7 Key Skills for The Next Generation of Chief People Officers

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7 Key Skills for The Next Generation of Chief People Officers

Welcome to another exciting episode of All About HR! This is the podcast & video series for all HR Professionals and business leaders who want to future-proof their organization and learn about the latest trends & insights from industry experts, CHROs, and thought leaders.  

What skills do you need to manage the major shifts HR is facing? In this interview, we discuss this and more with Lars Schmidt, founder of Amplify and Redefining HR Accelerator, and author of the best-selling book, Redefining HR. Lars is an advocate for Modern HR and an active participant in projects aiming at helping the HR field advance forward.

In this episode, we talk about People Leadership and developing the next generation of Chief People Officers. Tune in to enjoy an energetic and insightful discussion about the difference between the modern and the legacy perception of Human Resources. 

In this episode, we talk about: 

  • Redefining HR
  • The 5 biggest shifts in HR
  • Continuous learning a crucial part of your HR career
  • What is Modern HR, its key elements, and skills required to succeed
  • How forcing employees back to the office can backfire

And much more!

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Watch the full video to find out why employees’ ability to choose is crucial for 2021 and beyond, and why HR teams that master flexibility will have a considerable advantage.


Neelie Verlinden: Hi, and welcome everyone to a brand new episode of all about HR. I’m so happy that you all joined us today again. My name is Neelie. I’m your host, and today I will be talking to Lars Schmidt, who is here with me. 

Lars Schmidt: Hey Neelie, how are you? 

Neelie Verlinden: I’m good. Thank you. What about yourself? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I’m doing great. 

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Neelie Verlinden: Now for those of you who don’t know him yet he is the founder of the Redefining HR Accelerator, and also the founder of Amplify. He also wrote a bestseller called Redefining HR. And he himself is a podcast host. And now I think that I’m surely forgetting a bunch of other things that you’re doing. So I’m not sure if there’s anything that you’d like to add? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, that works. I’m a dad, I’m a husband, I do some writing for Fast Company as well. But really kind of everything. I’m an advocate for modern HR and try to get involved in projects that help advance the field forward. 

Neelie Verlinden: Now, there’s one burning question that I had for you. And that is, what is it that you have with the color pink, because I see pink a lot in the Redefining HR Accelerator communication, it’s in your really fabulous studio that I already told you before the show that I’m a bit jealous of. It’s also I think I’m one of the surfboards behind you, sometimes you wear a pink t-shirt. So what is it with the color pink? 

Lars Schmidt: You know, I like the color pink first and foremost. But B, I’m a big brand nerd. I always have been. And so I like the idea of having a visual identity associated with the platform Redefining HR, just so that it’s consistent. So that if you’re seeing whether it’s a blog post, something about the accelerator, the community, podcast, video, whatever it might be, there’s a consistency to the look and feel. And so with pink kind of being the anchor color for Redefining HR, it’s, you know, I want to be able to reinforce that through all those different channels. 

Neelie Verlinden: And I think it works. Something else Lars, I saw, you mentioned something that I thought okay, I need to ask him about this. You said the future of work is not absolute, the future of work is choice. And there was this cool image, I think of Bart Simpson that went with these words. Now, what can you tell us about that? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, look, we’re in an interesting time. For HR, I don’t need to tell your viewers and listeners that like you know, they’re part of your network and your community. So they know what’s happening around us. I think that one of the biggest shifts for us right now is that, you know, the history of HR, if you go back to our legacy, it’s often oriented around, you know, playbooks and set ways of doing things, right. This is how we do compensation, this is how we do recruiting, this is how we do benefits. And the construct of being an employee is also pretty, you know, pretty structured, right? You come into an office, you work nine to five, you work Monday through Friday, and after going through what we went through last year, with the pandemic, and everything that came from that, those norms are kind of blown up. And so it’s not about, you know, it is absolutely remote, or it is absolutely hybrid, or it is absolutely co-located companies are going to be all over that spectrum. But the reality is, I think the ones that do really well are the ones that create flexible constructs that allow employees to opt into what works for them. And that’s what I mean by choice, giving employees you know, the power for the employees to be able to say, like, you know, some are desperate to go back in an office and some were, like, I want to be there five days a week, the moment it’s safe, and I have the green light to do so, you know, others will never go back in office, and most are somewhere in between. And we’re talking about knowledge workers or people in roles that have the ability to work remotely. And obviously, that’s not all employees so let me qualify that. But I think for those employees, choice wins, flexibility wins. And I think companies and HR teams are going to have a huge advantage in choices, that’s the word for 2021. And beyond teams, the phrase is probably hold on tight, because, you know, 2020 was brutal for HR for many reasons. 2021 is going to be exhilarating for many other reasons. So yeah, absolutely. 

