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This may seem like a funny thing to hear employment lawyers say, but now more than ever it is time for Human Resources to truly exhibit HeaRt. Our capitalization and bolding of the word heart are intentional because as the great Michael Scott would say, “HR is in the word.”
The last few years have been tough for all of us. We have been socially isolated more than normal. We dealt with the fear of contracting a virus that for a lengthy period was largely unknown. We faced tough decisions about layoffs and reductions in pay. We faced the fear of losing our jobs. We have faced the fear of the unknown. We dealt with unrest and tragedies throughout the country. We went through a toxic election season. This has not been an easy few years.
Like or not our HR professionals have been handed the task of steadying the ship and calming the waters for their employees. Too often, HR is viewed as the “bad guy” or the “principal’s office” and for better or worse, HR must often take on the disciplinarian role. But it is times like this when HR professionals can demonstrate that they are more than just the disciplinarians. They are more than just the policymakers. They are more than just payroll and benefits. HR can show that they are the lifeblood of a company and that they are there to serve their employees and be a source of comfort and support.
Now is the time to open your door and be a willing listener, even if the conversation is personal in nature. Now is the time to provide those happy moments to your staff. Now is the time to celebrate milestones and wins.
No one said that being in HR is easy. In fact, it may be one of the hardest jobs out there. But it can just as easily be one of the most fulfilling. So, we say to you…open your HeaRt and fill your cup. You’ll be glad you did.
Dustin A. Paschal
Simon | Paschal PLLC
I had the benefit this past week of attending our company’s National Sales and Marketing Meeting in Kansas City and it was such an unexpected blessing! Although I have always understood the value of recognition, this week has taught me even more about how crucial showing appreciation to your people is to both your company as well as you as a leader!
As Gallup tells, the #1 reason most people leave their jobs is a lack of recognition. We as leaders should strive to find ways to recognize our team members frequently for both the big and small things. This week we heard not only the small and big wins of the sales and marketing teams, but more than anything, the genuine care and concern that each leader has for their people and helping them succeed. I heard about so many weddings, kid accomplishments, milestone birthdays, vacations, and memorable stores all from the leaders as they celebrated their teams on stage. It was evident that those leaders have taken the time to KNOW their people and that means more to people than anything else!
As we think through all our roles in life – spouse, mom/dad, brother/sister, friend, employee, leader, volunteer leader, member of an association, and many others, EXPERIENCE matters more than we all take the time to realize. People in all those different roles want to be seen, known, and cared for as a person and not a number or person that is helping you succeed. When we take the time to stop and recognize someone for the behaviors we want to encourage, we will see those behaviors grow and spread. In addition, when employees or members of an association feel recognized, they stick around! Attraction and retention are harder than ever before and much of that starts with thanking our people. You would be surprised at how a simple thank you fosters an atmosphere of trust and trust leads to connection which leads to retention.
Here are some quick and simple things you can do TODAY to begin recognizing your people better:
I hope this encourages you to be better and celebrating your people – it’s not as common as you think and SO EASY! Let’s all start today friends!
By Holly Novak - Chief People Officer for Jack Henry and Assistant State Director - Core Leadership Areas for Texas SHRM
This blog is sponsored by Eleserv.
Time is fleeting… I was recently reminded about this at the Texas SHRM spring meeting in El Paso, when speaker Lisa Rueth shared the date 1997 and asked do you remember when, then how about 10 years later in 2007, then 10 years later in 2017 as she showed the difference in technology flip phones to touch screen. The session was about transitioning during change. We are all in transition – in fact, she shared the term “transition leaders” which I found really interesting. There is one thing we can all agree on about change, it never changes. There is always something changing ahead. How are we embracing it? How can we become a “Transitional” leader?
She then mentioned some of the ways to develop as a transition leader…
But, what really got my attention was the “transition cycle” she shared that we all experience during change.
Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter > Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter > Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter > Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter > Catalyst > Builder > Maintainer > Disrupter >
It’s a continuous loop of change… When we face change, we need to find our lane or the cycle we are in and work through the transition during change. I really get getting energized in the “catalyst” stage sharing ideas with others and dreaming of the possibilities and then find myself enjoying the builder stage. I thrive in this area and always look for ways to build something that will make impact… I often get stuck in the maintainer stage even thought its comfortable, I know disruption is just ahead, which can cause a lot of pain… Rick Robinson, our LeadHRs program facilitator likes to say “there is no gain without pain”. So, it’s a good thing - right? As we go through the cycle, let’s remember that when we get to changing stages in the cycle, that change is ahead. And when we are in a good place in the cycle, change is ahead. Here are a few questions I thought about that might help us move through the cycle.
In our company, we have recently implemented some new technology which is putting us in the builder stage – but it is also in the “disrupter” cycle for me. I will need to learn something new and it’s going to take some work to get there. I know there will be short term pain, but there will be a long-term gain. I remember in 2020 when I moved over to use our virtual survey technology for us to practice safe distance moving services. It was super painful to learn the technology early, but the long-term gain has been fruitful because it elevated the experience for everyone involved – most importantly our customers.
Recently, I have been thinking about my health and exercise routine and how I might be in the maintainer stage and how I might need to disrupt the cycle to make more progress. It’s painful to change – but when we embrace change, it makes us all better. What about our Texas SHRM local chapter board meetings? How about our education and event planning? Are we focused on the member experience? What stage are we in today? Change is coming – are you ready to be a transitional leader?
Quote of the Day: “Transition is when the old way is no longer working, but the new way is not yet known.” Lisa Rueth
Call to Action: What stage are you in? Share with your team members and some of the challenges you are experiencing. It might help to calm or accelerate the change ahead!
Want to learn more about Texas SHRM? Visit our website here – and come join us!
written by Bruce Waller, Texas SHRM, Director of Leadership Development
By Dustin Paschal
Earlier this month, I was on the ballot in my municipality’s local school board election. I ran for an open seat, and I spent the last six to seven months campaigning. Campaigning cost me money, time from my friends and family, time away from work, and time away from my other volunteer activities. I was happy to do it, though, because I felt like I could make a difference, and I felt that this was a place I could give back. I lost. Since this was a school board election, I also lost very publicly.
News flash – this was not the first time I have lost. I lost an election for a student leadership position in college. I lost a moot court competition my first year in law school.
I lost out on several jobs coming out of law school. As a practicing attorney early in my career, I lost an election for an executive leadership position on the young lawyer board. I have lost hearings and trials. Right about now, you are probably wondering how I have any clients at all with this kind of record.
Well, I have had plenty of wins too. After the loss in college, I joined a different organization and ultimately became its president. After the moot court competition loss, I entered the competition the following year and made it into the Top 10 of individual speakers. I have won hearings and trials. More importantly, I have a successful law firm and in a few short months we will celebrate our nine-year anniversary.
Losing is a fact of life. I have yet to meet anyone in my life who has not lost something.
In fact, after my recent election loss, two well-respected mayors told me stories about their early election losses.
Since we are in the middle of Mental Health Awareness month, talking about loss seems particularly important.
I did not and have not always lost gracefully and losing has often caused me pain. I am here to tell you; it is okay to be hurt by loss.
While losing is a fact of life and losing may hurt, losing is worthwhile if you learn from it and grow from it.
Losing is a lesson. To make it worthwhile, though, you must examine the loss and determine what the lesson is.
Did you take the wrong approach?Did you make mistakes along the way?Were you ready for the challenge?Are you in the wrong career/industry/volunteer organization?Did you have the right people around you?Can you make a bigger difference somewhere else or by doing something else?Is this the right time?
Losing does not always mean that you did something wrong or made the wrong choices. Sometimes, there are circumstances beyond your control and factors at play that are outcome determinative. It is important to acknowledge that and accept that. Sometimes, losing is a gentle nudge to push you in another direction or to encourage you to chase that dream.
It is just as important, though, to determine where you did make mistakes so that you can correct those moving forward.
As Frank Sonnenberg says, “Practice doesn’t make perfect if you’re doing it wrong.”
