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Where Do You Get In Your Own Way?

Posted By NCHRA Blog Editor for Guest Contributor to the HR+ Blog, Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Contributed by Mike Normant

Do any of these tendencies seem like you?

  • I frequently interrupt others when they are speaking.
  • I am too easily distracted (emails, texts, etc.) during meetings and/or conversations.
  • I talk too much in meetings (i.e., I “take up too much space”).
  • I don’t speak up in meetings (even when something wants to be said).

These are just a few examples of “self-limiting behaviors.” Whether or not you personally relate to these patterns, it’s likely that you know someone who exhibits one or more of them. And I’d bet that it’s easy to see how such behavior can block someone from reaching her/his potential.

What if you turn the mirror back on yourself? If you aspire to reach your fullest potential, it’s helpful to identify and begin to work on shifting your own self-limiting behaviors!

In this article, I will:

  • Provide some context about the importance of working on self-limiting behaviors.
  • Share a list of common self-limiting behaviors.
  • Suggest some action items to use these ideas to help yourself, your team, and your organization.

Behaviors and Professional/Personal Development

Many companies ask their employees to identify development/growth goals in two areas. The first is “The What”, or technical/functional skills. The second is “The How”, which are more behavioral and soft-skill oriented.

It’s easy for employees to identify development areas associated with “The What”. However, many people struggle with identifying behaviors to work on (The How). Those of us in the HR arena know that “how” a person shows up at work has huge implications for her/his overall career success

Think of someone you know that frequently interrupts others. It’s pretty easy to imagine how their baseline career “trajectory” will be constrained if s/he doesn’t work on that self-limiting behavior.

Now imagine a different trajectory if that person starts to make small shifts toward becoming a better listener.  How much more of their potential will they realize in 6 months? A year? Five years?

How many more career-enhancing opportunities may be presented to that person because they are engaged more productively in meetings, or within teams or with their direct reports?

By making small shifts in our behavior we are literally “bending our future” toward realizing more of our potential and being our best selves. 

I want to acknowledge you readers who embrace an emphasis on developing strengths. I’m a huge fan of strengths-based development. And I also believe that each of us has self-limiting behaviors that warrant attention.

By the way, behavior may be a loaded word for some people. I use this word literally and non-judgmentally: “the way in which one acts or conducts oneself.”

It may seem obvious, but most of us don’t simply decide to change a behavior and make it so. We must first acknowledge that one or more of our behaviors (that may have served us in our past!) are now detrimental to our success, whether at work or in our personal life. This requires self-observation and the willingness to identify behaviors that don’t serve us well.

We must also recognize that this will push us out of our comfort zone and will hence often trigger fear and internal resistance. This work is important but not easy.

Example Self-Limiting Behaviors

As noted, it’s often difficult for individuals to identify behaviors that they want to change. Below I’ve listed some relatively common self-limiting behaviors for your review. This list can also be shared with employees to help get them thinking about this topic.

Check out the list below. Do you see yourself in any of these statements? Here’s a hint: don’t beat yourself up….be curious!

  • I frequently interrupt others when they’re speaking.
  • I don’t listen to others when they’re speaking.
  • I succumb too easily to distractions (emails, text messages, etc.) during group meetings.
  • I succumb too easily to distractions (emails, text messages, etc.) during 1:1 conversations.
  • I’m unable to say “no” (when it’s a viable and reasonable option).
  • I talk too much in meetings (i.e., I “take up too much space”).
  • I don’t speak up in meetings (even when something wants to be said).
  • I speak too softly.
  • I solicit the input of others with no intention of changing my position.
  • I take credit for the work of others.
  • I blame others when things go wrong.
  • I talk about others behind their backs.
  • I react too negatively / emotionally when issues arise.
  • I get frustrated too easily / often.
  • I complain a lot.
  • I’m unable / lack confidence to make decisions.
  • I’m condescending and/or dismissive of others.
  • I frequently ‘bully’ others until they acknowledge that I am right.
  • I am consistently late.
  • I treat people as objects (lack of empathy).
  • I don’t solicit advice or help from others when it would help me to do so.

