On June 20, I announced to the world through this blog, email and wherever else people would listen that I was in the process of transition out of corporate HR. My goal wasn’t to leave the work of Human Resources, but to better align my work with what I do best.
As I suggested I would, I’ve done a lot of self-reflection to guide my decision on what’s next. Here’s what I learned. I am great at creating HR strategy and solving HR problems—particularly those related to talent. I have a knack for helping talented people find the courage to get out of their own way so they can unleash their talent on the world. I am also pretty good at facilitating senior level teams of experienced, smart people through strategic processes and discussions, particularly when it relates to talent, leadership and making teams work more effectively. And, people tell me I’m a really good speaker and writer.
When I stepped back and took a look at this, it seemed pretty obvious that I should go all in on a career in consulting and speaking. This really wasn’t a discovery, but more of a reinforcement of what I already knew. So, the BIG questions for me became how to transition into consulting and who to do it with.
The decision ultimately led me to a friend and mentor who I have known for a long time, Cy Wakeman. For those of you who may not know Cy, she’s been successfully consulting and speaking for over fifteen years. Last year, she published a terrific book titled Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace and Turn Excuses into Results. In the book, she lays out her philosophy for getting leaders and individuals out of their stories and into the truth of their reality so that they can achieve tremendous results in their life and career. Said another way, it’s a roadmap for making yourself and your organization bulletproof to your circumstances.
Cy and I first worked together when I hired her as a consultant years ago to help me build and deploy a talent management system at the company I worked for at the time. Our working relationship was different than most client consultant relationships. We were clearly kindred spirits and when we worked together, we produced some really amazing results. Cy has also been instrumental in coaching me through my early transition into corporate HR and she really helped me develop as a leader throughout my career. Through all of this, we became great friends.
When Cy found out that I was leaving the bank, she was among the first to reach out to me to talk about the future. I think we had always known that we would work together again someday; it was just a matter of when. I actually started working with Cy on a project basis back in early June to lead the development of a new product based on her work (more on that in a moment). Through the work on this project, we both came to the conclusion that this partnership needed to be more than temporary.
So, I’m really excited to announce through this long-winded blog post that Cy and I are launching a new consulting practice together. This new consultancy will be called Bulletproof Talent. We will help organizations implement reality-based leadership principles within their organizations through speaking, training and coaching. We will also help companies to deliver better, more reality-based HR and talent strategies and solutions.
Probably the thing that we are both most excited about is that we will be launching a new product in October of this year that will redefine how organizations think about employee engagement. A cornerstone of Cy’s leadership philosophy is that personal accountability is the foundation of becoming bulletproof. As leaders, we need to stop spending time and energy on our victim employees who expect us to perfect their circumstances before they will give us the gift of their mediocre work. Instead, we should invest heavily in our employees who are most personally accountable because they deliver great results, no matter what. When you adopt this line of thinking, the traditional employee engagement survey doesn’t make a lot of sense, because it treats every employee opinions as equal. When you do that, how do we know if we are working to engage the best or the worst of our employees?
The project I’ve been leading for Cy is to develop a tool that solves this problem. We call the approach Reality-Based EngagementTM. Reality-Based Engagement is designed to finally deliver on the promise of employee engagement by measuring the personal accountability of each individual employee who completes the survey. Each response is then appropriately weighted. The volume gets turned way up on the responses from those who are most personally accountable. And the volume gets turned way down on those stuck in an entitled victim mindset. This enables CEO’s, leadership teams and strategic talent managers to ensure that the time and money they invest in engagement is impacting their very best employees. Finally, the engagement survey can truly deliver results to the bottom line.
I am incredibly excited about this product because it treats engagement in a way that will make sense to a CEO and the executive suite. It’s not about engaging every employee. It’s about engaging the best employees. If you are in the market for an employee engagement survey, I’d love to talk to you about this approach. We use our accountability measurement tool combined with an industry best engagement measurement tool.
So, I’m excited to announce the creation of Bulletproof Talent. Stay tuned for more details in the upcoming weeks and months (website, etc.). For those of you wondering, I will still continue my work with Talent Anarchy and Joe Gerstandt. We will continue to write and speak and wreak havoc together. But, my consulting work with clients will flow through Bulletproof Talent. This move finally allows me to bring all aspects of my life into synergy with one another. And I’m stoked about it.
Thank you to those of you who have been so supportive and encouraging during this process. I am very fortunate to have a great network of friends and colleagues that help propel me forward.