It is also critical that you do not let the loss define you and that you do not get mired in the pain. I have always found that I am more driven and more motivated after a loss. After the initial pain, there is a fire in my belly to achieve. I encourage you to use your loss as kindling to light your own fire.
Losing can make you stronger and more resilient.
Losing can make you a better person.
As odd as it sounds, I hope that I never stop losing and I hope you feel the same about your life.
By Holly Novak
We’ve endured numerous hardships since early 2020, and I imagine everyone would say their mental health has been impacted, whether minor feelings of being down all the way to severe depression, anxiety and other mental health impacts. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Nataly Kogan this past week who is the author of a wonderful book titled The Awesome Human Project – Break Free from Daily Burnout, Struggle Less, and Thrive More in Work and Life. One of the most powerful statements that Nataly shares is that “you can’t give what you don’t have.” As a recovering perfectionist and extreme extrovert, I have spent most of my life looking for ways to please those around me and assure that I am exceeding all expectations at work, home, church, and with my friends. Over time, I have realized that finding that work life balance is an impossible task, and that if I don’t stop and take the time to care for myself, I cannot care well for those around me.
I have discovered that there is no true “work life balance”. Work is a subset of life, not separate from it- especially since many of us work where we live and live where we work! We integrate our work into our hobbies, family and friends, and our life. Just as we integrate work into our lives, we also must integrate self-care and give ourselves permission to step away and find ways to refresh and find ways to increase our mental, physical, and emotional energy. Nataly also says that “Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s your responsibility to yourself, your work, the people you care about and your community.”
There’s a lot of amazing tips out there (check out Nataly’s book), but here are some things that I have learned personally as I work through my own journey towards self-care and balance. First, I have to have music while I am working. No clue why, but it helps my brain and reduces stress and anxiety throughout the day. Second, I do my hard things at the beginning of the day while my brain is still fresh and save the easy things like email for when my low time comes around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I also get up and walk away from my desk at least once an hour to give my eyes and brain a rest, and I try to walk outside if possible. Exercise is key for me, and I have to get in a good workout at least 3-4 times a week and eat healthy which helps with my stress level and also helps me to think clearly. Finally, I have learned to give myself a break. None of us are perfect - we fail, we say the wrong things, we talk before thinking fully, we send an email to the wrong person, and we forget things! Although it’s not always easy, I have learned to give myself grace and know that I am enough and so are you!
The last thing I will leave you with today is the encouragement to ask others for help when you feel overwhelmed. Don’t let stress and anxiety stand in the way of your health and happiness – life is too short! Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it takes courage and vulnerability and is a clear sign of strength. I hope you join me on this journey to health, happiness and balance!
Before the coronavirus chaos, the future of work was already expected to move toward telecommuting. Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic forced people and businesses to adapt to remote working—whether they were ready for it or not. It forced us to some things that we have always considered, but just not motivated enough to make the change.
I’ve heard it said the pandemic has acted as a reset button for organizations, showing that we can easily work from home, which will completely change the future of work in a variety of ways. Indeed, the era of everyone working full-time in centralized workspaces appears to be gone for good. According to many pundits and prognosticators, organizations will need to offer a hybrid mix of in-office and remote work—or a fully remote workforce in order to compete for tomorrow’s talent.
Granted WFH has been working, but work from home as made popular by the pandemic may not translate easily to a new hybrid mix of on-site and remote working. Here are some things to consider, even if your teams are in the office now:
I can think of three good reasons.
1) Without a strategy for managing and retaining remote employees, your company is at risk. Planning for remote operations is a key part of overall preparedness. From disease to disasters, many situations make remote work a necessity for days, weeks or as in the case of COVID19—two years. When disaster strikes, a quick and easy transition to remote work can minimize business interruptions and reduce employee stress. Success comes to those companies intentional about creating a work-from-home culture that they can deploy on short notice. Being prepared can help organizations avoid chaos and maintain productivity no matter where their employees are doing their jobs.