It is common for people to identify with multiple behaviors on this list. However, it’s also normal to not identify with any of the behaviors listed. While it’s possible to not have any self-limiting behaviors, I’ve not yet met anybody who matches that description. 

One way to push through uncertainty is to consider soliciting feedback from people you trust. Ask them to help identify one or more self-limiting behaviors they see that may be in your ‘blind spot.’

Call to Action

I hope you’ll agree that if we aspire to unlock more of our potential, it serves us to always be working on our personal/professional development. This includes addressing our self-limiting behaviors.

These behaviors influence how we impact and are perceived by others. Imagine how powerful it would be for you to minimize, or even remove, one or more of these self-imposed barriers from your life.

Here are some ways you can get value out of the ideas shared in this post.

  • Choose one(!) self-limiting behavior and commit to working on it for at least a few months.
    • Research shows that we are more likely to succeed with behavioral change if we are focused in our efforts.
    • If you can’t think of any self-limiting behaviors that apply to you, consider sharing the list above with colleagues you trust to give you candid feedback. You likely have one or more self-limiting behaviors hiding in your blind spot.
  • Document your goal / intentions somewhere (e.g., personal journal, formal development planning tool).
    • Research shows that the simple act of writing down our intentions increases the likelihood that we will follow through.
  • Share your goal / intentions with one or more trusted colleagues / friends who can help hold you accountable.
    • Expanding the sphere of accountability will help you stick with your plans. You’re not only more likely to stick with it if you’ve shared it with others, you can ask for support from those people as well.
  • Share this list with your team or department, and encourage others to join you / start a larger dialogue. “How can we help each other be more effective at working with each other?”
    • This can be a simple process of encouraging everyone, in the spirit of being his or her best self, to be working on a self-limiting behavior.
    • This helps to create an environment where employees can become more comfortable being vulnerable and feeling like the team/organization is supporting their ongoing development.
    • Here’s a clean one-pager that you can use to share this information with others.

About the Author

Mike Normant is a leadership trainer and executive coach with a 25-year corporate career including running the global Learning & Development functions at both eBay and ServiceSource. His current passion is to help people unlock their fullest potential by removing self-limiting barriers.  His flagship training program, Coach Your Self Up, is bringing the revolutionary concept of Self-Coaching into organizations, allowing them to experience higher levels of employee effectiveness, engagement, and retention. He also works as a leadership coach with individual business leaders. You can reach Mike and/or sign up for his email newsletter on his website,


Tags:  executive coaching  HR leadership training  self-coaching 

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Entrepreneurial spirit shows strong at the inaugural HR Pitchfest + Ideathon 2016

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Friday, September 2, 2016

Contributed by The NCHRA Team


The entrepreneurial spirit was thick at the inaugural HR Pitchfest + Ideathon 2016 event on August 18th, in downtown San Francisco--the heart of innovation! 


We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who came out and participated.


On behalf of of all of us here at NCHRA, Rallyteam and Orange Fab, we enjoyed hearing and facilitating all of your creative, industry-disrupting ideas.

The morning kicked off with individuals and groups pitching the judges their best and brightest ideas for new products and programs. There was a full spectrum of new ideas from health care industry innovations to employee perks. Each of these groups had five minutes to give their pitches:

Pitchfest voting screenshot.jpg-large

Our three winners had a chance to present at HR TechXpo the next day to an audience of several hundred. Obeo Health took first place, Pymetrics was the runner-up, and Resolve won crowd favorite. Congrats to all! 

Please be sure to watch the live interview videos of our Pitchfest participants, including  Lauren Cohen from Pymetrics and Immanual Joseph from Kulture of Kindness at HR TechXpo the following day (August 19th). 

