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The Bracket-ology of Day Two at the i4cp Conference

I’ll admit it. Day two of a good conference brings a certain gamesmanship in comparing speakers and sessions. Who gave the better pitch? So in the spirit of this weekend’s NCAA basketball final four tournament, here is the competitive view--the bracket-ology--of the presentations so far. And may those with the best ability to stimulate the greatest interest, inspiration, and practicality win!

LinkedIn vs. Goodyear: Sexy HR or Old School Fundamentals

Why Pat Wadors, CHRO of LinkedIn should win:

A dynamic presenter and presentation filled with all the freshness and challenge of Bay area HR innovators today. After admitting the early days of her tenure were spent shoring up the infrastructure of HR, Pat provided stories, videos, and a good deal of ‘wow’ with the way HR is now being done at LinkedIn. An unabashed promoter of the value of HR, the clever and creative use of a hackathon from mostly non-HR interns and a smartphone app ‘perk up’ benefit gave many in the audience a case of cutting edge HR FOMO (fear of missing out). She finished strong by introducing the term DIBs – insightfully adding Belonging to the traditional view of D&I.

Why Joe Ruocco, former CHRO Goodyear should win:

With a style reminiscent of coaches who win with superior execution and not flash, Joe provided a comprehensive view of the talent turnaround story at Goodyear. Most impressive was the way his team put up the numbers of increased pipeline strength, internal promotions and great retention over eight years. He generously shared his seven attribute playbook of integrated talent strategies, tools and templates. There was a confidence and consistency in the winning way Joe and his team played the talent game. There was depth and sustainability here, well beyond the fashion of the day.

John Boudreau vs. Ford Motor Co: A Brave New World of Work or A Framework for the Future

Why John Boudreau should win:

While John presented on day one, his cutting-edge study of emerging alternative work arrangements spoke of a future that needs to be compared to today’s presentation from Ford’s futurist. John’s work was specific, compelling, more than a bit scary but credibly provided examples and “how to’s.” (See yesterday’s blog for more details.)

Why Sheryl Connelly, Ford Global Consumer Trend and Futuring Manager, should win:

Sheryl wove a delightful and engaging tapestry of how to think about the future. She displayed a masterful balance of facts and opinions, provocation and practicality, challenging trends and useful lenses. One highlight for me was her ‘best in class’ description of multi-generational workforce characteristics and dynamics at play today. Her stated intent was not to predict the future but rather to spur new insights together that none of us alone would come up with. She succeeded.

Rob Cross vs. Apple: A look at the numbers for smart social collaboration or intelligent HR Analytics.

Why Rob Cross, University of Virginia Professor and network guru should win:

Rob quickly brought everyone up to speed on the numbers of social network analysis and then posed the dilemma of organization’s needing increased collaboration yet leaders now being overwhelmed with the multitude of demands of increased meeting, emails and social collaboration sites. This was another master at work providing smart thinking, intriguing solutions yet equally involving the audience in considering our own situation and opportunities. Perhaps most impressive was his generous sharing of material and resources—including a free social networking software tool.

Why Akil Walton, HR Sr. Director, Apple Corporation should win:

Akil provided a whirlwind tour of his portfolio of HR analytics work, certainly capturing the ‘most templates in a 50-minute pitch’ (no pictures please). As with Dr. Cross, Akil took the audience from the basics to the advance in a very short amount of time, providing a great deal of application nuggets for those who could write fast. Sandwiched between the various templates were incredibly useful step-by-step lists of the 10 ways to start this or the 15 considerations for doing that. His passion for the practice also came through, encouraging the profession to use the right analytics to put a stake in the ground and be willing to be accountable for results.


Day one ended with a presentation from Best Buddies International, an advocacy group for employment of the largely untapped talent source of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Day two ended with the screening of the documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, a thought-proving look at the gap in American female and minority software engineers. A fantastic panel conversation followed the film, including Robin Hauser Reynolds, the producer-director, and leading HR practitioners in the tech field, Alexis Fink of Intel, and Sohelia Khosravani of Boeing. If only a single champion can be crowned at the end of the second day, my nomination would be this powerful combination of these two end-of-the-day sessions that caused us to stretch our thinking and touch our hearts.

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Kevin Wilde
Kevin D. Wilde is a strategic business advisor to the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and currently serves as an executive leadership fellow at the University of Minnesota. His prior 34-year corporate career includes serving as the head of learning and talent management at General Mills. Chief Learning Officer magazine named him CLO of the Year in 2007. His most recent award-winning book is, “Coachability: The Leadership Superpower.”