2) Expect candidates to ask about flexible work options for their own needs and to assess how prepared your organization is to pivot in a crisis. A clear plan for transitioning to remote work is a plus in the eyes of job seekers. They don’t want to worry about how you’ll handle the next crisis.
3) Even when they’re back in the office, employees with experience working remotely may expect more leeway to use technology to accommodate their personal schedules. And, employers that offer such flexibility are in a better position to retain talent.
Accepting fully remote or hybrid work as the new norm requires a mindset shift on the part of managers and leaders. And, it requires structure, accountability and connection in order to succeed.
The foundation of a successful remote work policy is built on three elements:
They’re interrelated, but each plays its own role in supporting remote employees, maintaining innovation and making work from home a success.
Each organization has its own level of need for structure, and perhaps surprisingly, each generation of workers needs different levels of structure to stay productive and creative.
Multiple studies and surveys have found that Generation Z workers and younger millennials do best with a more structured WFH environment. Structure can also help new hires and young workers build their network at work, something that’s more difficult without face time in the office.
No matter what age your workforce is, some level of structure is necessary to keep ideas flowing and interpersonal connections growing within your organization.
Not only do your employee teams need structure, but your leaders need it as well. The goals should be to:
Much of your structure, in practice, will likely depend on how well your managers implement your plans and make themselves available for their team while they’re out of the office.
As you think about the best way to manage future changeovers to remote work or optimize your current work-from-home operations:
The goal is to provide structure through regular check-ins, support productivity and foster the sense of connectedness that can be a real challenge for workers at home.
Employees who work from home may still feel connected to their co-workers because they know how to get in touch with their teammates and, one would hope, their managers. However, feeling connected to headquarters, the C-suite and the overall organization can be much more challenging.
That’s a problem, because when employees don’t feel connected to their employer, they often stop innovating and sharing new ideas – just at a time when companies need to be at their most innovative.
The new normal is now
By Jimmy Taylor
After two years of non-stop impact from living pandemic lives, it’s no surprise to hear employees are stressed. A Gallup poll found U.S. workers are among the most stressed in the world, with 57% of our teams reporting they face stress, worry, sadness and anger on the job on a daily basis.
In fact, stress in the workplace is now so bad even employee assistance program usage is going up. EAP programs have traditionally been one of the most underutilized company benefits offered. Hartford Insurance reports 70% of employers are seeing an uptick in their EAP usage.
Companies are trying to respond to this employee need. Towers Watson says 86% of employers surveyed indicate helping employees deal with mental health, stress and burnout is a top priority for their organization this year.
As HR professionals, we see the impact of stress on our teams every day. It motivates us to press on and find ways to help our organizations thrive while still meeting the needs of our people. Those sometimes competing priorities are taking their toll, HR professionals are not immune to the stress of the workplace. A Paychex study showed 70% of HR leaders say this has been the most challenging time in their career.
What can we do to cope? How can we help our people deal with the stressors?
There is no magic answer. Workloads will stay elevated. The pace of change will continue to increase. The labor shortage and great resignation will be our constant companions for the coming years. However, we can do simple things that will help.
Take care of yourself! We can’t effectively help our teams if we fail to address our own needs. The EAP hotline number that we pass out to our employees will answer our calls as well.
Stay connected. One of the many values of a local SHRM chapter is the camaraderie and support we get from our peers. An African proverb says it well – “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others!” We need the interaction, encouragement, and wisdom from fellow practitioners now, more than ever. Make the time to get out and connect, you will see a difference!
Celebrate the wins. Stopping to celebrate accomplishments, both big and small, is crucial. Stressed individuals are less likely to celebrate accomplishments than others. When we think about and talk about what’s going well our brain rewards us with a shot of dopamine – an important “feel good” chemical. That dopamine serves as a neurotransmitter, sending signals to other neurons that things are good, and all is well. Not only is this good for our body, but it is also an important chemical needed by our brains for hard tasks like creative thinking and problem solving. Being conscious about celebrating interrupts negative spirals of stress and depression.