Pre-conference group selfie - Ideathon.jpg-large
That’s a wrap! End of the day group selfie at Orange Fab in downtown San Francisco!

After the pitches, everyone split up into teams made up of HR leaders, startups and students. Their challenge was to identify a problem and develop a solution that they would then present to the judges for a chance to win some fun prizes. We heard solution ideas such as tackling biased recruitment through comprehensive data and whiteboard prototypes.


Check out the Ideathon winners’ live interview at HR TechXpo the next day. Congrats to your team!

We had a great time and loved seeing all the creativity. We wish the best for all of your ideas and will see you next year!

Tags:  HR  HR Innovation  HR Management  HR Tech  HR TechXpo  NCHRA events 

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Need Better Networking Success at Your Next HR Conference?

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Contributed by Karen Rodriguez - Exec-Comm 

Fall is quickly approaching and it’s a great time to attend networking events and conferences.  With summer activities coming to a close, you can refocus on meeting new people in your industry and getting out there to support your career and business improvement goals. Do you cringe at the thought? Don’t shy away from these opportunities.

Well-honed communication skills will reduce your anxiety and help you expand your network. Here are a few tips to help you strike up more conversations with new contacts in the months ahead:

Study the headlines. Before heading to the event, scan the headlines and note a few potential topics to discuss.

Maintain eye contact. When introducing yourself, smile and look into the person’s eyes as you speak your name and they say theirs. As the conversation continues, keep your focus on the person you are talking with. Don’t scan the room looking for friends or others to meet.

Gesture openly. Avoid crossing your arms or clutching your drink with both hands as you talk. Instead, keep your hands apart and your arms relaxed. Gesturing makes you appear natural and approachable.

Ask a few questions. Sometimes you’ll need to jumpstart their side of the conversation. Try asking an open-ended question like “What are you hoping to learn here today?” If their answer is short, build on the information they’ve just shared.

Find a connection. As they’re answering your questions, find an element to pick up on. You’re listening for something to keep the conversation going. Find common ground and the conversation will continue without effort.

Speak slowly and pause. Keep the dialogue moving at a casual pace. If you talk too quickly, the listener will strain to keep up or may interpret your speedy delivery as a sign of nervousness.

Disengage politely. After a few minutes, it’s perfectly fine to close the conversation. Exchange contact information, if you’d like. Ask them to join you on a trip to the buffet. Or, simply smile, tell them you enjoyed chatting and move on.

We hope you had a great summer and more importantly, we hope you have the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people in the fall and winter months ahead. Just start with “hello” and go from there.  

Global HR Leaders! Please consider attending the NCHRA Global Workforce Conference in Santa Clara on September 15Qualifies for 6 SHRM PDCs / 6 HRCI Recertification Credits - Global and General . Read more about the agenda and Register Today! Discover innovative ideas for managing key aspects of Global HR, and leave the Global Workforce Conference armed with tactics for succeeding in today’s border-less workforce. Come learn and network with a friend and your friend will receive 50% registration ($270 NCHRA members, General $340). 

About the Author

As the manager of the Exec-Comm brand, marketing and design efforts, Karen Rodriguez oversees the firm’s identity, touching all aspects of the brand (online presence and web site, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events). Since joining Exec-Comm in 1999 and entering into partnership status in 2009, she introduced (and still manages) the firm’s blog, The Chat, launched the company's quarterly lunch and learn series: The Learning Exchange, and its open-enrollment seminars in New York and San Francisco. Karen holds a B.F.A. from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, and lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.

Tags:  HR Communication  HR Conferences  HR Networking  NCHRA Global Workforce Conference.Karen Rodriguez 

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How to Manage a Multigenerational Workforce

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Contributed by 



In any company where a wide range of experience exists, chances are you also have a multigenerational workforce. Your finance department likely has baby boomer controllers, Gen X tax managers, Gen Y financial analysts and Gen Z payroll specialists. They may have a lot in common, however being formed by the decade in which they came of age, they also have varying outlooks, values, communication preferences and work styles.


