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Show Me the Money: What CMOs can Teach CHROs

I got a pitch the other day for some new research from the CMO Council. At first glance I started to trash it (I’m into marketing, but I’m willing to bet most of you aren’t!).

Then I took another look. I think the principles in the summary can shed some light on how HR pros can improve their position, make more money, and be seen as more competent overall. Got your attention? Read on!

CMO compensation is directly related to reporting structure. Those making more… are more likely to report directly to the CEO.

driving results

You have to be more innovative if you want more reward.

This one makes sense, but it’s a good reminder. Want to earn more? Work your way up until you’re reporting to the CEO. Or be good enough to become the CEO, but that’s another post for another day.

The highest paid CMOs have developed strong alliances with CIOs and CFOs.

Success in business is driven in part by the key relationships you develop. This applies to the HR function as well. Learn to connect with CFOs and other executives. Speak their language, earn some credibility, and put that network to use.

CMOs earning the highest levels of base compensation tend to be focused on driving business performance (e.g., top-line growth, market share, efficiencies, etc.).

Want to be successful long term in your role? Focus on driving business performance. The rest will take care of itself.

CMO base compensation is correlated with firm size. The larger the company, the more likely that the CMO will make more in base compensation and the more likely they will have bonus compensation.

Want to earn more money? Work for a larger company (and referring back to the first example, work for a larger company in the top tiers of management).

Digital marketing skills are important. CMO salary tends to increase as their firm’s digital marketing performance improves.

This is an easy one. The more value you can prove your function is bringing to the organization, the more you can command in terms of compensation. Have an HR mission statement that describes your aims and then make them happen.

Marketing titles (i.e., CMO, VP of Marketing, SVP of Marketing, etc.) don’t significantly correlate with base compensation.

Titles matter less than what you do. Your value is not in a title–it’s in your performance and the performance of your team.

Key accomplishments of the top earners… are centered on restructuring marketing to drive results, improving the yield/accountability of marketing, and building digital capabilities.

The top earners focus on results, not “the way things have always been done.” Improving capabilities, driving results in areas that are traditionally not seen as value add, and making tough choices are the activities that are rewarded. Keeping up the status quo not only isn’t rewarded–in many of these types of organizations I’d say it is probably weeded out.

So, what are your thoughts? Anything here that particularly rang true for you? Any action items that stepped on your toes to drive you to action? 

Source: http://www.cmocouncil.org/press-detail.php?id=4882

The Affordable Care Act: Something to Appreciate

If you’re an in-the-trenches HR pro, the Affordable Care Act has brought multiple emotions to bear: frustration, worry, and more. I know exactly how it feels, but I have also come to appreciate a particular side effect of the law.

The “good old days”

The creepiest thing I could find referencing the ACA online.

The creepiest thing I could find referencing the ACA online.

Five or ten years ago, the benefits administrator for a fully insured organization would receive a rate renewal notification from the insurance company with the new premiums for the coming plan year. In most cases, that rate was set in stone and the organization had to grin and bear it. We’ve been over the ACA health insurance premium increases before, but that’s not what we’re focusing on today.

I was speaking with a friend earlier this week about some changes his organization’s leadership team is debating related to health insurance for employees. There was a time in the past where this type of internal discussion would have made me a little uncomfortable; however, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, it would be crazy not to spend some time talking about how the market is changing, what trends are evident, and how to develop a strategy for moving forward.

The single most important result of the ACA is this: perspectives are finally changing.

Click here to continue reading about the best change as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The Best College Degrees are Ones You Don’t Have to Explain

I received a press release recently titled “Corporate Recruiters Suggest Most Marketable College Degrees.” Okay, I’ll bite.

Tell me this revelation.

Enlighten me as to what degrees are the most marketable.

Who knows, maybe they know something I don’t? Here’s the list:

  • Computer Science
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Business and Marketing
  • Communications with a writing focus

college degreeWell, I can’t say I’m surprised in the least. Despite colleges offering degrees in puppetry, pop culture, or the Beatles (yes, really), the list above is not very surprising.

When students come to me asking what they should major in, I tell them to find something they are interested in that others in the marketplace will value. Note that I don’t encourage them to pursue German music or art history. Just because it interests you doesn’t mean it will help you to find a job, earn a living, and all that jazz. It needs to also satisfy a need in the marketplace. Hello, economics 101.

