When You Screw Up in HR, Memorize and Say These 4 Magic Phrases…

By Alan Collins

As HR pros, we all make mistakes.

Or say the wrong thing at the right time.

Or misjudge a situation from time to time.

But not everyone in our profession will confess to their screw ups…especially in high stress, corporate environments where others are watching and judging us every day.

However, I learned a very important lesson early in my career at Quaker Oats.

As a young HR director for a tiny division of the company, I reported to an amazing boss who relied heavily on my judgment and experience.

She had taken a chance and promoted me into the director role largely because of my relationships and knowledge of the organization.

But the job was a stretch for me and a bit over my head.

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21 Stone Cold Truths For Moving Your HR Career Forward…Starting Today!

By Alan Collins

Below are some stone cold truths I’ve captured as I’ve traveled through tons of SHRM conferences, read numerous HR blogs and had countless coffee chats and debates over the last year.

These ideas are not politically correct.

They don’t sugarcoat the truth.

They don’t conceal the realities of what it takes to really succeed in HR.

These are the real deal…the STONE COLD TRUTHS, if you will…about what it takes to really succeed in HR.

I tried to keep the list to 21, but I couldn’t. 

So I added a few more bonus truths at the end. 



1.  “If you’re a candidate for your dream HR job and the hiring manager spends 45 minutes talking about himself, the company or his Harley — let him.  He’s going to come out of the interview saying you’re a great candidate.”
–Kris Dunn, CHRO at Kinetix, who blogs at HRCapitalist.com


2.  “HR is not about HR.  HR is all about the business and the outcomes of doing HR work.” For example, if the HR work you do (i.e. staffing, talent management, leadership development, etc.) isn’t delivering the outcomes (increased productivity, cost savings, etc.) that are truly valued by your clients and the organization, then you’re probably not doing REAL HR work.
–David Ulrich, University of Michigan, from his most recent book Victory Through Organization


3.  “To get ahead in HR, you must continually make yourself relevant.  Don’t get trapped only learning what only applies to your organization.  Stay ahead of the curve by getting outside of your company and comfort zone regularly…to learn new ideas, meet new people working on interesting, leading edge projects and to build relationships.  Go to training sessions on topics like finance, business development and marketing that make you uncomfortable — especially if you’re the only HR person there!  All of this will help you become a better business partner and prepare you for a future of uncertainty in HR.”
–Theo Killion, Retired CEO, Zale and former SVP Human Resources at Macy’s, Lane Bryant and Tommy Hilfiger — spoken at a Future HR Leaders Seminar in Chicago


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Adding Value: The Science of Getting Rich in Human Resources…

By Alan Collins

In this article, I’m going to talk about a taboo topic.

You’re not supposed to talk PUBLICLY about how to make a lot of money or how to get rich in HR.

Some “professional” HR folks consider it unseemly and politically incorrect. However, in this article I’ve violated this unspoken rule.

So, let’s jump right in.

The Science of Getting Rich in HR can be summarized in exactly 15 words and 3 simple steps.

Before you scroll down to read what those words and steps are, there are two confessions I want to make:
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The Unpleasant, Dark Side of HR That You Absolutely Must Embrace If You Want to Be Successful…

By Alan Collins

I’m not going to beat around the bush.

Let me get right to the point.  No BS.  No dinking around.

There’s a brutally unpleasant dark side of being an HR professional.

You know it.

And I know it.

And here it is…

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5 Reasons Every HR Professional Needs Their Own Book…And How To Make It Happen Quickly!

by Alan Collins

When I finished my 9th book, The New HR Leader’s First 100 Days, I celebrated by going to dinner with a bunch of colleagues and friends at Ditka’s in Chicago.

Thick steaks.

Lots of mashed potatoes.

Chocolate cake.

Plenty of adult beverages.

Quite a few diets were abandoned that night.

There was also great conversation about the book.

But not what you’d expect.

Most of the comments were some variation of the following:

“Jeez, I’d like to write a book too, but…,”
“I have an idea for a book, however…,”
“I wish I had the time to write a book…”
“A book? I wouldn’t know where to start…”

I told the HR folks in the group that I understood. At one time, I felt the same way. But, based on what I knew about each of them, I strongly suggested that they, too, should get their OWN book going – now!

When they asked why, I was in no mental condition to answer them clearly…especially after a full meal and two vodka martinis. But I promised them I’d write out my rationale, post it on my blog…and provide them with some “help” on how to get their own book done fast.

So, guys, here you go. I’m delivering on my promise.

Here are 5 big reasons to author your own HR book…

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Winning HR’s Seat at the Table: How YOU Can Go From Annoying Pest To Welcome Guest… 

by Alan Collins

I’m a big fan of Dan Kennedy, the provocative author of the No BS Ruthless Guide to People & Profits. 

Dan likes to tell the story of working at home, one hot summer afternoon, sitting at his kitchen counter.

With a large iced tea in hand, he was on the phone with an important client.

His doorbell rang, but he ignored it.

It then rang again.
And again.
He continued ignoring it.
Then he heard a pounding on his front door.
“Damn,” he said to himself, but he continued his conversation.

Suddenly there was someone banging on the sliding glass door behind him. 

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“I Was Fired For Being Candid, Honest & Authentic in HR…” What Should I Do?

By Alan Collins

Dear Alan,

Thank you for posting the article, 4 Disgusting Frauds Who Are Faking It HR.

I was in a similar position as “Jill” who, in the article, laughs at her HR director’s tasteless and derogatory sexist jokes. 

As I understand it, “Jill” did this rather than risk her career by privately confronting him about his humor and the message he’s sending to the rest of the HR team.  

In many ways, I’m just like “Jill.”  Loke her I only wanted to fit in with the team and didn’t want any conflict or trouble. 

However, unlike her, I DID decide to confront my HR Director in private about his behavior. 

I believed it was an important discussion.

Unfortunately, he did not.

I was terminated the next day!

I live in a small town and have not been able to find any work in HR for the past three years.

My former manager is well connected and my career in this field is over.

I know it is important to be honest and your true self.

However, if I had known the repercussions would be so detrimental, I would never have said anything.

What’s your advice?



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