Neelie Verlinden: Thanks, Lars. Now, just slightly changing tack here, because I wanted to talk with you, of course, about Redefining HR. When you hear that it can mean many different things. But to you, what does redefining HR mean? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, to me, redefining HR is kind of taking control of the narrative of what it means to practice HR. And what I mean by that is that oftentimes, HR is stereotyped in a certain way, based on kind of legacy perceptions of the function. So you know, transactional, reactive, administrative, things that aren’t flattering and things frankly, that I certainly don’t identify with, and everybody who I interviewed in my podcast and people who are leading modern teams, they don’t identify with. And so the idea of a lot of people I think is that Oh, do you mean like now we’re people operations, you know, are now our talent culture. Maybe I’m not saying you have to like, kill the name, HR. Obviously, my book is called redefining HR. It’s more about your mindset and your impact and kind of creating a new narrative for the field. And so that’s, you know, it’s the reputation, it’s the impact, it’s how it’s valued by the business. But it’s really kind of not allowing ourselves to be painted with that legacy brush that doesn’t apply to a lot of us, and kind of, you know, retaking control of the narrative of who we are and what we do. 

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Neelie Verlinden: And what do you feel has triggered this need to redefine HR? I know, you just mentioned the fact that a lot of people working in the field, they can’t identify with the way HR has been, let’s say pictured, so that’s probably one of the things. But what other developments have triggered this need for a new HR for like, redefining HR? 

Lars Schmidt: I mean, I think if you look at, and I use this kind of, you know, analogy of HR is a spectrum. And this is anecdotal, this has been based on my you know, interviews and experience and yada, yada. So, I don’t have the data to show this, if you ask me that. But I’d say probably, if you look at the field, there’s 10% on that very cutting edge, right. And they’re fully integrated in the business, key partners to the executive team, strategic advisors, they’re really full of business operators who focus on people. Yeah, the other end of that spectrum, that’s probably 20%. And that’s more of that transactional reactive personnel. That’s not always their fault, that may just be the environment they’re in and the leadership they have, and they’re just not empowered to do anything beyond, you know, get people paid to make sure that benefits and that sort of thing, and the bulk are in the middle. And so I think, you know, the imperative now for redefining HR, certainly coming out of the events of 2020, is, we have this real opportunity to fundamentally change how we operate as a function, but also what the very nature of work looks like, you know, much of I mentioned that kind of Monday through Friday, nine to five being in an office, those are industrial era constructs that have held over for decades, generations. And we’ve just gone through this global phenomenon that kind of poked a hole in that perceived reality of how work needed to happen. And so now that we’re kind of charting our path forward, there’s so much opportunity for us. And so I think now is really the time where the idea of redefining HR and kind of taking control of that narrative and building something different from the ground up based on today’s reality is so important for the field. 

