Alice’s Blog


Everyone is talking disruption these days. “Disruption” is this era’s “total quality management” (ugh may we never relive that mantra). The concept of disruption was birthed a few years back to label technologies that did not simply replace or upgrade prior processes, they made them obsolete, creating totally new approaches to work. Always a little late to the party, the people-management side of the house are now talking about disrupting Human Resources practices. (more…)


The gig economy is a top trend to watch in terms of workforce strategy. Research sources define contingent workers differently, but the consensus is that by 2020 nearly 40% of the workforce will be non-payroll workers. The attraction of moving from gig to gig is particularly strong in younger workers. (more…)


Be prepared for a Big Rant. What has happened to silence? Why is it everywhere I go I am assaulted by sound? Every waiting room, whether at my doctor’s office, the dentist, even the service lounge at my auto mechanic’s shop, has a big TV screen tuned to everything from home repair shows to an endless stream of news babble.

I prefer to use my wait time productively, clearing off emails, getting caught up in reading or maybe even just letting my mind go blank. I can’t do it with the audio and visual input of streaming TV. My sympathy goes to the receptionist and other office workers who have to spend their entire work day with this barrage. (more…)


I remember when competency models first hit the talent development universe. Using competencies—concretely defined knowledge and behavior statements to document expectations surrounding a position—was a real breakthrough from the fuzzy, abstract language used prior to that time. Soon everyone was off the starting line, creating competency definitions for key positions.

Lately competencies have begun to fall out of favor. A myriad of reasons support the notion of abandoning competent models. (more…)


Big business buzz these days is the (long overdue) overhaul of performance management from being a yearly onerous event to one consisting of continuous coaching and feedback. My colleagues and I are rolling our eyes, having been promoting this concept for years. It is good to see such a sensible idea finally get some traction. (more…)


I am sitting in one of my favorite locations to think and reflect: an art museum. I am musing on the challenges of work that I hear from my clients while I contemplate beautiful art. I have had a number of discussions recently about the choice some of us have made to abandon corporate life and to earn our keep as an independent professional. For me, being my own boss frees me from needing to conform to the structured life corporations need to produce results using large numbers of different people with different talents and quirks.  (more…)


I remember the first time I heard the word telework in the late 1990’s. At the time, I was working in a Fortune 500 corporation and the CEO scoffed at the idea. His comment: “I want to see the parking lot full of cars. That’s the only way I know that work will get done.” We all laughed at his Luddite attempt to stop the progress of this exciting new trend. (more…)

Innovation: Grow It or Kill It

Fresh ideas signpost in the skyA CEO client of mine is struggling to grow his business revenue and market share. The good news is that he is getting new clients and contracts. The bad news is that he is frustrated with his leadership team’s inability to deliver the quality and service levels that are key to the company’s reputation. When we met last week, he was bemoaning a recent gaff – a client deliverable was sent out late due to last minute errors showing up in the work. This incident sharply illustrated that the desired business growth will be stymied by his leadership team’s inability to build operational infrastructure fast enough to support the new client expectations.


What Makes Work Meaningful

256Lately I’ve been thinking about motivation and engagement at work, what drives some folks to be upbeat and others to be dragging in the same work environment. One thing I’ve noticed is that there is an aura of anxiety nearly everywhere due to the gloom of the government shutdown. Yet as I walk the halls of corporate America, I see some folks busily at work contented with their life and at ease with the turmoil around them. How is it that some individuals can navigate rough waters and others seem to sink in misery when things go wrong?