Finding Motivation for the Day | Quick Reads (2 min read) — The Millionaire’s Digest

Important to find ways to stay positive and stay motivated. Good read!

Cari Desiderio                              

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Dustin Meyer Founder & Owner of: Evolutionary Mind Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Successful Living Writer Daily motivation is something that we as people always are seeking to find. The big thing is, where do we find it to get through our day to day lives? Simply put, self motivation […]

via Finding Motivation for the Day | Quick Reads (2 min read) — The Millionaire’s Digest

15 Ways to Leverage the #1 Contributor to Job Satisfaction for Leadership Success

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports, for two years running, that respectful treatment of all employees at all levels is the #1 contributor to job satisfaction. Compensation, tr…

Source: 15 Ways to Leverage the #1 Contributor to Job Satisfaction for Leadership Success

Favorite HR Groups in Chicago

By, Cari Desiderio

Are you an all out HR fan like me?  Well if you are in Chicago there are tons of ways to get connected to maintain your certifications (PHR, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP) and keep up on a variety of HR updates around the globe.




HR Management Association of Chicago

Management Association




Relationship Management 101 – The Stuff of Success?

By, Cari Desiderio

Sometimes the complex is actually simple.  The longer I am in the corporate environment, the less complex is the lens through which I see it.  We are here to as a teams of diverse, talented, well organized people, to create products and services that produce revenue.  Simple enough.  We are successful at this if we are apt at our jobs, and if we can work well with one another to be productive together.  At the center of this all is a little thing called relationship because productivity does not happen in a bubble.

I recently enjoyed a post from SHRM’s website about how to be a “Relationship Management Star!”  The post truly hits on some simple principles that have to do with caring, information sharing, considering body language and signals, communicating and more ( Link to Article ).  None of the principles, I thought, are rocket science. In fact most of us learned the bulk of these behaviors in about kindergarten!

At core of this litany of Relationship 101 steps, is intentional and active caring and inclusion.  Great managers, great employees, productive members of the corporate world, are effective because they can move things forward through people and communities.  This means that they build relationships and choose to see the act of doing business as the act of working together to produce something.

So each day, let’s ask ourselves, what are we doing to make our TEAM a little better and to communicate and relate in a way that makes the day a little brighter?

Happy relating!

“Communication is the real work of leadership” Nitin Nohria



Be a Thermostat!


By, Cari Desiderio

Recently one of my closest friends and confidants was sharing with me something profound she was applying in her life.  She heard it from a friend of hers.  When I heard it, I have pondered it, and then shared it with quite a few friends myself. And now I’m blogging about it.  Truth ripples. So awesome.

She suggested to me a perspective that can be situation altering.  She said she was learning that she should be a thermostat.  You see, as a pretty intuitive and caring person, she has a heightened sense of awareness for people’s state of being.  This is fine and well, she explained. But it has little impact.  It helps little to “be a thermometer” and measure the state of a situation and people.  Instead, “be a thermostat” —  be able to measure a situation, and then do something about it.

Wow I thought.  This can be profound in a lot of settings.  How would my life change if I was a thermostat in my relationships? In my community? In my parenting? Since my blog is about all things HR, I am going to apply to the corporate setting.

One of the most frustrating experiences I have had in HR is when companies conduct engagement surveys and then do little with the findings. I think the perception is that, hey, if we do a survey people think we care and that will help the culture.  Wrong.  Doing an engagement survey (note I do not say satisfaction survey – we want happy engaged people, not happy disengaged people).  In any event, doing a survey like this is essentially the act of being a thermometer.  We typically learn that several of the top things people want are in need of some impact and change.  The most common I have seen are employees will say:

  1. I want to be listened to and respected
  2. I want to see better communication and know where the company is headed, and how I fit in
  3. I want to be developed and see my career grow
  4. I want a boss who is a player/coach and really cares about the team and not just him/herself

Interesting to note – occasionally we see things about income on the top wants list, but rarely.

What a cool thing it is, if we enter into an engagement survey and set out to be a thermostat!  Now, a word of warning, however.  Don’t try to be Superman.  What do I mean by that?  Well don’t set out and promise to fix every possible woe.  Some things are just contextual based on the business model.  You are probably not going to be able to create robust career promotion paths if you are a company of fifty because you are too small.  You are probably not going to be able to offer state of the art benefits and 99% percentile salaries if you are a nonprofit, because your mission isn’t to be a cash cow.  You are probably not going to be able to offer 40-hour work weeks with limited travel, if you are private equity firm with consultants serving the globe.  And so on.

However, within the context of who your organization is, you can still be a realistic thermostat.  You can change things for the better in a way that fits who you are.

