Tag archive for "Richard Hadden"

by Richard, Exemplars, Motivation

CSX: One of the Best Places to Work in I.T.

No Comments 18 July 2013

csx hqGrowing up in Jacksonville, Florida, virtually every one of my friends’ fathers worked for either “the phone comp’ny” (as we pronounced it), or “the railroad”. That “railroad” was what is today known as CSX, whose riverfront headquarters building occupies a prominent place in the Jacksonville skyline, and which occupies perhaps an even more prominent place in the life and economy of the city. And now, the company’s Information Technology function occupies the number 19 slot on Computerworld magazine’s List of 100 Best Places to Work in I.T. (See the full article here).

If you’re a regular reader of ours, you know our view: inclusion on an annual ranking of workplace quality (like Computerworld’s, Fortune’s, or any other respected publication’s) is a good first indication, but not the only determinant of how great an employer really is to work for. Companies that make the list ostensibly because they let people take naps, or bring their pet ferrets to work are less likely to get the Contented Cows seal of approval than those known for things like great leadership, innovative reward systems, or an emphasis on professional development.

It’s this quality – an emphasis on professional development – that caught our attention at CSX.

Training is a top priority at CSX, and that commitment is seen in full bloom by its technology professionals. Of the company’s 30,000 U.S.-based employees, nearly 500 are in I.T. Each of those workers received an average of 5 days of training in 2012, and the company budgeted $1,125 per I.T. employee for training that year.

It’s not all classroom training, and it certainly isn’t limited to technology training. These I.T. pro’s spend lots of time learning what those who work in the depths of the railroad’s operations do to get the cars down the tracks. Many techies spend time in the freight yards, and on simulators and real trains, to give them irreplaceable experiences vital to integrating the technology with the workings of the freight carrier.

And CSX maximizes the return on its investment in professional development by providing advancement opportunities for lots of talented CSXers. In 2012, 12% of I.T. employees were promoted to more advanced positions within the technology division of the company.

While the labor market for many industries and professions is still a little anemic, not so in I.T. The demand for talent generally outweighs the supply of people with the skills needed to power the work. And yet, in a field where skilled talent can exercise a lot more options than those in many other fields can, employee turnover in I.T. at CSX is low. Very low: 3%.

We think there’s a lot to be learned from the example of CSX: Invest in personal and professional development. Let people see how the whole business works, and how their contribution relates to the enterprise. Then provide advancement opportunities for those you’ve developed – a great way to maximize the return on your investment in people.

 

 

Richard Hadden is a leadership speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations improve their business results by virtue of a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. He and Bill Catlette are the authors of the popular “Contented Cows” leadership book series, and Rebooting Leadership. Their newest book, Contented Cows STILL Give Better Milk, published by John Wiley & Sons, is now available. Learn more about them and their work at ContentedCows.com.

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Rebooting Leadership is Launched!

by Bill, by Richard, Leadership

Rebooting Leadership is Launched!

1 Comment 03 February 2011

Since the middle of 2007, corporate and other organizational training budgets have been in the deep freeze, along with new hire requisitions and your last three merit increases. During that period, four classes of grads have found their way into the workplace. Many of them have since moved into their first management positions as their predecessors and even a few baby boomers have ascended a rung, or moved along. Most of these moves have occurred with virtually no formal preparation or training to enhance the likelihood of success. Moreover, during this same period, the workspace has become a faster paced, less trusting, less forgiving, meaner place.

Learning about little things, like how to select/deselect teammates, how to coach for better performance, how to acquire and use influence, how to manage time/priorities, and how to recover from a failed project or other career spill has largely been declared DIY territory.

Against this backdrop, and armed with the belief that a recession is a terrible thing to waste, in 2009 we embarked on a new book project. The “we” in this case took on a new dimension by virtue of two important new partnerships.

First, on the writing front, we teamed up with Reston, Virginia based management consultant and coach, Meredith Kimbell. Meredith added fresh perspective, tons of great examples from her consulting practice, a pithy writing style, and a woman’s touch. And, she’s just plain fun to work with.

Second, in order to accentuate B2B sales, we signed on with the king of leadership book publishing and B2B distribution, David Cottrell of Cornerstone Leadership Institute. A strong reader’s advocate, David pushes authors, his staff, and himself to do their very best work, and do it in less than 118 pages. There is no doubt that he pushed and cajoled us into doing a better book. And, true to his word, David consistently does exactly what he says he will do. How refreshing is that?

For those who speak, train, coach, and consult for a living, as we do, doing a new book is akin to printing new business cards – expensive business cards. It is also a lever that forces us to think long and hard about new realities, and prepare fresh advice and content for client presentations; content that is worthy of the time it takes to read or listen to. Forgive the lack of modesty, but we’re confident that we’ve succeeded.

Rebooting Leadership, our newest work, was written expressly for the above-referenced 1st and 2nd level managers, who daily attend to the myriad thankless tasks associated with getting the wash out, and those who coach and lead them. It’s a high protein, fad-free guidebook that is chock full of prescriptive advice for surviving and succeeding in the new world in which we find ourselves. Think of it as a semester’s worth of leadership education for much less than the price of a textbook or seminar.

Rebooting Leadership is an easy, 2 hour read, equipped with immediately actionable insight and prescriptions. Available both in print and digital versions for the Kindle reader, it is our best stuff to date, and we want you to have it.

The book even has its own website, at RebootingLeadership.com.