Say thank-you! When we are busy and stressed it is hard to take the time to say “thanks”. But physicians and psychologist have endless studies on the positive impact consciously counting our blessings has on our both our mental and physical well-being. It causes us to be more optimistic, enjoy better relationships, sleep better, feel less stress…the list goes on and on.
Even a simple act of regularly writing down two our three things we are thankful for just before we go to bed in a “gratitude journal” will have a positive and transformative effect.
What’s more – in this turnover heavy world some have labeled “The Great Resignation” – the simple act of saying thank you may be a key to better employee performance and retention. A recent study of front line health care workers (a group that is facing massive burn-out from the pandemic) published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found some amazing results. The workers who received regular appreciation and gratitude from their patients and their bosses:
In short, the researchers found small acts of gratitude pay shockingly large dividends for people in the workplace and beyond!
It’s a stress filled world of work we enter every day. As HR professionals we can make it better!
The stakes are higher today than they have ever been before regarding executive compensation and the scrutiny imposed by the federal and state governments and the national news media. Negative media reaction and public outcry in cases of executive compensation packages viewed as excessive, regardless as to whether they really are, has set the stage for government regulators, the Internal Revenue Service and State Attorney General Offices to investigate, audit and suppress abuses. As a result of their findings, more federal and state statutes and regulations concerning not-for- profit executive compensation is being enacted.
Actions taken by State Legislatures and Attorney General Offices in various states, like New Jersey and New York, to limit executive compensation and media reported investigations of not-for-profit organizations to rein in suspected abusive executive compensation practices are acting as a stimulus for even more government regulation. As a result, this is causing many not-for-profit boards across the country to examine their board governance strategies and practices concerning executive compensation and how they will pay their top people in the future.
So, who oversees and regulates who?
Many tax-exempt nonprofit organizations such as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations which may include certain foundations, 501(c)(4) Quasi-governmental organizations, 501(c)(14) State Chartered Credit Unions and 501(c)(6) Business and Trade Associations, are:
· Required to file an annual tax information return – Form 990 or 990EZ depending on the size of the organization
· Subject to Section 4958 of the Internal Revenue Code regarding Intermediate Sanctions - except for 501(c)(6) Business and Trade Associations and Private Foundations.
· Subject to Private Inurement requirements
· Subject to impermissible private benefit transaction rules
· Under IRS scrutiny for 457 Deferred Compensation Plans
· Under IRS scrutiny for excessive and unreasonable executive compensation practices
When reviewing not-for-profit executive compensation, what positions are potentially under scrutiny? Depending on who is scrutinizing whom, the compensation of officers, directors, trustees, key employees, and the highest compensated employees and independent contractors rise to the top of the list.
Officers typically would include Chief Executive Officers, Presidents, Executive Directors, Sr. Pastors, Chief Operating Officers, Chief Financial Officers and Vice Presidents and/or Key Leadership Employees who have responsibilities like an officer when managing a significant segment or activity for the organization.
Directors and former directors paid for their serves on the Board are also included. Based on Internal Revenue Service guidelines, compensation paid more than $10,000 per year could put a board director or trustee under the microscope.
Highly compensated employees can also be on the list when their total compensation exceeds $150,000 as a Key Employee or when one of the top five highest compensated employees other than executives / officers are earning more than $100,000.
Over the last few years, the Internal Revenue Service has added additional staff to increase its efforts to audit and investigate tax exempt not-for-profit organizations as it looks for excessive and abusive executive compensation practices and programs. And as stated earlier, state legislators, regulators and Attorney Generals have been continually active imposing rules and regulations on the compensation of leaders, directors, trustees and the highly compensated.
If you are on the Board for a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, you must be concerned about personal liability for participating in approving compensation actions deemed excessive by IRS. Under section 4958 of the Internal Revenue code, the code imposes “Intermediate Sanctions” in the form of excise taxes on “disqualified persons” which include officers, senior leaders, highly compensated, etc. whose organization engages in impermissible and excessive benefit transactions on behalf of them. Section 4958 also penalizes board directors and trustees who knowingly approve excess compensation and/or impermissible benefit transactions. However, please note that (501(c)(6) Business and Trade Associations and Private Foundations are not subject currently to Section 4958 of the IRS code but are subject to Private Inurement Requirements and Excess Benefit Transaction findings. As a result, board directors and trustees of business and trade associations are not personally penalized for knowingly approving excessive compensation and /or impermissible benefit transactions but beware that the (501(c)(6) Business and Trade Associations are still investigated and held liable for excessive compensation and benefits.
