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Does Your Boss Need Supervisory Skills Training – Are you a Victim of Bad Boss?

Does Your Boss Need Supervisory Skills Training – Are you a Victim of Bad Boss?

How many times have you witnessed someone working in a supervisory position without the necessary supervisory skills? How many times have you questioned why some leaders get the roles that they do? Probably often. It should come as no surprise to you, then, that at least once in your working life, you will be the victim of a bad boss.

Stanley Bing a columnist for Fortune magazine and the bestselling author of Crazy Bosses, isn’t the only person to point out that there are bosses who are wicked, mean, dysfunctional, or just plain bad bosses. But what if your boss isn’t that bad? What if all your boss needs is a little supervisory skills training?

You have come to terms with the fact that your boss will never be the leader he appeared to be during the interview. You reluctantly realize your boss prefers golf or shopping to mentoring you. She stole your ideas. He even assigned you a couple of high-profile controversial projects that went bad. Naturally, when this happened he went missing.

Signs of a Bad Boss

How can you tell if your boss is mean, dumb, toxic, out to get you, or if he simply never had the advantage of Supervisory Skills 101?

First, it starts with recognizing that not all bosses are created equal.  Many supervisors or leaders simply advanced through the ranks because they were the ‘last man standing’.  No one else wanted the job. Second, is the long-accepted notion of the Peter Principle.  The Peter principle suggests that people are often promoted to their level of incompetence.

Even though this concept was first introduced in 1969, by Laurence J, Peter, it is still alive and living in corporate America. Here are a few clues that your boss could use some basic supervisory skills training.

  • He ignores the classic, time-honored cliché, “Praise in public, criticize in private.”
  • She gives you assignments and doesn’t follow up.
  • He doesn’t support you when something goes wrong.
  • She thinks everything is fine when it isn’t.
  • He constantly claims that he is empowering you — but he just isn’t.
  • She micro-manages and needs to know everything.
  • He acts paranoid.
  • She jumps to conclusions.
  • He doesn’t know how to plan, prioritize, or organize.
  • If it isn’t her idea, then it can’t be good.
  • He implements two-faced attacks.

What Can You Do?

There are a number of actions you can take once you realize you are just working for a bad boss.

Start with yourself – are you irritating? Seriously, are you going out of your way intentionally to trigger reactions in your boss? Even if you feel a certain way and try to act professional, your body language is likely to betray you.

Next, try to determine what is important to your boss? There are, after all, some reasonable expectations. Many bosses expect you to be on time, for example. Some want you to prioritize your work assignments whereas others want you to follow a step-by-step process. Are they visionaries or executors? Are you following the informal or formal protocol – in other words, do you go out of the chain of command, and buddy-up to their boss? Many bosses are sensitive to this action.

If you truly determine you are working for a bad boss and it isn’t you, here are the steps you can take:

  • The obvious one: look for another job either inside or outside the company.
  • Schedule time with your boss and ask them to give you more direction or express that you’d like to take on some assignments that might lessen their responsibilities.
  • Bring in a food-related gift – this amazing small gesture does wonders to get the bad boss to just like you better. Don’t worry that the team thinks you are “sucking up”
  • Concentrate on your work. If your boss is bad enough, there are others observing how well you are holding up under the pressure.
  • Don’t talk badly about your boss to anyone else in the company. If you have already done so, stop. Again, this is an opportunity for people to notice your personal integrity
  • Decide the job is a learning opportunity for your next position

Many articles will tell you it is necessary to set boundaries. In theory, this is a good thought. Generally speaking, however, the truly bad boss, will not appreciate or be enlightened by this type of conversation. So, you have to set your own boundaries and commit to sticking with them.

If you are in a situation where you cannot, for whatever reason, quit your job at the current time consider signing up for our webinar: Coping with a Bad Boss. But, keep in mind, this is a band-aide and not a cure. Watch this space for more information.