If you’re the manager of this disparate group — and depending on which generation you fall in — you may wonder about how to lead such a wide range of ages. Here are four tips on how to lead a multigenerational workforce.


1. Understand the various generations


To manage a multigenerational workforce, you have to know what makes them tick. The four generations in today’s workforce have unique preferences, from general behavior to decision-making processes.


  • Baby boomers (born 1946–1964) are work-centric, independent, tend to challenge the rules and have a somewhat guarded communication style.
  • Gen X (born 1965–1977) grew up in the boomers’ shadows. They’re a little cynical, a lot individualistic and are highly adaptable to change.
  • Gen Y (born 1978–1989) came of age as internet technology emerged and dominated their world. They tend to prioritize family, friends and teamwork.
  • Gen Z (born 1990–1999) are tech natives. They have never known a world without the internet, are constant communicators and, having seen their parents weather the Great Recession, desire stability.

Of course, not every member of these generations can be neatly categorized; there’s a wide range of behaviors within each group. These are general tendencies that can provide business leaders with useful insights about how to manage a multigenerational workforce.


2. Promote a mutually respectful workplace


For millennials (a term that refers to both Gen Y and Gen Z combined) to work well with older generations, they have to get to know each other on more than just a superficial level. According to Get Ready for Generation Z, a white paper from Robert Half and Enactus, 45 percent of Gen Zers expect working with baby boomers to be difficult. They’re concerned they will be seen as “kids” and won’t be taken seriously. Similarly, boomers may be puzzled by the communication preferences and work ethics of the youngest working generation, and are afraid they will be seen as old-fashioned or irrelevant.

As a manager of an accounting or finance group, one of your roles is to strengthen work relationships and promote camaraderie. Help the generations mix, mingle and learn about each other with team-building activities. Promote the mindset that each generation has much to offer the team. Be generous with your acknowledgement of different cohorts’ contributions. Your employees reflect senior management’s values, so make sure you’re setting a good example.


3. Provide professional development throughout the organization


Your Gen Z workers are eager to learn and rapidly advance their careers. In fact, our research shows that 56 percent of Gen Z respondents want to be working their way up the corporate ladder or managing employees within five years of graduating from college. This go-getting generation of accountants will need some help getting there. Set them up for success by giving them plenty of opportunities and resources to develop their communication skills, office etiquette, customer service abilities and aptitude for leadership.


Gen Z isn’t the only generation that can benefit from continuing professional education and development. Seminars and workshops are effective ways to provide team-wide training. They keep everyone up to speed on the newest developments in the accounting and finance fields. Most survey respondents cited in The People Puzzle, a report from Robert Half and the American Institute for CPAs, said they prefer in-person training opportunities such as on-site workshops (28 percent) and off-site conferences or seminars (23 percent). Encouraging staff to attain professional certifications helps your department gain a deeper knowledge base.

4. Establish mentoring programs


Mentoring is an excellent means of solidifying the bonds of a multigenerational workforce. A recent Robert Half survey found that while 86 percent of CFOs interviewed say it’s important to have a mentor, only 26 percent of workers have one.


If your accounting firm or finance department doesn’t have a mentoring program, start one. If you have one but it’s inactive, it’s time to resurrect it. You should also encourage reverse mentorships, where Gen Yers and Gen Zers teach senior staff a thing or two about areas where they have expertise, such as social media best practices.


Helping members of a multigenerational workforce interact smoothly and productively is a must-do for managers today. Understanding that all employees — from boomer to Gen Z — have much to offer a company will allow you to make the best use of everyone’s talents.


A division of Robert Half, OfficeTeam is the world’s leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide. For more information, including our online job search services and the OfficeTeam Take Note® blog, visit



Robert Half - San Francisco is a sponsor of the NCHRA Global Workforce Conference, September 15, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Registration is now open.