Neelie Verlinden: Where do you see the biggest shifts already happening now? You touched on, of course, the choice element earlier, choice for employees, for instance, when it comes to coming to the office or staying at home, when we talk about knowledge workers. But yeah, where do you see other big shifts happening? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, there’s a couple things. I mean, I think that you know, obviously, the shift to remote and hybrid is massive. Most companies who have the ability to have employees work from home are now hybrid by default, to what extent that can vary tremendously. But I think that, you know, hybrids are going to be here to stay. And it’s also the most difficult construct, if you compare that to like, fully distributed, or fully co located and office, I think our conversation around racial equity and justice and social justice has changed, I shouldn’t say has changed, because it’s not an end state, is changing, and the imperative on HR, to really build representative and inclusive organizations and work systems and kind of identifying uproot systemic inequity within their operations and their business in a company. That’s another huge imperative. For the field of HR, I think our conversations around mental health and wellness and well being are at a very different place today than they were even five years ago. So that’s another big shift. And then another would be business acumen. I think what’s exciting about the field is, you know, historically, HR had been a pretty insular field, meaning you came in as an associate, and you worked your way up, but a lot of people spent their entire careers in the field of HR. Now we’ve got lots of people coming into the field from other areas of the business, bringing in new perspectives, new skill sets, new ways of thinking, new ways of solving problems. And so that infusion of new ideas and talent is also having a transformative kind of accelerating impact on our field. And then the last thing I would say is the shift from blackbox to open source, in terms of how we think and how we operate. Historically, HR wasn’t very good at sharing and kind of talking about, like, how they did what they did, right? Like we’d go on stage and we’d say, look at this cool thing we did, but we wouldn’t talk about all the mistakes we made along the way we wouldn’t, you know, give away templates that we were using Now I think with the way that the ethos and the mentality of open source has scaled globally, people are much more willing to share their practices, share their templates, share their toolkits. And so having access to that propels us all forward. And so all of those, I think, are key factors. 

Neelie Verlinden: Yeah, there are a lot of elements that I would love to unpack. And I think we’ll do that a little bit later on in the conversation, because there were a few things that I recognized that we here at HR also feel are definitely happening now. So we’ll come back to that a bit later, Lars. Before we get there, though, I wanted to zoom in on modern HR and people leadership because you yourself, you are also all about helping to develop the new generation of Chief people officers, we at AIHR, we are also into educating HR professionals. So there are definitely, as I said, some parallels there. But when we look at the redefining HR accelerator, then yeah, it’s a platform. As I said, it’s meant to help develop the next generation of Chief people, officers, and there are a few elements, their programs, courses and community wanted to start here. What do you feel that modern HR and people leadership looks like? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, so modern HR people, you know, it, I think, is anchored in a lot of those points that I mentioned in terms of shifts. So, you know, strong business acumen, a strong kind of peer network to help leaders solve problems that haven’t been prioritized before, around racial equity and inclusion and representation in all aspects of the people strategy, comfortable with people analytics, you know, you don’t have to be a data scientist by any means. Few of us are even happy to love that level, though, some do, but you have to at least be data-informed and kind of understand how to extract insights from the data, you also have to be, you know, agile. And I think, you know, when I talk about agile, I use it more in the context of your mindset. So the world around us is, you know, understatement, of course, but like changing dramatically, and it has been, and if we’re not prioritizing our own learning, our own kind of education and learning agility to stay on top of some of these external factors that are impacting our business we’re limiting the value that we bring in our roles. And it’s also a double-edged sword because it’s also never been more difficult to find the time to invest in that. Because the demands of your jobs, you know, for all of you who are practitioners right now, like you’ve got a really hard job and the demands, they don’t end and they’re increasing, frankly. And so because of that, it makes it really hard to find the time for education. But you’ve got to find a way to do that and to build that into your workflow, just so you can keep tabs on all of these different changing dynamics that are definitely gonna be having an impact in your world. 