The key to this is strong follow through, with action committees led by teams of employees and well coached management to guide the outcome in a thoughtful and committed manner.  Notice I did not say action team led by HR.  HR can facilitate, but if HR is the lone ranger trying to make change, it will actually backfire and be worse than never doing a survey.  Because change only happens top down.

One other critical note when seeking to be thermostats when it comes to corporate culture.  You’re going to have to be incredibly cognizant about who you give the honor and privilege of management too.  Good managers need to be people who listen and are emotionally mature enough to receive and act on feedback.  Be prepared, if you decide to take this stuff seriously, to have an “up or out” ultimatum to any leaders who are not remotely interested in being thermostats with their teams.  In other words, leaders who are stubborn and more interested in #1, and who frankly dislike having to lead people or receive feedback and do something with it.  Because ultimately, employees typically leave their boss not their company.  If you look at the list of common issues, it is the line manager who can most directly impact it.  Managers are commissioned with creating individual development plans for employees.  Managers are the ones with the ability to close or open their ears when employees have ideas, and to create an environment that welcomes ideas.  Managers are accountable to create team environments that uphold respect. Managers have the choice daily to care or be indifferent to those they have the honor and privilege of leading. Managers can choose to dictate, or to be player/coaches.

Be a thermostat. Such a cool concept.  Let’s try to be thermostats in our homes, in our friendships, in our communities, in our workplaces. We’ll all be happier and more engaged, in life! Thanks to my friend Wendy for sharing.




Diplomat. Strategist. Fortune Teller. Job = Modern Day HR Business Partner


By, Cari Desiderio

The trendy term for HR today is business partner. But, what does it mean exactly?  And how does it differ from the way HR used to operate?

The simplest explanation is to say that HR is shifting away from more transactional work, to become more business focused. This does not mean that we can give up our technical HR and compliance knowledge base.  Just because the day to day task loads are shifting to outsourcing options or in house centers of excellence, does not mean that our knowledge of what the content is comprised of should disappear.  Our knowledge base of HR compliance in all the states or countries we operate in needs to remain.

But, in addition to knowing how to manage files or how to administer FMLA, there is a whole new world of competencies required in order to be valued in the modern day organization.

HR partners who make the cut are those who get the business. And who have an uncanny good ability to advise and lead the type of people decisions that get results.  This is not an easy thing.  In fact, I would argue that successful HR business partners can only be those with a very strong intuition for people and strong intuition for business.  Some of this can certainly be studied and taught.  However, there may be some HR professionals who are hard wired for task orientation and struggle with boundary less terrain that requires utilization of many senses to guide the path.

In a way, to earn credibility and be needed, HR now has to offer a special skill set that the operational and business leaders don’t have.  Strong HR business partners have heightened natural people and situation management acumen. I call this the art of diplomacy.  What does a diplomat do?  He/she engages varying sides and negotiates.   Acts as the peacemaker and integrator of different groups. It’s not much different in business.  A strong HR partner is able to move through all of the crowds and cultures and help them find common ground. There is no better example of this perhaps than a corporate acquisition resulting in the merging of two cultures.  In today’s rampantly changing business world, such activity is commonplace.  My company has been through eleven of these in recent years.  The success or failure of an acquisition is based on far more than the financials and a good product to sell.  If the people cannot come together, don’t expect the business to succeed.  Diplomacy can help smooth the path of integration.

Another critical HR Business Partner competency is what I call the art of strategy.  This is where keen business understanding comes into play.  If you as a HR partner are not studying your business climate, understanding what markets are facing, understanding the global climate, understanding the SWOT analysis, then you best not force any idea on your operational teams.  If however you are a HR partner who studies these things and then looks at ways to shape and move the people performance in the direction of business opportunity, by engaging and deploying talent, then you have shifted to the position of an HR strategist.

My last competency is perhaps a bit comedic. I call it the art of fortune telling.  Silly perhaps and of course I do not mean literal crystal balls.  But, rather, a strong HR business partner necessarily must be a student of culture, people, environments and as a combination of these observations have a good handle on predicting what is ahead.  Some time back I found myself in a culture that was pretty broken and lacking trust.  I assessed this and in a few months time advised the business leaders that if we did not correct course we were at risk of losing a number of very long term and critical members of the team, including critical managers.  I wish that my prediction did not come true.  Through this situation my credibility and respect with the leaders grew.  Call it uncanny intuition if you will.  I call it keen observation of what is going on, followed by courage to respectfully speak up about it.  Know your people. Get ahead of things.  Advise your leaders. You will be invited into meetings and executive committees that you never thought you’d be part of, once they realize you are a true subject matter expert in the art of people leadership. 

The cool thing about being a modern day HR Business Partner is that there is never a dull day!  People and business and strategy are complex, engaging, challenging and rewarding. Hats off to the HR professionals who step up to the challenge and become tomorrow’s business leaders!