The title of this post says it all. If I have a degree in computer science, you know (generally) what I have learned and what I should be capable of. Same goes with accounting, marketing, business, etc.

If you have to spend ten minutes explaining what your degree is in or how you’ll use it, then it might be time to reconsider.

Then again, maybe you should just skip the degree and get to work. In this rant I talk about the myth of “giving back” and how it’s critical to teach students how to become productive citizens primarily. College isn’t a requirement, and many believe we have too many college graduates as it is.

According to the BLS, only 27 percent of us need college degrees for our jobs. Yet, 47 percent of the workforce currently has a college degree. This 14.9 percentage point difference equates to 21 million overqualified degreed workers in a workforce of 140 million; or the size of the 2013 fall postsecondary enrollment.

If these data are taken at face value, given an expected class of 2.1 million new first-year college students each year in the nation’s colleges and universities — at least from an economic point of view — we should consider shutting the nation’s two and four-year colleges down for the next 10 years to absorb the existing surplus of graduates. Source: PBS

In addition, there’s the crazy ongoing issue of these kids graduating with an average of $35,000 in student loan debt. Some really good insights on that topic (and how to avoid it for your own kids) are found here.

Food for thought.

Now let me get back to my studies. I’m trying to wrap up a course in shipwreck archaeology…

How High Will You Climb (Book Review)

For some, attitude presents a difficulty in every opportunity; for others, it presents an opportunity in every difficulty. -John Maxwell

Recently I received a copy of How High Will You Climb: Determine Your Success by Cultivating the Right Attitude by John Maxwell to review, and I had to stop for a second. I’ve heard many great things about John Maxwell, but I have never really read one of his books cover to cover. I’m a big believer in attitude determining results, so this seemed like the right book to jump into. Below you’ll find some of my notes and highlights as well as a recommendation on whether or not you should invest in your own copy.

Notes from How High Will You Climb

how high will you climb book coverThe premise of the book is that your attitude determines your altitude. If your attitude is excellent, your altitude (results) will be as well. If your attitude stinks, you can expect similar results.

  • Testing… Testing… Not sure where you stand right now? Here’s how you do a quick attitude check: do you feel the world is treating you well? How you perceive the rest of the world will affect the ultimate results you receive. Note: this is very similar to the locus of control theory post I did previously. Good stuff.
  • 88% of success is… The Stanford Research Institute says that the money you make in any endeavor (which I translate as a measure of success) is determined only 12.5% by knowledge and 87.5% by your ability to deal with people. Those interactions with people aren’t a “nice to have” addition to the deal–they are the deal. Make them worthwhile and it will pay off for you in the long run. In a word: serve. Be willing to serve others with no expectation that it will come back around. And then if/when it does, you’ll appreciate it that much more.
  • Stop hugging the trunk and get out there where the fruit is. There was a great analogy about risk aversion and a lack of success. If you want to have/be/do something worthwhile, you’ll have to inject some risk into your life. Try that class you’ve been considering. Take up that hobby you left behind. Try something new and exciting. Get away from the trunk and get to the fruit. It’s waiting for you.
  • Proclaimer… (Hint: it’s like a disclaimer, but I’m proud enough to make it a proclaimer instead. Yeah, I’m nerdy.) This book is faith-based, but that faith is what makes people like us (the author, me, and millions of others) tick. Some people are motivated purely by relationships, others by money, fame, etc. I’m motivated to do my best because it’s what I’m supposed to do. And that service thing I mentioned earlier in the post? That’s a big part of it. I’m not a great guy. I’m just a guy. But because of my faith, I have the opportunities to do great things to make the world a better place. ‘Nuf said.

Closing Thoughts

So, if any of the thoughts, notes, and ideas above appeal to you on some level, this is probably a book you’d enjoy. It’s quite short. Not quite enough to finish in one sitting, but within a day or two you can walk away with your own key takeaways.

Anyone else read it? What are your thoughts? Any thoughts on John Maxwell in general? 

Analytics Driven by Business Accountability

Analytics in the business world serve many purposes, and a survey by the American Management Association uncovered the top five reasons business leaders say analytical skills are necessary today.