Neelie Verlinden: Yeah, that’s interesting that you mentioned Lars because that is something I saw in one of your tweets, I believe. And there you said community and shared learning, that they are crucial to building a lasting career. And then you said, but yet many HR professional practitioners struggled to find the time. And by the way, I think that is true across the board, right? That is not just for HR professionals. That’s for everybody working in organizations, we all say that. L&D is very important. We all recognize the importance of developing your people within the organization. But then one of the most common issues that everybody has to deal with is that people struggle to find that time. What do you think can help tackle that? Do you have any thoughts on that? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, I do. Look, I think at a bare minimum this is certainly what I do myself, and I advocate, anybody that will listen to do the same, at a bare minimum, carve out one hour, in your schedule every single week, same time, same hour, block it, do not let people schedule over it, his is your learning time, this is your time to actually go through and read all those articles that you’ve seen on social media, or that your colleagues or friends, you know, emailed you and said, Hey, check this out. It’s your time to listen to that podcast that you liked between two leaders you admire and you want to hear their conversation, if you’re not ready to read that white paper, read that book, whatever it might be, if you don’t actually put that in your calendar and block it and defend it. It’s not gonna happen. So at a bare minimum, I think everybody if you’re watching, listening, you know, do this right now. Go to your calendar, find a time that’s available, block an hour and make it a repeating weekly schedule, but really take that seriously, right, because people you know, you’re in jobs and HR people are, people are putting things on your calendar all the time, but you’re always having to juggle to accommodate other people, this is your you time, this is your investment in you so blocked out time that is not you know, a loose thing that you’d like to get to, it’s an absolute must that you will get to every week, I think start there. And then from there, I think you can find ways to scale that maybe make it two hours a week because you have to realize that when you think about education, it’s an investment in yourself. Right and especially for those of you incorporate roles, you’re not going to be in that job the rest of your life from, you know, for most of you. And so, you know, yes, you have commitments to your employer, and you should meet those commitments and those obligations, but you can’t sacrifice your own growth and development completely just to be able to serve your employer, you’ve got to be able to find that balance. And that’s not always easy for HR to do because of the demands of our job. But it’s important. And so, yeah, I would hope that all of you do that, defend that and take it very seriously. But think of it as an investment in yourself. And you’ve got to be making a continual investment in yourself, in order to really build a lasting career, given the complexity of the world that we’re in right now. 

Neelie Verlinden: It is so true, but at the same time Lars, it’s also so true that it’s so easy to just skip that one hour. Here within our team at HR at some point, we also said, Okay, let’s all set aside one hour a week to learn, like you say, to invest in yourself to work on your development. And recently, I started to be very optimistic. And for the first maybe five, six weeks, it went very well. And then, you know, slowly, but surely that one hour now, I don’t know where it went, but it’s gone. 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, look, you’re a great case study, it’s easy to say, it’s not easy to do that. That’s why I’m reinforcing. Like, you’ve really got to be committed to this and view it as like, this isn’t just like, not now I’m gonna learn something today, this is like, I’m gonna invest in myself, like, I’m worth investing in myself. And like that, I think when you reframe that narrative a little bit, so that it’s not just like, I want to learn, because learning is important. You’re saying I want to invest in myself, because an investment in myself will pay dividends down the road, you know, today and tomorrow, and in the future. I think maybe reframing that a little bit might help, you know, make that commitment, a bit more firm. But it’s not easy. So I don’t want to say that it is. 

