Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Remeber the guys in the Orange Trucks

Here in the heartland, we are digging out from a lot of snow. We got hit hard with up to 20 inches in some areas. Many of us have our own responsibilities to clean up the mess. If you are a home owner you have to clear your driveway and walkways. If you are a business owner, you may have walkways and a parking area to clear.
But the neighborhood streets and state highways are left to government agencies to clear. We expect this to happen. We expect police, firemen, National Guardsmen to take care of us in this time of need. We don’t care how it happens or how it gets paid for, we just want it done.

There is not a government agency that is not in a budget crisis right now, but the citizenry simply expects the roads to be cleared, oh and get it done quickly too. Last night I-55 was closed from mile marker 10 (near St. Louis) to mile marker 126 (halfway between Springfield and Bloomington). This is a major arterial road. It is open now.

IDOT (Orange) Trucks working thier magic

The road was open by the folks in the Orange IDOT trucks. They worked through the night in terrible conditions to get the road open for us. Good job IDOT snow plow drivers.

Now fast forward to late May when the Illinois General Assembly is winding down. There will no doubt be a budget problem, and it will be the employees of or like IDOT crews that clean the roads, who are going to be at the business end of the budget ax. So remember this moment now, because it will be easy to be all over them and want to throw the rascals out when it is not so readily apparent of their need.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

“Anything Worthwhile is Worth Going After”

I’ve been in more than a few discussions about “finding the value” in my SHRM or my local SHRM chapter membership. Currently the chapter I belong to, IV-SHRM, is putting together some strategies to show the value of our local chapter to our members and community. So with that back drop in mind, here is what happened to me last week.

Last week I was looking for a misplaced e-mail. As I was searching in a few of the folders that I thought this e-mail may be in, I rediscovered some e-mail subscriptions I had signed up for with SHRM. I found several nuggets that were outstanding.

That got me to thinking about gold mining. It’s funny how the mind makes those associations. I’m sure some psychologist would have a field day with….well, never mind…that’s a story for another day.

There are records from back in the day (the 1849 gold rush) when prospectors would pan for gold and come up with 96 ounces of gold in a single pan. That would be worth about $100,000 today! The gold pan is most commonly used to locate areas that may contain larger reserves of gold. By sampling an area, the prospector can find the areas where larger equipment should be brought in to mine the gold.

I did a bit of looking around and I want to share this paragraph from an article I found from an article by Dave McCracken called, “Gold Panning Instructions.”

“The process basically consists of placing the material that you want to process into your pan and shaking it in a left to right motion underwater to cause the gold, which is heavy, to work its way down toward the bottom of your pan. At the same time, the lighter materials, which are worthless, are worked up to the surface of the gold pan where they can be swept away. The process of shaking and sweeping is repeated until only the heaviest of materials are left-namely the gold and heaviest black sand.

Once you are out in the field, you will notice that no two people pan gold exactly alike. After you have been at it awhile, you will develop your own little twists and shakes to accomplish the proper result.

I’ve found that “panning” for those nuggets of value in your SHRM chapter, State Council or SHRM National membership is about the same. None of us are going to do it exactly the same way. And in time, we will all find our own techniques to get the most out of our memberships.

But the kicker to me is, anything worthwhile is certainly worth going after.

So here are some tips and techniques to “pan” SHRM, your local chapter or State Council.

1. Get to know those who are there to help you. Your local chapter and State Council have a lot to offer in resources and support. They both are typically “staffed” with volunteers who will be more than happy to help you find what you need. And the SHRM Field Services Directors and administrators are very accessible to help you with finding resources with SHRM national.

2. Go to their websites and return there often. Even many of the local chapters now have websites with some information on the resources they offer.

3. Look for blogs, Facebook, LinkIn or Twitter accounts to follow from these organizations and their leaders.

4. Subscribe to any e-mail notifications you believe may help you unearth some valuable nuggets.

5. Attend their functions.

6. Network with other members.

7. Ask for help when you need it.

8. Offer help when you have it to offer.

Now for a word to those organizations providing great value to their members: Put something out there for people to “catch in their pan.” If people are looking but you’re not making it easily accessible, they will either give up or go look elsewhere.