Which of the following create the greatest need for analytical skills in your organization?

  1. Accountability for results 67.0%
  2. Competitive environment 61.6%
  3. Complexity of business environment 52.6%
  4. Increase in customer data 51.3%
  5. Risk management 50.7%

business analytical skillsI found the results intriguing, because while we say we need accountability first and foremost within our organizations, many leaders often do a poor job of actually communicating that need. Oh, they’ll tell people they need to be accountable, but when it comes down to time to measure performance, they’ll think about things that don’t really tie into accountability for results. Having analytics to drive those sorts of decisions will be a positive overall; however, it will also mean that leaders and managers can no longer rely on other unimportant “measures” of performance.

  • Bob has been in the office for fifty or sixty hours a week for the past few months. He must be doing a good job. [Is it possible that he's just horrible at managing his time/workload?]
  • I know she doesn’t write well, but Mary responds to emails 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She’s really dedicated. [If she's not sending out the right message, maybe "number of emails sent" isn't a good measure of her performance?]

In some positions, it’s relatively easy to measure outcomes (sales, for example); however, in others it’s more difficult. For instance, how do you tell your administrative assistant to be “nicer?” Can you quantify that? How do you get an engineer to work “harder?” Those subjective measures are a pain for managers to enforce and a pain for employees to have to ascertain. You need to give them some actual targets to strive for that they understand.

ROWE me, baby

I had a discussion recently with some friends about the ROWE (results only work environment) movement, and it was quite an interesting conversation. A ROWE is a workplace where you work when, where, and how you want, as long as you meet your business objectives/goals. It sounds nice, and I love the idea, but it’s not necessarily easy. The key to making this work is holding each person accountable not for how many hours they log in the office, how long their butt is in the chair, or how long they are logged into their work computer; it’s about the results they accomplish. Again, it sounds like an excellent idea, but managers quickly become anxious at the thought of removing some of the traditional barriers and measurements for employees, even though in the long run the focus is to get employees to focus on the one thing that actually matters: results! This conversation keeps leading me back to accountability, and I’d like to share a few resources with you on that front in case you, like those who answered this survey, are interested in moving toward a culture of accountability.

4 accountability examples, ideas, and suggestions

  1. How many times have you heard a leader in real life or fiction demand: “I don’t care how you do it. Just get it done!” Many times, organization charts and job descriptions push people to perform a set of tasks. This mindset leads people to believe that if they perform their functions they’ve done what they’re supposed to do, whether or not the result was achieved. Effective leaders operate on the premise that their people must focus on achieving results. They lead and inspire them to pursue results by creating an environment that motivates them to ask, “What else can I do?” over and over until the results are achieved. They manage their people so that their “job” is to achieve results. Each person’s daily activities must be in alignment with the targeted results.
  2. In the book Turn the Ship Around, we learn about David Marquet and his attempt to remove the leader/follower model from the operation of the submarine he commanded. When he first took command of the ship, nobody was held accountable for anything, which correlated with the ship’s poor performance record. He began taking steps to give people accountability and oversight of their own areas, freeing him up to be a commanding officer instead of a 24/7 manager of minute details. It’s a great book if you are interested in seeing how other leadership/management approaches work.
  3. Several years ago I wrote about asking better questions to get better results. It’s still one of the most popular pieces, and for good reason. People are hungry for ways to help drive accountability within their organizations, and simply asking different questions is an easy way to start moving into that sort of mindset. More here: Asking Questions at Work.
  4. Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton often talk about the data that drives great companies and great teams. After researching extensively, they developed a model that described how the best managers led their teams. The key elements? Goal setting, trust, communication, recognition, and accountability. So not only is it something that helps on a personal level, it also helps managers to get the most out of their teams! More of this found in The Orange Revolution.

 Wrapping up

Back to the study, I would be interested to hear your feedback on some of these items. Do you see any of these five areas playing a part in a need for analytical skills within your organization? Why or why not? What drives accountability in your organization? Is that driver toward an accountable workforce actually getting results?

What’s Up at Brandon Hall Group?

So it’s been a few months since I started working at Brandon Hall Group, and some of you have been asking me what I’ve been up to. Today I’ll talk a bit about what kind of work I’m doing and some of the things we have going on that are noteworthy.