Why HR Professionals Should be Involved in Lean Six Sigma

Why HR Professionals Should be Involved in Lean Six Sigma

Human resource (HR) professionals who have a background or education in basic project management have a clear advantage. Being well versed in an improvement methodology, such as Lean Six Sigma, is even a bigger plus. An HR professional who is able to present a business case with a compelling return on investment will be respected. Having a true handle on cost/time estimates, analytical thinking process, and fact-based strategies will open doors.

Understanding and using statistics to convey thoughts raises the bar on necessary conversations such as:

  • Legal compliance related to human resources management
  • Developing a recruiting and retention strategy
  • Performance management
  • Job design
  • Knowledge management
  • Human resource information systems

Strategic, Operational and Administrative

The role of the HR professional is typically divided into three main categories – strategic, operational, and administrative. In today’s world, an HR professional is expected to act with confidence in all three categories. Lean Six Sigma methodologies provide a framework for confidently capturing and presenting information in all three areas.

There are many other ways HR professionals may benefit from using Lean Six Sigma concepts. First, Lean Six Sigma methodology provides a solid path to implementing new projects. Second, learning to use the statistical information promoted in Lean Six Sigma, allows the HR professional to make better, more informed decisions. Third, studying Lean Six Sigma principles provides for better communication with project managers, technical staff, and executive management.

HR professionals who also are responsible for health and safety issues will see a benefit to applying Lean Six Sigma methodology to high-risk environments. Lean Six Sigma forces the practitioner to study the existing system. This may lead to identifying potential dangers. Whereas many safety programs focus only on satisfying lengthy compliance agendas, they do not position employees to think about the future impact or identify future risk issues.

Contributing to Metric Design

One area the HR professional can be a strong contributor to designing metrics. It is important to distinguish which metrics are truly adding value to the organization. Measuring for measurement’s sake is time-consuming and contributes to waste. To determine which metric should be used it is imperative to understand both the strategic initiatives of the department as well as the organization. Being familiar with the strategic initiatives is key to many HR processes such as performance reviews, job descriptions, and employee orientation. Lean Six Sigma models all depend on proper measurement systems and the HR professional may have already compiled useful data that can be used in these metrics.

Internal benchmarking is an area that many HR professionals understand. Internal benchmarking involves the process of comparing a specific operation within the organization to another operation. Although the two operations do not need to be exact they need to be similar. This process knowledge is very useful to the Lean Six Sigma project team. Identifying critical-to-quality factors (CTQs) is not vastly different than identifying items that are critical to employee satisfaction. Another a popular Lean Six Sigma model, SIPOC, where the Supplier, Inputs, Process, Output, and Customer is defined is not a great stretch for the HR professional. In the recruiting process, it is important to identify each of these areas to implement a successful program.

HR professionals also are astute at documenting best practices. This is another area where understanding the process is as important as understanding the subject matter. It is not unusual even in a structured Lean Six Sigma project for internal best practices to remain unidentified. This is usually because methods for communicating best practices do not exist. To be successful organizations must implement a process that promotes and rewards the sharing of ideas. This process may already exist in the HR department.

Scorecards: Another Way to Be Involved

Scorecards may be an area that the HR professional has experience designing. Scorecards are an accepted way to keep track of business success. A successful business scorecard would promote a balance between long- and short-term goals, between financial and non-financial measures, as well as between internal and external perspectives. Implementation of a scorecard system requires translating the vision into operational or financial goals. Although the HR professional may not have experience enterprise-wide, most are skilled at doing this type of measurement for their own departments. This experience benefits projects that use a scorecard system because there must be a commitment to a vision, a process and a communication plan to share with employees. Capitalizing on the HR professional’s abilities in this area a wise decision. The same competencies that allow a project manager to improve the quality and bottom-line results may backfire without the necessary people skills.

At first, it may be difficult for an HR professional to get the training necessary to be successful. There may not be a budget or a desire to formally educate administrative support staff. However, if the HR professional is part of a Lean Six Sigma organization, the solid experience can be gained by offering to do projects that capitalize on HR expertise.

Building Lean Six Sigma Competency Model

Offering to build a Lean Six Sigma competency model, for example, will not only serve to identify candidates with the right mix of technical and leadership skills, but it will also allow the HR professional to work closely with the project team.