Neelie Verlinden: No but I agree with you. And maybe that’s another thing that we should redefine then, that we should appreciate it, maybe talk about it as development or learning. Maybe we should talk about it as investing in yourself. And then you know, to have the dividends down the road. I think this goes for a lot of things that we talk about, it’s so easy to say we should do this, we should do that. But in practice, it always is so much harder than when we can philosophize a little bit about it in, for instance, the conversation that we have today. And the thing that also goes for modern people’s leadership. Now, one of the things that I was wondering about here is that many organizations, that’s what we’re seeing now as well, that they aren’t there yet. We see examples, and I saw you talk about them as well on your social channels of companies who can’t wait to push their people back into the offices. How optimistic are you actually that this awareness of modern people leadership, redefining HR, that will actually become mainstream? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, look, I’m an eternal optimist. So that applies to this as well. But I think, but I’m also a realist, like I you know, we have to own that, like the kind of HR that we’re talking about that modern progressive, the kind of case studies that I highlight in the book, that’s the minority of the field, that’s not the majority, right? So let’s own that, and be honest about that. I think that when you look at organizations that are trying to push back against those. In my mind, the world that existed in February of 2020, doesn’t exist anymore. It just doesn’t. And so I think for, for leaders, and or HR teams, they’re trying to push back to that reality and just do a big reset, like, or like, or just go in the Wayback Machine, and we’re gonna hit that data, we’re gonna, like, they can do that. And some companies absolutely will do that, but they’re gonna have a really hard time holding on to talent. You know, I think when you look at some of the global statistics, right now, you know, upwards of 40% of employees are planning to look for a job this year, you know, they call it the great, you know, tsunami of turnover in the great Exodus, I think that, you know, that, coupled with the fact that there are so many more organizations now who’ve already made commitments to being hybrid, or remote, and many new companies that are being created now are being created by default, that way those employees have options. So if you’re trying to cram them back into a construct, that they no longer fit the world, and certainly their world, you know, they’re gonna make a choice with their feet and decide whether they want to stick around for that, or go somewhere else. Or maybe they’re gonna stick around and be miserable, because now they’re commuting, you know, three hours a day again, and they haven’t done that for 15 months. You know, now you either have people leaving, or you have people staying and being actively disengaged, you know, both of those outcomes are pretty bad. So I think what I expect to see like this, the shift that is happening right now with people designing return to workplace plans, and making commitments to hybrid and figuring that out, like, the next year is going to be like this, it’s going to be all over the place. And I think we’re not really going to start to stabilize until probably mid 2022. When companies have tried some of these models, and they failed, and they tried different things or companies, you know, push to return to that pre pandemic norm. And their employees, you know, said nope, that doesn’t work for us and they left. Like I think that some of these organizations that are trying to revert back to that legacy process, they’re probably gonna have to feel some pain before they make changes. Because in their mind right now, like until they felt that pain. Sure, like I’ve read all these articles that talk about the great resignation and all these things, but you know, people like it here but people want to go back to the office of the CEO, I want to go back to the office. And if I do, I’m sure my employees do. So I’m going to make everybody do that, you know that those companies and those leaders are going to have to feel some pain of the outcome of that, and maybe they won’t, in some cases, but you know, I think that for them to think pain will have to be the thing that gets them to realize, Okay, wait a minute, maybe this doesn’t work anymore. Maybe I have to rethink this. But, you know, all the articles or podcasts or research in the world today might not get them there. They might have to get to that pain point. Before they rethink things. 

Neelie Verlinden: This partially already answers one of my next questions, actually, largely because I was gonna ask you what in your opinion could happen or needs to happen to accelerate this process? So we have a little bit of pain, perhaps that some organizations might need to feel first. But are there any other things that come to mind? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, I think I think the pain of the company is that trying to push people back into a construct doesn’t work. And I think that that will be reality, I think for those of you that are watching and listening, that are working in organizations that are having that pressure, look for examples of what your competitors are doing either direct kind of vertical business competitors, or talent competitors, so companies, your chip, typically trying to pull talent from, you know, and if they’re, you know, hybrid, or flexible, or whatever, if they have constructs that they’ve created and committed to, that are more progressive and flexible, you know, get that data and bring that to your boss, bring that to the CEO, and be like, hey, look, you know, the CEO, you can make this call, you know, hopefully you also have survey data from your employees. If not, you absolutely should know that in terms of like, what is their ideal scenario? You know, what is what, you know, what, what do they want to be hybrid? Do they want to be fully remote? If they were hybrid? How many days a week? I think absolutely all of you should be having that data, because that data should certainly shape what it is you propose in terms of your structure. But if you have a CEO who’s looking at that data, and the data is saying, you know, we want a hybrid construct, or whatever, and you’re saying, Yeah, but I want you in an office, so I’m gonna make you an office, like, Hey, you have the data to show them. That’s a mistake. You’re telling them based on all the other research that’s out there right now that you can easily get your hands on. That’s a mistake, you know, but the reality is, you know, some CEOs are just gonna be very stubborn about what they expect. And you know, no amount of data is going to change their mind. That’s why I say, you know, in those scenarios, pain is the only thing that might. 