What I dojames bond hr analyst

So I’m an HR analyst.

If you’re in the trenches, that probably doesn’t really mean a lot.

I’d like for you to think I’m the HR version of James Bond, but in reality there’s a lot more computing than handguns in this field.

My daily work is involved in doing research and capturing best practices and concepts to share with the clients of Brandon Hall Group. Some of the items are shard out publicly in blogs and other formats, but a good bit of it is reserved for members.

Over the past few months I’ve been helping with our awards case studies, and we’re gearing up for our 20th awards ceremony, which is pretty amazing. There’s more to share (probably in a future blog post), but I wanted to take a moment to look at two of the big upcoming items that I’ll be supporting at BHG–the 20th annual Excellence Awards Program and the first annual Excellence Conference. Plus we have a big announcement coming soon that is going to rock the world of talent research–I’m pumped about that one!

The conference

I’ll be in beautiful Fort Lauderdale January 28-30 to kick off the first ever HCM Excellence Conference. We’re working on the agenda, sponsors, etc. and it’s going to be a killer event. My friend and coworker, Trish McFarlane, will be working with me to present an “unconference” session during the event, so that’s certainly going to be fun. We’re also pulling in award winners (see details below on the awards) to lead sessions on how to do that “HR thing” well.

For more information on the HCM Excellence Conference, click here.

The awards

What hits me about these awards as a practitioner is that so many of you out there are doing some innovative things, whether in learning and development, performance coaching, leadership development, mentoring, or other areas. I’d encourage you to check out the awards to see if anything you’ve worked on recently might be a candidate for one of the awards we give. I’d love to have some of you participate!

Here’s the marketing copy:

Brandon Hall Group’s Excellence Awards Program, now entering its 20th year, is the most prestigious awards program in the industry.  Often times called the “Academy Awards” by Learning, Talent and Business Executives, the program was one of the first of its kind in the learning industry, which was pioneered in 1994.

The Excellence in Technology Awards Program receives applications from leading organizations within Human Capital Management from around the world and recognizes the ‘best of the best.’    You can select from forty-nine categories within Human Capital Management technologies.

Winners Receive

  • Recognition at Brandon Hall Group’s Annual Excellence Conference
  • Discounted Excellence Conference Pass Rates
  • One plaque per winning entry
  • A digital logo that you may use in any way you wish
  • A Brandon Hall Group issued press release announcing the winners
  • Live online announcement event and inclusion in promotional mailings
  • Recognition on Brandon Hall Group’s web site
  • Recognition on Brandon Hall Group’s social communities – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Entries may be included in Brandon Hall Group’s blogs
  • Feedback and scoring on your entry at the request of the organization
  • Entries may be included in Brandon Hall Group’s publications when appropriate and with approval
  • Opportunities to be highlighted in industry webinars

More details of the entering process are located on our website here: http://go.brandonhall.com/excellence_in_technology

The entry deadline is September 12th, so if you think your company has what it takes, I’d definitely encourage you to get involved. If you have further questions about applying please reach out to awards@brandonhall.com or join the upcoming webinar on August 6th at 1:00 pm EST:  http://go.brandonhall.com/technology-trends-and-excellence-awards

Thanks for sticking with me. Talk with you soon!

Managing Change Doesn’t Happen by Accident

I can still remember sitting at home watching a movie as part of my change management class. The movie?

change managementLean On Me, featuring Morgan Freeman.

Freeman plays the character of the “turnaround principal” of a failing school. His job was to step into the school and reverse the negative trends that were plaguing the students and teachers. He wasn’t always nice and friendly, but he got the job done and in the end, people respected him and the work he accomplished. Check out this short clip for a glimpse of his management style:

Thinking about change management is something I do fairly often. Most of what we do in the HR profession revolves around initiating, communicating, and managing change. That’s probably why I was so surprised when I looked at the results of the Brandon Hall Group 2014 Talent Management Systems Study.

According to the data 23% of respondents did not create any type of change management plan to assist with implementing a new talent management system. Wow. In this Brandon Hall Group blog I write about some of the ways to approach change management with a “people” focus as well as some essential elements of a good change plan. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on the topic!

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