Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ramblings from the Road

Well, I am sitting at the Orlando Airport after attending the HR Florida conference for the second year in a row.  My head is stuffed full of ideas, energy and renewed passion for the HR profession.  I will be writing on these learnings/lessons over the next few weeks.

It was great to meet all of my fellow bloggers and Tweeps!  I big shout out to Laurie Ruettimann, Franny Oxford, China Gorman, Mike VanDervort, Kathy O'Reilly, Trish McFarlane, William Tincup, Sean Conrad, Steve Boese, Mark Stelzner and Jennifer McClure (CincyRecruiter).  It is so important to connect and be a part of your profession.  Whether you are an internal HR professional or an external HR consultant...a network is a terrible thing to waste.

I have been intellectually challenged over the last few days, here are some interesting observations/learnings/lessons from the conference:

1) Laurie Ruettimann posed the question about, "Why don't we have better leaders today, in the 50's and 60's we had a command and control type of leadership and we were a growing nation.  Now, we have focused on different leadership development programs and we are no better off...what's up with that?  Click here for discussion on the subject here.

2) Should integrity be an organizational value, competence or just a table stake for organizations, given the failures of leadership over the last few years?  China Gorman, Sean Conrad and I discussed this topic and others on HR Happy Hour with Steve Boese and others.

3) I learned that HR leaders have the intellectual muscle to be strategic and they WANT to be strategic.  The only piece that is missing is the HOW.  Once you start the discussion, the answers and ideas flowed.  I was energized by this, because we as HR professionals have struggled in this area for so long.  I will be writing on this subject as it is near and dear to my heart.

4) What's Next for HR?  China Gorman and Dave Ulrich discussed this topic.  Themes like a continued focus on leadership development, begin the rebuilding of the employer brand (even working with marketing to do so), put the customer's perspective in everything we do in HR, like hiring, training, and culture development.

5) Social media is not going away and it is far bigger this year than last year!  At last year's conference I believe there was one session on social media and a small tweetup.  This year there were many sessions on the topic and we had a large tweet up sponsored by Monster.  There are so many applications for HR professionals, embrace it, leverage it...but please don't ignore it.

Thanks HR Florida, I am a very happy customer!


Rita Wilson Harris said...

Cathy - Glad you had an inspiring trip to the conference. Cannot wait to hear more.

Debbie said...


Wow! Sounds like you had a fabulous time. We also had a lot of good information and networking shared at the SHRM GA State Council Leadership Conference last weekend. I'm sorry you weren't able to attend, and hope you can join us next year.

You are right, there is a lot changing and HR needs to be creativly innovating about how to make our internal and external customers happy - and social media is certainly going to be a part of that. Our conference as well was full of these discussions.

But I'm wondering - when the conferences are over, and everyone gets back to the pile of work that's waiting and their day-to-day demands, how do we keep that momentum, energy and passion for the professional we love? Somehow we need to figure out how to infuse some "booster shots" in between conferences. The networks are important, yes, but the personal interactions and energies are so igniting.

Glad you had a great experience.

With a smile,

Unknown said...


I love that idea of booster shots. I can tell my creativity is elevated and I feel the juices flowing. I hope to join you next year at the Council's conference.

I am going to Chicago in a few weeks to speak at the HR metrics Summit, so I will get BOOSTER then.

Hopefully in between we can keep the conversations going through social media!

Have a great Labor Day!


Steve Boese said...


It was fantastic to meet you and to get some time to talk about some of these interesting and important topics on the HR Happy Hour show. Thanks so much for participating and sharing your insight and expertise with all of us.

Looking forward to the next time!

Unknown said...


It was awesome to meet you and your show was so fun! I am a fan! Have a great Labor Day and I will see you next time.


China Gorman said...

Cathy: what an honor to be a guest with you on the great HR Happy Hour show and how great to finally meet you! I think we are kindred spirits and I am sure our paths will cross again soon. Thanks for the great discussion on integrity as a corporate value. I'd love to get you and me and Dave Ulrich in a room to really tear that one apart. And thanks for the shout out on your blog.

Unknown said...

Hi China:It was a pleasure to meet you and ditto the kindred spirits! I would love to keep the conversation going. Can't wait to hear where your next opportunity lands you. Have a great Labor Day!

Michael said...


I am so glad that you enjoyed the HR Florida Conference experience. We worked really hard this year to put on a good experience, and to include social media through out.

One of the reasons for the partnership with Voice of HR was to help create that "booster" shot you described.

By continuing the dialogue through the #hrfl10 hashtag, we can extend our discussions and ideas.

I have some other ideas that would also help there and will hopefully be announcing something soon!

Stay in touch, and come back to Florida any time!