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NCHRA and Waggl Uncover New Insights from the HR Industry toward Innovation

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, August 17, 2016

73% believe that an innovative workplace is actually more important than pay scale in attracting and retaining top talent

and Waggl, an all new and simple way to distill real-time insights from groups of people, recently released new data which reveals insights about the outlook of the human resources industry toward innovation. 

NCHRA reached out to more than twenty thousand HR professionals about their outlook toward innovation in the workplace.  Results indicate that 73 percent agree that innovation is key to retaining and attracting top talent, but respondents were divided about whether their own place of employment is innovative (with 60 percent saying yes, vs. 41 percent saying no).

Millennial respondents were most likely to feel that an innovative workplace is more important than pay scale (78 percent, vs. 70 percent of Gen-Xers and 72 percent of baby boomers).  Millennials were also most likely to say that their place of employment is innovative (69 percent), in comparison with 57 percent of Gen-Xers and 53 percent of baby boomers saying that their place of employment is innovative.

According to Ingrid Stabb, Associate Vice President of Marketing, NCHRA was intrigued by the dichotomy between the percentage of HR professionals who clearly value innovation, and yet do not believe that their own place of employment is innovative. “These results strengthen our commitment toward listening to the HR community’s insights, and helping our members put those insights and values into practice in the workplace.”

NCHRA sent the “Innovation in the Workplace” Pulse (questionnaire) to HR professionals via Waggl’s
crowdsourced listening platform over a ten-day period of time from June 8-18, 2016. Participants were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with two statements:

  • “An innovative workplace is more important than pay , to attract and retain top talent”
  • “I consider my place of employment an innovative workplace.”

Respondents also asked the open-ended question: “What innovation would you like to see in the workplace?” 

The common themes that emerged from 2,966 votes included using new or improved technology, employee engagement, working from home, better approaches to performance management, and moving away from paper.

In addition, at the recent HR West conference in Seattle on July 15th NCHRA used Waggl to pose the question, “What area of HR needs the most innovation, and why?” -- to over 200 HR professionals in attendance at the event.  Here are the top three answers that were crowdsourced in real time:

  1. Talent management. We need to learn what's important to potential and new employees in order to increase tenure and engagement. How do we maintain productivity and yet allow them time to build community at work?
  2. Performance Reviews. Feedback should be ongoing, not just once a year.
  3. Leadership coaching. A lot of HR issues stem from poor leadership.


“We are excited about the depth and breadth of insights that emerged from these two pulse surveys,” said Michael Papay, CEO, Waggl.  “It is clear that HR professionals believe that innovation is important, particularly when it comes to managing talent.  It is also evident that they feel that there is some work to be done in order to encourage innovation by increasing the frequency of feedback.  Listening and creating a 2-way dialogue is the key to fostering better understanding for business leaders and employees alike.”

The great organizations of the future are listening for insights now, not years from now,” said Steve Cadigan of Cadigan Talent Ventures.  “HR professionals have a chance to make more of an impact in the world now than ever before."

More About Waggl

Waggl is a simple way to surface and distill real-time actionable feedbackNamed after the dance that bees do in a hive to transmit important information very quickly, Waggl lives at the intersection of two organizational realities:  Companies want an engaged workforce and employees want to know that their opinions count.  Waggl goes beyond the traditional survey by offering an extremely easy way to listen to many voices at once within an organization for the purpose of making it better. Waggl’s real-time listening platform creates a transparent, authentic two-way dialogue that gives people a voice, distills insights, and unites organizations through purpose. With a highly seasoned management team and a Board including esteemed executives from Glassdoor, Success Factors, Hirevue, and Coupa, Waggl is an innovative industry leader helping companies of all sizes to succeed by building a listening culture.   For more information, please visit:

Tags:  HR tech  HR TechXpo  waggl 

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