As defined, an impermissible excessive benefit transaction is one in which the economic benefit provided directly or indirectly to a disqualified person exceeds the value received by the organization, including the value from the performance of services. This includes the payment of excessive compensation or an impermissible benefit transaction that is deemed unreasonable.
Potential penalties for participating in such actions can include:
· Board Director or Trustee liability for approval of an excessive compensation and
/or benefit transaction:
So, what compensation components and economic benefits should be considered to
determine whether a person’s compensation is reasonable?
In determining whether compensation is reasonable, what factors have been considered by courts and other regulatory agencies?
employer’s business / organization
When is compensation viewed as reasonable? The fair market value of economic benefits received for the performance of services is considered reasonable compensation, which is the value that would ordinarily be paid for like services by a like enterprise under like circumstances.
As a Board Director, Church Elder, Trustee, or CEO of a tax-exempt organization, why would you want to consider creating a Rebuttable Presumption of Reasonableness for your organization and will it protect your organization from governmental scrutiny?
An important governance strategy exists that every organization subject to intermediate sanctions and/or tax-exempt regulatory compliance regarding executive compensation should consider. This strategy is called the Rebuttable Presumption of Reasonableness.
The basis for creating a “rebuttable presumption” can be found at 26 CFR 53.4958-6 - Rebuttable presumption that a transaction is not an excess benefit transaction.
In determining the reasonableness of compensation under the Rebuttable Presumption of Reasonableness, compensation is presumed to be reasonable, and a property transfer is presumed to be at fair market value when three requirements for establishing the rebuttable presumption are met. They are:
1. The compensation arrangement must be approved in advance by an authorized governing body of the applicable tax-exempt organization, which is composed of individuals who do not have a conflict of interest concerning the transaction
2. Prior to making its determination, the authorized governing body obtained and relied upon appropriate compensation and benefit survey data as to comparability of compensation paid
3. The authorized governing body adequately and timely documented the basis for its determination for the compensation decisions concurrently with making that determination.
The documentation of the authorized body should include the terms of the transaction and the date of its approval, the members of the authorized body present during the debate and their vote on the transaction, the comparability data obtained and relied upon, the actions of any members of the authorized body having a conflict of interest, and documentation to support the basis for the determination.
When done correctly, the Rebuttable Presumption of Reasonableness shifts the burden of proof between the tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization’s governing body and the Internal Revenue Service concerning executive compensation.
The Internal Revenue Service may refute the presumption of reasonableness only if it develops sufficient contrary evidence to rebut the probative value of the comparability data relied upon by the authorized body. As a result, the practice of creating one lends itself to an excellent governance strategy to follow even if it may not directly affect regulatory compliance of your organization.
How do we avoid excessive executive compensation and what are some effective business strategies and best practices to follow?
To ensure that your executive compensation decisions will stand up to the scrutiny of government regulators and agencies, media, and others, you may want to consider adopting some of the following strategies and best practices.
Whether the Board, Trustees, Elders, Leadership, or HR/Compensation Committee is overseeing the due diligence process of annually reviewing the compensation of the organization’s leadership and highly compensated, in the end, it is the board/trustees/elders that carry the legal burden associated with improper compensation. To maintain not-for-profit tax-exempt status and avoid tax penalties, it is incumbent upon the governing body to ensure that leaders and board members (as applicable) are paid fair and reasonable compensation.
Good governance does not have to be difficult to ensure the payment of fair and reasonable compensation and to satisfy regulatory compliance. However, Board Directors, Trustees, Elders and CEOs / Sr. Pastors must be thoughtful, open to successful board governance strategies and best practices, transparent and consistent in the application of sound and reasonable executive compensation programs to ensure compliance success.