Other areas that are a natural fit for an HR professional trying to gain Lean Six Sigma experience include developing Lean Six Sigma retention strategies and creating job descriptions. Developing a rewards and recognition program, although promoted in Lean Six Sigma, rarely has a serious process owner. It is important that the HR professional seek out opportunities to become involved. A proactive approach will be noticed and appreciated. Although Lean Six Sigma does require formal education and training, any hands-on experience will make the concepts easier to digest.

HR professionals also have the opportunity to use skills such as change management and leadership development. Acting as a resource and/or coach for Black Belts who encounter team-related problems will quickly build credibility. Sometimes the HR professional is positioned better to function as a liaison with Sponsors, leaders, and Champions than the project manager.

Helping Manage the Changes

Introducing Lean Six Sigma into an organization is a major change that will have a profound effect on a broad group of stakeholders. Managers and employees at many levels of the organization will be asked to engage in new behaviors. Those leading other initiatives may see Lean Six Sigma as a source of competition for resources, executive attention, and organizational power. There may be confusion over how Lean Six Sigma fits with a large number of ongoing organizational programs such as CMMI or ISO. Improvement does not happen without a plan. Most executives will state that people are their most important resource. It makes sense that quality initiatives and continuous improvement programs should be adopted and applied to the HR department.

The HR professional can help determine which functions to measure and which metrics to be used. They can provide education on applying realistic benchmarking and in compiling a workable scorecard. The HR professional can help reduce uncertainty and anxiety surrounding Lean Six Sigma and be a valuable resource to the Lean Six Sigma team.

HR professionals who are interested in studying and utilizing Lean Six Sigma methodology are an asset to any company. They have the ability to improve processes in their own department, serve as a role model, and assist in larger company projects.

The Road To Leaner: Part Eight

The Road To Leaner: Part Eight

When my late husband, Larry, retired from Northrop Grumman in the late 1990s he decided to start a company called Systems Service and Delivery with a couple of partners from NG. Originally, his company, was designed to do global mergers and acquisitions.

At Northrop, Larry, managed a group of roughly 600 people.  In this retirement effort he had plenty of contacts and ideas.  Almost immediately, he encouraged me to leave NG and join him in the effort.  But, I was of the mindset that someone must have the “real” job that offered things like 401(k) and medical benefits – – we both couldn’t be consultants. Was he crazy? I did agree that I want to spend more time in Denver and less time traveling which led me to that local job. But, after my new boss tried to kill me, I figured what’s the worst that could happen?  Sometimes it takes something drastic to make us change.

In the beginning, at Larry’s company, most of my duties for clerical and I had a few HR consulting clients.  On the business side of the business it seemed to me we mostly went to dinner, introduce people and then send them an invoice.  In the mid-2000s, things were starting to tank economically, but for a while we had a very good ride. Then, clients who were interested in acquiring small companies became consumed with the idea of tightening their belt.  This where my product came into play.

Larry had always hated HR and only half listening when I told him my story about Six Sigma.  But, one evening, when it was apparent that we would need to change directions if we want to stay in business, I was able to explain the entire theory of process improvement.  He was intrigued. I had been preparing for the necessary exams to teach the product and was almost finished. I thought that I’d just go back to work for a firm who taught the subject.  But he convinced me to try it at his company first since we already had clients.

In the early days, we just did traditional teaching and we handled Six Sigma just like everyone else.  There were lots of grueling hours teaching two days of statistics, another couple of days reading boring case studies and then another three weeks of methodology.  This system was well respected at the time and was known as waves of training. So, you marketed companies with Wave One, then Wave Two, and completed the training and Wave Three. These waves were separated by several weeks at a time.  This meant some people seeking a Six Sigma Green or Black Belt could be tied up in the training system for several months. I constantly met Six Sigma Green Belt candidates that had been trying to achieve their certification for a year to 18 months.

