March 02, 2007

Live Blogging LA

A few weeks ago I was the person who flew into Miami the day after the Superbowl, and this week I was the guy who flew to LA the day after the Oscars. Although I could have come in earlier and gone to a studio Oscar party, truthfully, if it aint William Shatner or Julie Andrews, I’m just not that impressed with celebs. Though the trip wasn’t entirely celeb-free; Danny Glover was at the hotel bar Thursday night, looking as leathery as ever.

This has been a terrific, fun, and busy week. For months my coworkers and I have been planning for and working towards a very large conference of all the top HR folks in our organization, and this was the week of glory and passion. It was been hectic, but most importantly a raging success. Several people commented that these were the best, most productive HR days they’ve seen since they joined the company, and while I only had a small part to play in all that, I have a very large part in making things happen going forward. Decisions were made, strategies hatched, actions planned, and since I’m the nuts and bolts make-things-happen guy, now that we know what we want to create, I’m on.

If I haven’t said recently how much I love my job, then please note for the record… There’s a phenomenal window of opportunity for positive change in our company just now, we’ve got the support from the top – and I mean the very top, as the man himself opened up our three day conference – and it’s clear that it’s our time to shine. The sense of opportunity and possibility is palpable, the cooperation and attitude is amazing. We’ve adopted the mantra “of course we can” which is such a charming and exciting change of pace for HR, which still labors under the the old perception of being either a soft, touchy-feely and shallow department, or the other extreme – a cold, record-keeping personnel department. Yet we’re looking at changing the very core of the way the business relates to its employees, the way the various businesses interact with each other and with the corporate office. I know it’s hyperbole, but truly, it’s revolutionary for us. I love being here, at this time, with the role I’m in.

I’ve been keeping myself somewhat low key for the past few months, watching, learning, avoiding putting my foot into my mouth, and not wanting to be too presumptuous, but mostly learning from my coworkers the lay of the land. This week I made a point of not being too showy, too mouthy, and too confrontational… which was hard for me, because there was a French person there. Yet I was cool, and learned what I could from whoever was around. Decisions needed to be made that I had little stake in, and nothing significant to add that wasn’t general and ambiguous. Coming out of the conference, however, we now move into the tactics and away from the strategic thinking, and that’s when the fun for me begins.

And for the record, perhaps I’m just drinking the Kool-Aid, but each interaction I have with the Chairman himself leaves me with more and more respect for him. Case in point – during a break in our program, he was out drinking coffee with everyone else, totally accessible, standing around, chatting. Then early the next morning I’m walking by the main office building on the lot, and I see a car pull into the spot right in front of the door. Sure enough, there he is getting out of the car – drives himself to the office. And early too, it was just after 7. A hearty good morning was met with one in response, and off we go to work. I’m a fan.

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