many are worried about their jobs?

    Any advice?

    PS. Thanks for your post on Disney Institute, too. jungle jeff :)

  • http://www.junglejeff.net jeff noel

    Red, loved this post. Jack presented a lofty paradigm – taking the bull by the horns. A very exciting one to be sure. A bit ahead of the way most professional people think at this point in time. Who wants to challenge status quo when many are worried about their jobs?

    Any advice?

    PS. Thanks for your post on Disney Institute, too. jungle jeff :)

  • Traci Deveau

    Great post Michael! Although I’m certainly not surprised, I always find value in your content. Sorry I missed you in New Orleans. You are a RED SHOE in a sea of brown and black for sure.

  • Traci Deveau

    Great post Michael! Although I’m certainly not surprised, I always find value in your content. Sorry I missed you in New Orleans. You are a RED SHOE in a sea of brown and black for sure.

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  • http://theredrecruiter.com/ The Red Recruiter

    Thanks so much Traci! Glad you enjoyed it πŸ˜‰

  • http://theredrecruiter.com The Red Recruiter

    Thanks so much Traci! Glad you enjoyed it πŸ˜‰

  • http://theredrecruiter.com/ The Red Recruiter

    Glad you enjoyed it Jeff. Yes, he is presenting something that falls in line with what we secretly want to do… but, often times, do not follow through with. Advice… speak the truth, have firm beliefs and always strive to expand your imagination. From there, it’s simply a question of being vocal. For people not working in an environment where this is embraced… move on. Yes, the job market is tighter than normal – that doesn’t mean that opportunities have vanished. People who push the envelope are usually the ones who end up working with the best companies. So, I say, push it.

    Life is short, enjoy your work πŸ˜‰

    Disney was great! I can see why people enjoy being a part of their organization.

  • http://theredrecruiter.com The Red Recruiter

    Glad you enjoyed it Jeff. Yes, he is presenting something that falls in line with what we secretly want to do… but, often times, do not follow through with. Advice… speak the truth, have firm beliefs and always strive to expand your imagination. From there, it’s simply a question of being vocal. For people not working in an environment where this is embraced… move on. Yes, the job market is tighter than normal – that doesn’t mean that opportunities have vanished. People who push the envelope are usually the ones who end up working with the best companies. So, I say, push it.

    Life is short, enjoy your work πŸ˜‰

    Disney was great! I can see why people enjoy being a part of their organization.

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