The Importance of Self-Doubt

I was recently asked why I would write a blog revealing insecurities about my abilities and qualifications as a People professional.  This line of questioning temporarily plunged me into a pool of self-doubt about my judgment and what the impact these admissions might do to my professional brand, but I quickly emerged with an even…

My Preparation Notes for the Udemy People Innovators’ Panel

Last night, I spoke on a panel of very impressive peers from GE, Compass, and Hometeam.  Many thanks to Safia and Darren from Udemy for conceiving, organizing, and facilitating the session. Unbeknownst to many attendees, there is a lot of prep that goes into these “casual” conversations.  At least, I tend to prepare a lot…

Thinking About Your Legacy

It’s pretty typical of retiring CEOs, lame duck presidents, and people approaching their twilight years to think about their legacy — whom and what they’ve influenced, what will be remembered and passed down. I don’t know if I’m unusual in this, but I think about my legacy a lot, and I’m only at mid-career (I…

Has HR Become Cool?

Who would have ever thought that HR would be as celebrated as it is today?   Over the past year or so, at least 6 HBR (Harvard Business Review) title articles were about People/HR, from “It’s Time to Blow Up HR”, to “What Makes a Great Leader?”, to “You Can’t Fix Culture”, “Diversity”, “Managing the…

What Employee Engagement Looks Like

Last year, a small team of volunteers from Venmo went to the Rockaways to help rebuild a home devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  We all traveled from Manhattan or Brooklyn to be at the site by 9 AM on a beautiful fall Saturday, suited up to spend the day sanding walls, painting the deck, and replacing…

Being a PM When Your Product is People

Despite 10+ years in the field of HR, I still think of myself first as a problem-solver, and then an HR professional.  It’s not because I am in denial, but that’s how I approach everything I encounter and do at work.  Everything is seen as a problem or an opportunity, and while most of the…

Why, or Why Not?

When making business proposals, it’s common practice to explain the purpose — the “why” — of doing something.  Makes sense that there should be a clear rationale for doing something different than what’s been done. As a rational person, I tend to ask “why?” whenever one of my team members proposes an idea.  “What will…

What Does a ‘High Performing’ Company Look Like?

Every business leader says that they strive to create a ‘high-performing’ company culture, but logic suggests that not all companies can be truly high-performing organizations.  In fact, most companies are just average, and there are a lot that are below average.  It’s like illusory superiority, the cognitive bias whereby people overestimate their own qualities and…

Being a Poseur

When I was in high school, being called a ‘poseur’ was the worst possible insult.  At least, I thought so.  A poseur is someone who adopts the external trappings of a subculture (like New Wave) but doesn’t actually buy into the underlying philosophy and attitude.  It’s the incarnation of inauthenticity and superficiality; there is no…

Climbing Down the Ladder of Inference

Through the course of evolution, human beings have acquired the ability to recognize patterns and make inferences as shortcuts to sensing danger, finding food, and interacting with one another.  Taking in information is not just about observing facts and data; our brains instinctively process these inputs into insights that matter to us and help us…

Being Busy ⇏ Working on Things That Matter

I have encountered many successful professionals who — in the throes of juggling multiple priorities and working long hours — mistake being busy with working on the right things. It’s really hard to tell the difference, when everyone is asking things of you and you are barely getting stuff out before the next onslaught of…