Neelie Verlinden: Yeah, I’m afraid that that’s true. Lars, you already mentioned a few of the competencies that you believe are very important for the new generation of Chief people, officers. I heard you talk about data literacy. You also talked about business acumen, among other things. And at HR, we also believe that the future of HR is T-shaped. So we have this competency framework. And there are five main competencies, there’s business acumen, surprising leaders, data literacy, there’s people advocacy, there is digital integration, and then in the vertical part of that T is the functional capabilities or the functional competencies. Now, I wanted to ask you, what are your thoughts on this? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, look, I think all those things are right. What I might add to that would be, you know, I hate the term branding as it relates to an individual but I think executive branding and presence and the ability to influence up and down the organization is a vital component to modern chief people officers, and often something that they get zero training it but in for some people who are lucky, like they have innate abilities in that area. And you know, they’re able to do that for many they don’t, and they need that to be successful. If you’re influencing the board, if you’d like we’re talking about designing and kind of pushing back perhaps against the CEO who’s trying to go in the wrong direction, if you don’t have that ability to influence and to communicate and to and to make a compelling argument and back it up and stand by it firmly, it’s going to be really hard to move that and I think, again, going back from like, the modern profile to the legacy profile, because the legacy profile, the stereotype is more administrative and reactive, like they don’t have influence, they’re not able to influence that shift. And so that piece is there. And I would even say this kind of connects to writing and communication, you know, written communication, I think so much of our emails, blog posts, company memos, etc. Most of us in HR I’ve never been trained in, in writing. It actually kind of, you know, articulates our thoughts and ideas in a concise way with written language. And so I think that’s another piece that is really important, but I do agree the T shape is important. You have to have a deep enough understanding in a lot of those areas, and you’re probably only going to go deep in a couple of them. 

Neelie Verlinden: So super interesting additions there, though a lot. And I think you are absolutely right that the, let’s say the influence element, is very important. And the writing, also very important. And I think the two are well, everything is linked, of course, but these two particularly are because I think when you want to make your point as a CHRO, you need to know how to verbally make your point and come across. But that’s something that you I think, nine out of 10 times, we’ll probably need to support your written material as well. So I think these two make a lot of sense. So what I wanted to ask you about as well, Lars, is you have this combination, also in the Redefining HR Accelerator community and shared learning, what

makes this such a powerful combination? 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, to me, my personal kind of approach to this is, you know, community over everything, I think community is central to advancing the field of HR. And particularly as it relates to, you know, CEOs, and you know, existing CHRO, heads of people, and people are moving in that space, your community is your lifeline. In a lot of cases, like it is such a hard job, it is an incredibly difficult job. It’s an emotional job, it’s a stressful job, you know, you’re dealing with the highest highs and lowest of lows of employees and you need that support network, you cannot be a high impact CPO if you don’t have a peer network, you just can’t because there’s so many things that you can’t share with anybody in your organization. And if you don’t have external people to share that with to ask questions, and to lean on when you need it, it’s already a lonely job. And it’s infinitely more lonely if you don’t have those peer networks to support you. And so what’s interesting to me about the cohort programs within the accelerator is, you know, you’re learning alongside a global mix of peers. And you know, for the upcoming cohort that launches in July, there are students from eight countries represented. And so in particular, I think it is important as it is . This is kind of similar to my comments on education, as important it is to build your network as a CHRO, it’s really hard to find the time to do that, right? You know, you don’t have a lot of bandwidth to go to conferences back when conferences happen, you might have a local pure network, you know, in your local city, you might have a, if you’re working in tech, you know, most venture capital firms will have you know, somebody who kind of gets all the heads of people together. You know, it is like a loose organization around that. But you know, though, if you have those, you’re lucky. A lot of people don’t even have those. And so I think what’s interesting and actually very intentional, around designing the accelerator program is I wanted to create a platform to bring global people leaders together to share ideas to build kinship and community for the way that the organization, the cohorts are structured. You know, there’s a mix of asynchronous and synchronous learning. So for the synchronous session, you know, one of them is a learning session where I bring in guest instructors who are, you know, world class experts in different disciplines to train them on a topic. And then the other is a discussion session, where they’re all broken into breakout groups, and the breakout groups are to discuss that topic, but also to share challenges that they’re facing in their current in their current role related to that topic, so that everybody can say, Oh, you know what, I faced that before. And here’s what I did, when that happened. Or maybe you can try this, or actually, you know, what, I designed this a year ago, I have all these templates, you can all send them to you and you can use them. So the ability for that peer to peer, you know, no pun intended, but acceleration of both learning and network equity is essential. So I think that’s going to be you know, everything that I build within the accelerators it can use the scale will have a default line on community because I think that’s just so important in today’s world, especially for the next generation of CEOs. 

