Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Close Encounters and HR

December 12, 2011

Today’s contribution to the HR Tailgate is by Amy Dillman

I had a close encounter of a deer kind.

I was traveling down the road, clear morning, clear view of the road that lied ahead.
I saw his friends first. They came up from the ditch to cross over the bridge. They pranced, they glided effortlessly and they made me smile seeing them this close to Christmas. Then I remembered I was in a car on my morning commute. No worries, I reacted appropriately. I slowed the car to about 40-45 mph. Hey, that’s slow for a lonely, wide open two lane highway in the flat prairie lands of central Illinois.

I glanced down the creek line to see them prancing along their merry way, but when I turned to glance the driver’s side, there he was. Dancer, or Prancer perhaps – I wasn’t getting an introduction – coming straight at my driver’s side.

Please stop. Please stop. Please stay on that side of the road, please don’t keep go….and then with one graceful, albeit powerful leap, he hurdled my car. All I saw was a belly and hooves in my rear view mirror. It was that scene straight out of Rudolph when you see the close up of them taking of for flight. “Holy cow, he cleared it”, I said. Well, maybe that’s not exactly what I said.

Now, I live in deer country and I know a lot of folks that have not had the near miss experience like I just did – they’ve taken direct hits and side impacts without warning.

So, it begs the question in a different context. When have you seen the wide-open road ahead only to be caught off guard by what comes, unexpectedly, at you from the side? If you’re like me, you’re a planner, a compulsive list maker and a scheduler. You plan your day, you plan your career and you plan your life. Then, somewhere along the way, you get sideswiped. You change careers, you get downsized, you get promoted but it comes with a moving package.

A good manager or employee can drive down a wide-open road with no obstacles along with way, but a great individual can manage what comes at them from the side. You can’t control Dasher, but how you handle the unexpected says a lot about you.

Amy R. Dillman, SPHR, is a Resource and Policy Analyst with the Department of Planning and Budgeting at the University of Illinois. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a master’s degree in Public Administration and Policy Analysis from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. She has been with the university in human resources and recruiting roles since 2001.

Amy is President-Elect for the Central Illinois HR Group (CiHRG), an affiliate of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).  Additionally, Amy serves as a classroom facilitator for her chapter’s PHR/SPHR certification study groups. She has been a SHRM volunteer at both state and national conferences.

An avid traveler, wanna-be-low-handicap golfer and occasional distance runner, Amy has a love for all things Vegas and finds her peace on the beach. She’s usually behind a camera, but you can find her on LinkedIn ( and on Twitter as @RhumbarFan.


Are you expecting steak or bbq?

February 2, 2011

 I was talking with a fellow HR pro the other day about organizational and culture change and the topic of time to enact change came up and some folk’s unrealistic expectations.  Way too many in the HR field and other business disciplines think it can be done in a relatively quick manner and be successful.

While cooking dinner the other night, I came up with a comparison related to the food theme of this current HR Carnival.  Too many expect a “steak” solution to the culture issues within a company.  Go to the store, pick up the best looking solution (steak) off the shelf, slap it on a hot grill….a few minutes later, problem solved.  That may be fine for a quick dinner but it is no way to change a problem that has been evolving for quite a while.

Because it is a much lengthier, complex and complicated situation, I compare the process to smoking meat or true bbq.   You must do research approaching the problem, talk to some experts on how to solve the problem, find some methods and tools to use and take a preliminary look at time line for the solution.  Smoking meat is similar in that first, you need to decide on the meat of choice.  Is it beef brisket, pork shoulder, whole turkeys?  Once that is decided, off to the butchers (experts) to pick out the best solution for the task. 

Once you have selected the meat, then it is time to look at the tools needed to get it to the desired completion.  Do you need a good seasoning rub (software)?  How about the wood you will use to create the smoke (training/focus groups)?  Then you also need to look at the size of the meat to determine an anticipated completion time.  Time to fire up the smoker and put the meat on.

Once the process starts, it is no time to ignore it.  You must monitor progress almost constantly.  Does it need more heat (pressure/more commitment from management), more water in the drip pan (additional resources), is it not cooking fast enough (more time to complete the project)?  The only way to tell is by checking the temperature on a regular basis.

Once the temperature is reached, you just don’t assume it is done.  You have to let the meat rest to let the seasonings/juices set.  If you assume it is ready and cut into it, you will lose a lot of flavor.  In a project, you can’t assume the results are what come immediately after completion.  You have to see if the results are what you need after letting it sink in.

Change is not a quick tasty process like a steak.  It is a much more complex process that takes time to develop the “flavor” that you expect in the end.