The print edition is available for $15.95 from Cornerstone Leadership Institute (volume discounts apply).

The Kindle version is available for $9.99 from Amazon.

For those who like to try before they buy, a free sample chapter is available by clicking this link.

OR – if you want to have one of the authors come to your organization and teach your leaders what it means to reboot their leadership, click here.

Whichever path you choose, we’re confident that you will find Rebooting Leadership a valuable addition to your management library.

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by Bill, Think About It...

Remember America’s Fallen Heroes

No Comments 21 May 2009

Today’s post is courtesy of Brett Stevens and Gina O’Leary, President and General Manager respectively of the SearchLogix Group, a Georgia-based executive search firm.

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“Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored and neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.”

Read more at:

Memorial Day History
Help Restore the Traditional Day of Observance for Memorial Day
What to Do on Memorial Day

P.S. The SearchLogix Group is a Veteran Owned Business.

A thought leader in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard Hadden, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com

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by Bill, Leadership, Motivation, Think About It...

Susan Boyle Redux

No Comments 25 April 2009

Tom Bergeron, host of Dancing With the Stars has an excellent piece, Does Susan Boyle Know What’s Next, in today’s NY Times. The article posits that, despite a huge adrenalin rush brought on by her incredible performance on “Britain’s Got Talent”, Ms. Boyle will all too soon be dealing with a man-made headwind as we return to business and thinking as usual.

Mr. Bergeron then connects Ms. Boyle’s situation to our world at large, “After all, “Yes We Can!” communal euphoria is tough to sustain and even harder to market. We’re already grumbling about our president’s choice of puppy and asking whether his wife’s arms are too toned for national magazines. It’s always something, and it’s usually nonsense. But it sells newspapers. At least it used to. Now it sells Web sites and cable television.

“The real problem is that too often we don’t have the courage to sustain wonder. Susan Boyle walked onto that stage and faced down a sea of smug. We need that kind of courage nowadays, and not just on reality shows. We need the courage to believe that stirring voices can be found in unlikely places.” By all means, read the full article.

The piece reminds me of a story I occasionally use in keynote speeches about a Lakota chief who sat by the fire with his grandson one night and shared a story with the young boy about a fierce battle between two wolves. One wolf stood for evil, and it represented fear, envy, cynicism, and greed. The other wolf represented good… hope, courage, perseverance, and honesty.

Eager to learn the result of the ferocious struggle, the young boy interrupted his grandfather and asked, “which wolf wins?” The old man paused for a moment and then said simply, “the one you feed… the one you feed.”

Not unlike Ms. Boyle, the rest of us still have demons to deal with, in the form of the fear and cynicism which, for the last several years have played too big a part in our daily operating system. We, too must decide which wolf we’re going to feed.

A thought leader in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard Hadden, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com

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by Bill, Leadership

Stimulate This!

No Comments 17 February 2009

Well, now that the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been signed into law, the heavy lifting begins, amidst the hoopla and controversy over who has the most “shovel ready” projects worthy of public financing.

In that vein there was an excellent piece (Smart Roads, Smart Bridges. Smart Grids.) by Michael Totty in today’s WSJ. In well-written, compelling fashion, Mr. Totty advocates  using currently available technology and good engineering methods to leave us with “highways that alert motorists of a traffic jam before it forms; bridges that report when they’re at risk of collapse; or an electric grid that fixes itself when blackouts hit.”  In other words, as long as we’re at it, let’s use some smart data gathering and design methods to yield much better outcomes.

In similar fashion, we have long called attention to the fact that smart, well-run organizations make it a point to regularly (no, constantly) sample the ebb and flow of worker morale using well constructed surveys. They do it not out of some socialistic bent, but because they know that to a great degree, today’s morale drives tomorrow’s customer experience, and next month’s earnings. In other words, it pays to do it. This is not something where they turn the spigot on when times are good and shut it off when things get tough. Rather, they take pains to listen and respond to their workers whether the wind is in their face or at their backs.

A thought leader in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard Hadden, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com

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by Bill, Extra Milers

That Other Boss

No Comments 22 August 2008

The BossFor better than a decade, business partner Richard Hadden and I have written about leadership and employment issues, offering what we hope is helpful advice to those who are known by others as “the boss.”

Last night, my wife and I celebrated her birthday at Nashville’s Sommet Center, enjoying a rocking performance by another guy known as, “The Boss.” Together with his E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen performed all the oldies and goodies for an enthusiastic audience that included Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn, Amy Grant, Martina McBride, and Kim Carnes. Totally aware of his surroundings, the Boss nearly brought the house down with an Elvis-inspired version of “Good Rocking Tonight,” followed by a soulful rendition of Johny Cash’s, “I Walk the Line.”

Notwithstanding the fact that Springsteen’s music is about as good as it ever was, I came away dutifully impressed by his and the band’s willingness to  give it up for an appreciative mid-week audience. After starting the customary 45 minutes late (I still don’t get that part), they performed nonstop for three hours, doing at least twenty minutes of encore to a standing ovation. Those in the vicinity of St. Louis, Kansas City, and Milwaukee would do well to go see them before the “Magic Tour” calls it quits.

A thought leader in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com

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ABOUT US

Considered thought leaders in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden speak to, train, and coach managers on leadership practices for better business outcomes.

OUR PREMISE: Having a focused, engaged, and capably led workforce is one of the best things any organization can do for its bottom line.

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