Neelie Verlinden: All right, Lars, I think we are now getting to the very last part of our conversation, and there’s something that we’d like to do with all our guests, is we like to ask them to share an epic fail and or an epic win with us. 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, look, I love, you know, failure if there’s lots of good learning and failure. You know, I think a recent epic fail for me was here last year. During the pandemic, I hosted a podcast called Redefining HR. I thought that, you know, with everybody at home, you know, quarantining for the most part, I would experiment with instead of doing an audio podcast, I would make it a weekly actually a daily live video show, and I would and I thought, hey, a perfect environment to experiment was something like that. It was a disaster like nobody watched nobody cave. There’s no engagement. I did it for about three weeks, and then just you know, realized it just didn’t get any traction. So I killed it and went back to the typical format. So that was a humbling experience, I thought something that I thought would land didn’t land at all. And that, you know, I think for me, I’m not the opposite of risk averse, like, I’m happy to try things and pilot and if they work, do more of them, and if they don’t move on from it. And so this was a good lesson for me of just, you know, live streaming video. And in the context of the early days of a global pandemic, I think, you know, a win for me, it was, you know, probably back when I was at, you know, Ticketmaster, one that stands out when I was being groomed to succeed are chro. And in that, they asked me to create an internal comms function at Ticketmaster from the ground up, and I did that for about a month before we announced our intent to merge with Live Nation. And, you know, they didn’t have anybody who did internal comms there. And there, they looked at our org chart. They’re like, Oh, wait, you have this Lars guy who does internal comms and like, I had been the Global Head of talent acquisition, like I’d been a recruiter up until the last month when I started branching out a bit. And so I was tasked with the internal comms strategy for a multi billion dollar global merger and pulled it off in, you know, we didn’t end up bringing any consultants. I designed the whole plan myself. And interestingly enough, this was probably the foundation for me in open source and network equity, because I was like, I’ve never done this. But I was a member of a networking group called the entertainment Human Resources network in LA. And so I knew people from like Warner Brothers and Disney and you know, other organizations who’d been through mergers, and I called my friend there, and I’m like, Hey, can you put me through your head of internal comms? So I can ask them, like, What do I do? Like, what do I look out for? And people were super generous with their time. They met me for coffee. They shared, you know, their approaches, some shared templates. And so yeah, I think that was at a pivotal point in my career, being tasked with something that seemed impossible, you know, leveraging both network equity, community and open source allowed me to successfully solve that problem. And I think that that kind of sent me in this different direction, in terms of advocacy for all those things, because I saw the benefit firsthand. 

Neelie Verlinden: Yes, when I was listening to you, I was thinking, wow, I can see how that started connecting here and how somehow that was the seed for what you were doing today. And as the community comes back and nice, nice stories, both of them, actually. Thank you. Thank you for sharing and also well done for keeping up the live streaming for three weeks for every day, because that is still a nice effort, I think. 

Lars Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, really, it came down to like, you know, most of the guests were friends in the space or contacts. So it was like me being able to hang out with somebody for an hour that nobody watched, but I you know, I had fun catching up. 

Neelie Verlinden: But still, it’s still a nice effort. Thank you so much. And thank you so much as well for this conversation Lars. I really enjoyed it. I hope you did too. That was that. So thanks, everyone for listening to this episode as well. Don’t forget, as always, to subscribe to the channel, leave a review or a comment and share it with a friend. Thank you so much and goodbye. Alright. Thanks, everyone. Thanks

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