Our first attempt, at simplifying training, involved getting in a product called Lean.  It appeared when we blended Lean thinking with traditional Six Sigma methodology, everything was easier to teach and to understand.  There were already a lot of training vendors starting to get interested in the idea of Lean Six Sigma. However, the program that recognized waves of training continued so employers were still having to dedicate large amounts of time to get their employees trained up.

Our first product and copyrighted work was called Accelerated Lean Six Sigma.  We simplify the models and the statistics and came up with a different idea about training and capitalized on several adult training techniques.  About six years into the business, training Accelerated Lean Six Sigma became our core business and we rebranded as SSD Global solutions. It was an exciting time and I published several books and white papers. It was the right training at the right time.

Probably something that sticks in my mind more than anything else, is that when my husband passed, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to continue the business.  But, using the tools that my company has promoted for over a decade we continue to thrive.

Fast-forward to today, SSD has introduced Leaner Six Sigma©. This makes things even easier to get certified and start using the concepts immediately.  Although much of my HR work one-on-one with clients continues, most of the business focus is on this product. One thing I love about this methodology is that it can be used in your personal life as well.

There has been some interesting pushback from the community about making things easier, but I am convinced it is the only way to go and that Leaner is simply a better way to not only learn Lean Six Sigma but other topics as well.  When you think about it, Lean Six Sigma is just a clever problem-solving model that engages in critical thinking. I’m looking forward to seeing you next week and talking about some of the trials and tribulations my friends, students and colleagues have experienced during their Lean journey.  Have a great weekend!

The Road To Leaner: Part Seven

The Road To Leaner: Part Seven

So, I think I carried on long enough about my suspicion, that the new Global VP of HR was trying to kill me.  I will now offer proof of that suspicion. When the Global VP of HR was first hired, and we did my initial interview, I’ve already shared that he was not too impressed.  He did not get the idea behind process improvement – – after all, we are just the HR Department. Why would anyone invest in being better, faster or more cost-effective? This was an interesting theory since he was supposed to be our leader.

He never really took the time to understand what I did.  And, to be fair, by the time he came on board, I was doing several non-HR like activities. We were in the process of going public, having lost our first bid, and one of the requirements to go public was to be able to show that we had an Ethics program.  He put me on that project.

This required touching bases with some of our satellite offices and making sure they understood our ethics program once I developed it.  At first, I thought it was just his way of keeping me busy but the travel aspect and intrigued me enough in the idea of getting out of the office was even more appealing.

My previous travel for this company had been rather magical, Europe, Australia, Canada – – but the new responsibilities had me traveling to countries had not heard of.  Stop one was Angola. There is always something burning in Angola. Next up, was Qatar – – this was before all the pretty buildings were built and I was restricted to a compound. And, then finally, I was sent to Jakarta Indonesia where there was a riot outside my Marriott.  I was convinced he was seeking a country where I would contract malaria as my next assignment.

I should also mention that prior to these assignments, I had to have a series of shots against diseases I did not know existed.  Because we were trying to save money in the training budget – – a true joke when you consider at some of these job sites there were only four or five people who could have simply read the memo – – I also did not get optimum travel arrangements. On one flight, with an airline I had never heard of, people were joking “it’s the only way to die”. It was much later that I learned that in the Dominican Republic they always clap when the aircraft lands – – but then again, I did not know that at the time, so was more proof to me that he wanted me terminated – – and not just employment wise.

The Road To Leaner: Part Six

The Road To Leaner: Part Six

I worked at the psychiatric facility for about five years.  My title never changed. The entire time I was considered the Interim HR Director.  Because I was still a one-person show and was afraid hire a temp who might take my job, I worked long hours and learned almost everything you could about HR.  I changed my degree program from Education to HR as mentioned early

Our hospital was gobbled up by a larger group who offered me a position in Cleveland.  I thought about the possibilities, but Denver trumped Cleveland and I decided to look for work. I was almost immediately hired by a small local bank who was interested in building an HR department.  This seemed perfect for me and I stayed there a few years. Although my first meeting with the bank’s CEO did not go well. He explained to me that the cashiers at each of the banks handled all the HR responsibilities and that the only reason he was hiring a Director of HR was because his board was making him do so.