About the Author:
Bob Cartwright, SPHR / SHRM-SCP, is founder, president, and chief executive officer of Intelligent Compensation, LLC, a compensation and business management consulting firm located in the greater Austin, Texas area. Since 1996, Mr. Cartwright has managed numerous assignments for a wide variety of clients including those in high technology, manufacturing, services, information technology, health care, retail, construction / facility management, telecommunications, legal, energy, media, publishing, non- profits, public entities, municipalities, financial services, oil and gas, real estate, and aerospace / defense. He has 30+ years of diversified experience in compensation, human resources and business management which includes the development of total compensation strategies, wage and salary plans, executive compensation strategies and studies, incentive compensation plans, and performance management systems.
Mr. Cartwright’s professional affiliations include Advisor to the State Director / Business Development – Texas Society for Human Resource Management State Council (Texas SHRM); Past Board Chair, Texas Association of Business; SHRM National volunteer; Past Member of the Total Rewards, Compensation, & Benefits National Expertise Panel and National Volunteer Leader on Veteran Employment –Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). He is also a sought-after speaker and is often quoted as a business / compensation expert in newspapers and print media around the country.
Intelligent Compensation, LLC specializes in conducting executive compensation reviews, audits, and studies for Leadership and Boards of Directors for Nonprofit - Tax-exempt organizations across the U.S. Organizations served include 501(c)(3) Charitable organizations, Churches, State Credit Unions, and Private Foundations; 501(c)(6) Business, Professional, and Trade Associations, Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, and Quasi-Governmental Entities and Authorities; and 501(c)(1) Federal Credit Unions. Intelligent Compensation also provides services to For-Profit companies in most every industry and our analysts and consultants provide our clients with over 35 years of experience in creating personalized business strategies, practical ideas, and customized business solutions to organizations who want to maximize their operational performance and organizational effectiveness through strategically aligned, performance-based compensation programs, and sound compensation and business management practices.
By Bruce W. Waller
One of the questions I enjoy asking HR Leaders on Life in the Leadership Lane podcast is “what would your 10-year older self say to you if he or she was knocking at the door today and you got up to answer that door”? This is such a great reflection question because it allows you to look ahead and think about where you are going, dream ahead, or give your current situation perspective. One of my favorites was when I was interviewing Global Total Reward Leader Andrew Walker on podcast episode 84. When I asked Andrew this question, he responded with “buy a boat” (these are my words). He said his 10-year-old self would say, “stop thinking about when you’re done working in your career and find things that bring you joy today”. He shared how he would visit summer beaches in Connecticut and would see boats going back and forth and thought I am not going to wait until I retire to enjoy life. He then went on to say, “Yes, we all need to work hard, but we also need to find things that bring us joy.” This was so inspiring!
I have received many responses from guests over the pasts two years that have shared things that energized them just like Andrew. I have also paused when people stopped to reflect and found themselves crying tears of gratitude. It can be a deep reflecting point for anyone. Many guests have shared their 10-year older self would say stop worrying, or remind them it’s going to be okay. A few have shared to continue the journey, keep the faith, or you’re on the right path, and to keep growing.
It’s a great question and would be a great team exercise too. The reason it’s so powerful is because it is often the little things, we do each day that brings the most movement and change. But because it’s so little, it’s hard to see positive daily results. We often can’t see that we are making progress or impact when we get up early to go for a run or read a few pages in a book or help a colleague or customer solve a problem. When we ask this question, it gets people to think about their career, and more importantly their life. Are you doing things in your life that bring you joy?
As we move into the Christmas holiday and our chapter/association planning season, invest time to reflect on this question. What will your 10-year older self-share with you? Who do you want to be in 10 years? Are you on track as a volunteer leader? In my new book “Life in the Leadership Lane”, I shared my response… “I think my 10-year older self would tell me that he is proud of the person I have become in the workplace and most importantly, in my personal life. He would also say, “Keep going, keep growing, keep connecting, and keep serving others. You have important work ahead.”
