Former Governor Jeb Bush Kicks Off #SHRM18

So, I have to admit… I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Jeb Bush when I saw the keynotes announced for SHRM national this year. What would he say to a room full of HR people — I wanted to find out. I was wary of something political — and this isn’t the first time that there has been a politician as a keynote at SHRM, but with the political climate today, I wasn’t in the mood to hear anything political — I’m so glad that I didn’t listen to my immediate assumptions. Ironically, his session has been one of the highlights for me this conference — and I didn’t find it overly political, but I found myself taking a lot of notes, nodding, and even given an occasional “uh huh, yep” in agreement.  I want to tell you quickly about a few of the key takeaways (I have a long list 😉 so just jotting down a few) that I got from his speech.

Team’s Don’t Always Have to Agree to Get the Job Done

One of the first things that he said that got my attention and resonated with me is the thought that its okay to disagree with people, but you still need to work together to get stuff done. How many times have you been in that situation as an HR person — helping coach a manager or employee on how to work with through managing a difficult relationship where people don’t see eye to eye, but they need to work together to get stuff done. It often has catastrophic results to the business or to relationships — and even careers if people can’t move past it and develop this skill.

The second nugget that I took from his speech was to be willing to listen to opposing views. A reminder near and dear to me with my employee relations hat on — sometimes people don’t want to listen, they don’t listen with the intent of actually listening, or they are listening while forming their rebuttal in their head. I loved the reminder to stop and listen to people. Be present and in that moment and be open to what someone else might say. You don’t have to jump to conclusions. You don’t have to go on the defensive. You don’t have to agree — but people should feel like they have been (and can be) heard. I even think you that you listen, disagree, and still be respectful and show respect. Think about what that looks like in the workplace.

Be Open to Getting News and Information from Different Sources

A third great take away was his suggestion to be your own curator of news — and be open to getting news from different sources. I found myself nodding my head at this. Personal habits aside on where and how you get your news … I do this pretty frequently in the workplace. I have to be careful that its not seen as alienating or triangulating, but also to be well informed and to get the whole side of a story — from which I can set my own opinion on. Also as a blogger and someone who is on social media a lot for issues around my profession, I’m putting my thoughts and my opinions out there — often uncited or reviewed — and while I try to be “balanced” or present several points of view I don’t do it all the time — and trust me, I have different opinions on HR topics than other HR pros and influencers — mine is just one in a sea of opinions and thoughts. But I try to get it out there for people to consume and make their own minds up about it.

All in all — a great topic and good talk — lots more where this came from on the #shrm18 hashtag (and maybe try adding “JebBush” or @JebBush) on social media.  He also spoke about immigration, career readiness, skills shortage, ways to innovate, diversity, and career justice reform. He packed in a lot in 30 minutes!

Read More #SHRM18 Coverage:

Women at Work: How to Command a Room

#SHRM18 HR Recertification Special

How to Manage Incivility in Your Workplace 

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Andrea Devers

Andrea is an HR technologist and change management expert. She’s has built her career in global HR Compliance, HR process improvement, and shared services across all functions of HR. Connect with Andrea.


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