For a while, he put my office right next to his and I literally had no business.  We were all afraid of him and kept our distance. I sometimes wondered how I stayed so long working for a borderline bipolar individual, but I learned a lot and this foundation got me hired at BDM which became BDM International which was purchased by TRW which became TRW international and then my group was purchased by Northrop Grumman – but you have already heard that story. I think I had 15 different business cards saying the same thing differently.

There were some bizarre things that happened along the way but when I got to NG I became part of the executive HR staff. I was constantly asked what brought me to HR.  Some folks were nicer than others but the message was always the same “aren’t you too smart to be doing this?”. Back then, I was super committed to my career path and would defend it and explain why it was such an important department.  I still believe that HR is crucial to the company success, I would just like to see HR handled more like project management. There are so many tools in Lean Six Sigma that would make it HR department run better faster and more cost-effectively.

The Road To Leaner: Part Five

The Road To Leaner: Part Five

Okay, so I want to backtrack a bit from last week and explain how I even ended up in HR. HR and quality engineering are almost on separate sides of the continuum as far as career fields go.

Shortly after high school, I joined the military. After that, I went to school on the G.I. Bill. I always loved teaching.  I was still part of that women’s history where you were encouraged to be a teacher or a nurse; so, I received a lot of support when I decided to be an elementary school teacher.

Through a series of events much too tedious to explain in a blog, I came to Denver from Austin. This was in the late 1980s.  To teach school at the time in Colorado, employers were requesting an additional 12 to 18 months of school to do what I already had been doing for three years.  Since I was close to finishing my master’s degree in Education this seems like a totally ridiculous request. So, I took a job at a temp firm and decided to finish off my education and reenter the job market as perhaps an assistant principal.  Oddly, at the time, it was an easier job to get with my future credentials.

I had a couple of rather simple temp jobs where I mostly answered the phone and ordered croissants for the executive team.  When the temp service sent me out they would promise the employer that I was “really really smart and had a degree and everything”.  So purportedly, I got the higher-level admin jobs. I met some people and sometimes the responsibilities were easy enough I could study at my job.  It was very low stress and seemed perfect for someone who was working on their master’s degree. Even though they were temp jobs, I was often on the same assignment for several weeks at a time.

On my fourth assignment, with the agency, they sent me to be an HR secretary at a psychiatric facility. I explained to the temp firm I knew nothing about HR and wasn’t even technically a secretary – – unless they counted answering the phone and ordering breakfast.  But, they felt I could handle the assignment and I was sent anyway.

This HR department of one was being run by a woman who did not seem all that interested in being a director of HR.  Monster was in its early stages and she scanned the job boards constantly. It sounded like a miserable job and I was glad that I was just providing clerical support.  Then, one day, she literally threw her arms up in the air and walked out mumbling a few curse words.

I was called into the hospital administrator’s office and told I would just have to manage things until they found someone and that he was naming the Interim HR director.  I tried to explain that I was just a temp, but he just waved his hands and asked the secretary to get me out of whatever contract I was in. He then proceeded to offer me a salary five times that of an elementary school teacher. He assumed that I would not be in HR secretary if I didn’t know anything about HR, but he was wrong.  So, I learned the hard way and changed my master’s program to HR. This was a relatively new degree of the time and so they transferred most of my credits.

The Road To Leaner: Part Four

The Road To Leaner: Part Four

I presented the idea to the CEO that perhaps we could turn HR into a profit center.  He was intrigued and liked the idea. I told him I wanted to teach Six Sigma as part of our OD effort. And, I thought we could bring other companies who did not compete with us into the mix.  Their enrollment tuition would fund our own classes.

As enthusiastic as the CEO was at the time it was obvious the company was not going to give me funds to start this effort. Efforts rarely start themselves without seed money.

This is where I feel manifestation comes in to play.  Whereas I will not spend time, today, explaining why to think this is a powerful exercise, I did start thinking about what the differences would make to my company and maybe even other companies.