So, what’s your boat? What is the thing that will bring you more joy as a volunteer leader? You may already have it and people just need to hear it… Write it down and share with your board and members of the chapter… I am excited for you, for your career, and for your chapter because when we have joy in our career, life is just better in every area!
Quote of the Day: “…it’s not about the things we want to achieve, it’s about the person we want to be. (Excerpt from Life in the Leadership Lane)
Call to Action: Write down the question and your response. Share with your team for engagement. It will be fun and might inspire someone to make a change, which can ultimately change the organization too!
Exciting Texas SHRM news ahead… be on the lookout for LEADHRS Leadership Development program announcement coming December 2021. Your 10 year older self will thank you for being part of this program and elevating your leadership in your association and workplace!
This blog is written by Bruce Waller, Texas SHRM, Director of Leadership Development! For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The truth? The truth is that I struggled to write this blog.
As an attorney, an enormous part of my job is writing. I’m expected to write persuasively with well thought out and well-reasoned arguments. In my particular practice, education is a focal point. I speak regularly to clients, at chapter events, and at conferences. Outside of my practice, I volunteer in various leadership roles. This blog should have been a breeze. Yet, I struggled.
I struggled because I wanted to impart some earth shattering, groundbreaking, never-before-seen-or-heard-of knowledge. I wanted you, dear reader, to be awestruck. I wanted you to finish the last word, pick your jaw up off the floor, and whisper “wow” as you struggled to focus on anything else for the day. But why? Sure, lawyers have egos and I suppose I’m not that much different. But that wasn’t the real reason. The real reason is that you matter and you’re important and I wanted to be an invaluable resource.
So, I struggled.
As I stared at the blank Word document on my computer screen and the blinking cursor for what seemed like an eternity, it finally occurred to me that this wasn’t me. I don’t have to be the next John Maxwell or Brene Brown. I just have to be Dustin Paschal…and that’s good enough.
Far too often, we try to be something we’re not; and the countless self-help and leadership books don’t help. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a voracious reader…particularly of leadership-style books. I believe they are an invaluable resource; but we must remember that the books are meant to be a guide – something to help us on our individual journey and with our individual growth. When we try to emulate the principles and concepts outlined in these books to the point that we essentially become a carbon copy, we most certainly fail. You are not John Maxwell. You are not Brene Brown. But it is admirable and worthy to aspire to be like them.
As a young lawyer in my first real job, I thought that to be a good lawyer, I needed to be just like my boss. My boss was a Black man from Ohio that had gone to Duke University and Duke University School of Law. He had worked in a major regional law firm to which he had been recruited straight out of law school. He was the son of divorced parents, one of whom was a mental health professional. I was a white man from Texas that had done to Baylor University and Baylor University School of Law. My first job was working at a 1-man law firm, and I struggled to find a job out of law school. I was the son of happily married parents, one an office administrator and one a firefighter. Our commonality was the law, but our lives and backgrounds were vastly different. As I stepped into courtrooms and stood before crowds at conferences, I failed every time I tried to copy the style, mannerisms, and cadence my boss utilized. I failed when I mimicked his preparation. In short, I failed because I wasn’t myself.
The instant I decided to let go of the “right way” to be a lawyer and decided to be the lawyer that was right for me, I began to excel. The fears and the anxieties melted away when the comfort of being authentic took over. Juries and audiences began to respond favorably. My authentic self was much more casual; my boss was much more formal. My authentic self involved phrases, terminology, and quips I had heard over a lifetime of growing up in Texas; my boss had no idea what most of those expressions meant. My authentic self involved leading with my heart and becoming personally invested (right or wrong) in most of my cases; my boss maintained a professional distance. My style wasn’t right for my boss and his style wasn’t right for me. Yet, both styles worked.
Authenticity is everything – not only for your personal success but also for your success as a leader.
Authenticity breeds trust.
Authenticity breeds passion.
Authenticity breeds loyalty.
Authenticity breeds success.
I challenge you in everything you do and in every place you lead…be authentic.
Written by Dustin A. Paschal