Almost immediately, I read about a grant offered by the Denver Office of Economic Development intended for increasing Quality.  I wasn’t exactly sure what that was but when I read about Quality Improvement, I realized that Six Sigma was an example of that type of program.  Even though the grant was earmarked for nonprofit, I think everyone else was confused by the terminology. So, I ended up getting the grant partially because I was the only one who applied for it.  It was that $110,000 that started everything.

For short time, I was the golden child of my company.  No one had ever secured a public grant for our company.  I was able to tell the story to lots of people and everyone said you know she will be taking the VP HR job as soon as the person is in the job retires.  So, I went back to life being good and I helped develop a Six Sigma program for my company. We did in fact, turn HR into a profit center, by selling classes to neighboring companies.  They even built me a classroom.

We saw some significant improvements that we were able to document.  And then, the worst thing in the world happened to me. I went on vacation.

The vacation was fine although I’ve had better.  I found myself in a country that should have been on the watch list, but I had not paid attention to the news. There’s a reason why the tickets were so cheap. Still, all in all, what I returned to was much worse than my time in Caracas.

The VP of HR had taken an office next to mine. She was huffy and puffy, and I soon learned that my company had hired a Global VP of HR.  He had been assigned the office on the third floor that she had been in for over ten years.

This moved everyone in the HR department down a notch and made it clear to me that they would soon be eliminating her role and not replacing it. There were rumors we were going public and it was obvious that during my absence things that happened that would make it almost impossible for me to assume the top position in the HR department.  

And, to make matters truly worse, I became convinced, over the next few months, that the new Global VP of HR wanted to kill me.

The Road To Leaner: Part Three

The Road To Leaner: Part Three

I really did stay awake at night thinking about Fast Company’s article “Why We Hate HR”. In my Northrop Grumman days, there were a lot of supervisors who would come to our HR offices to complain that “the people were broken.” In fact, the people being broken was the foundation for our profession.

I’m not exactly sure when I came to the realization that it was “the processes that were broken and not the people at all” but the article certainly set me on the right path.  I was not the only HR practitioner to be bothered by this article – – it became a hot topic in our HR community. Unfortunately, most of my HR contemporaries just took offense to the article and didn’t really see its merits.

It was almost a religious experience for me when I met a community of people, who believe the same way I did – – if we can figure out ways to improve the process, employees would rise to the occasion.  And, that, most people really did want to do a good job it’s just that the rules kept changing and the processes kept breaking.

It was with great amazement, that I stumbled into a science called Six Sigma methodology. I must admit, at first, I found it tedious and hard to understand.  (This was one of the reasons why later I started teaching my product Leaner Six Sigma because it makes everything easier to comprehend). But, originally Six Sigma was the only thing I had access to.  I loved the whole concept that if we eliminated variation and standardized things and processes were easier to understand that everything could be made better, faster and more cost-effective. This would include the perception that employees are broken.

The Road To Leaner: Part Two

The Road To Leaner: Part Two

As mentioned yesterday, after working at Northrop Grumman and achieving the title of OD director plenty of career opportunities opened for me that were local. Although Northrop Grumman had allowed me to domicile in Denver, even though technically I worked for the Washington DC office, I was traveling almost every week.  Telecommuting was in its early phases and so most every job I did require me to physically be there. My goal, of course, was not to eliminate travel altogether but to get to spend time where I lived.

I was hired by a local Denver firm who wanted to start a Training Department.  They had a budget and had hoped to develop department into a full-blown OD effort.  It truly was a perfect opportunity. I would be in line to replace the VP of HR. I was more-or-less promised informally that she was going to retire, and that HR would embrace all the components promoted by OD.  I had held a long belief that HR if they had a seat at the table, could change an organization to an incredible extent. People just needed to understand how powerful we could be! We would make important differences that would impact the bottom line.

I was still naïve and believed I was there for the employee.  I had not totally caught on, yet that HR is there for the company’s interest. After all, I had gone to several meetings at NG, who kept telling me we were there for the people and that people were their biggest asset.  Never mind, that when I asked for something that would directly benefit the people, I was mostly ignored. I retained the mindset that I serve the employees way past the time it should’ve been obvious that I did not.

Unfortunately, it didn’t appear I was being taken any more seriously, at my new job, than I was at my former company. The job was not the dream job I anticipated, but things were going well.  Jobs are never perfect, right? And, I was, I believed, headed in the right direction. Plus, I was sent to places such as Geneva, London, and Sydney. Naturally, I sent postcards to my friends at NG, who were under a traveling freeze. Life was good.  I really like Little Rock Arkansas especially their zoo, but Paris was better and seemed like a step up.

It was some time before I caught on, that the person I was destined to replace as the VP of HR, didn’t seem like she was going anywhere anytime too soon.  But I found things to occupy my time.

For several years, I had taught at Barnes Business College.  I rarely put it on my resume since the college went bankrupt.  It is rather hard to camouflage that you work for a business college that wasn’t listening to their own advice. But, I was getting bored at work, and the University of Phoenix offered me a part-time position in their graduate program for HR. So that kept me busy for a while.  Due to my travel schedule, I couldn’t always commit to their, then six-week class format, but I did enough to keep me convinced that HR was an important field. After all, there were people studying in hopes of getting a job like mine.

I was invited to become a board member of Colorado Human Resources Association.  During that time, I promoted the HR career field to many college students and people looking to switch jobs. I was told by several people that I had inspired them to change careers and join the ranks of HR practitioners.  I spoke at regional conferences on the subject and even wrote a book HR Concepts for Project Managers. And, then it happened.

I was happily traveling home and was at DIA  when I saw Fast Company had published an article called  “Why We Hate HR” Link: https://www.fastcompany.com/53319/why-we-hate-hr

This article had such an amazing impact that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I started questioning if I even wanted to be an HR practitioner if this is how the world felt about us.  I started wondering if HR, was simply a place for female executives to be kept under control. And, if OD was truly a serious science.  The article suggested, that HR professionals have long wanted a seat at the table, but once they have that seat they were ineffective. I had to admit to myself, that I did have a seat at the table and was interfacing with the organization on an international level, but no one truly listens to me.

The Road To Leaner: Part One

The Road To Leaner: Part One

For many years, I worked as a so-called “Executive Level HR practitioner”.  I think Northrop Grumman gave me the title because they ran out of titles. And, like many companies, I worked for they were very much into a hierarchy.

I originally worked for BDM international which was purchased by TRW and then again purchased by Northrop Grumman (NG). These companies had a romance with hierarchy as well.  But, it was not until I was with NG that I was truly exposed to the fact, that at my level, I was allowed a small plant in my office and a bronze looking trashcan. Those higher on the food chain were awarded by a similar office but their benefits included silver through gold items to decorate their office.  

Although I did basically the same work, my title kept changing and  I continued to do several things for the HR department. I handled employee relations, training, benefits, and eventually morphed into Organizational Development(OD).  My territory was not as exciting as my contemporaries. They were off to Paris, Madrid and even Morocco. My territory remained in areas such as Little Rock Arkansas, Oklahoma City, and Plainville Texas during my tenure with BDM/TRW/NG.

OD was rather new at the time and no one really understood what it meant.  But our stockholders wanted an OD person and obviously, that started with creating a steering committee, a policy, and a department because that’s how things are done in a defense firm. I was excited about the new opportunity and started taking classes and reading literature that might help me be the best OD practitioner ever!

But alas, not a lot changed.  I continued to work for the same group of people doing the same exact thing.  I was introduced, however, at least 30 different meetings that year as the Director of the new and improved OD Department. Since we never had an OD department, being introduced as new and improved, immediately help my credibility.  I was probably the most credible person assigned to OD in the history of defense who had no actual OD responsibilities.

Where is my job didn’t change much, my title, because I worked for a large defense firm, complete with a security clearance, many doors were open which led me to my next opportunity.  Of course, I had no idea, that at that next opportunity I would end up working for someone who was trying to kill me.