The book Social Gravity by my friends at Talent Anarchy, Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerdastandt has become my networking Bible. In the book, Joe and Jason talk about continually making intentional connections, and two of the areas that they feature extensively are karma and “The Bank of Reciprocity”. I love what these guys have to say on this, but when i start thinking of these areas, and of networking in general one name always comes to mind, and that is Steve Browne, who is a master of both.
I first came across Steve a few years ago on Twitter. We were both taking part in a twitter chat for job seekers, and Steve was giving out some sage advice as well as warm words of encouragement. One of the things I’ve always loved about networking on Twitter is that geography goes out of the window, and good people find good people. After the chat, a LinkedIn connection request followed, and an invite to join the HRNet. The HRNet is a website and e-mail newsletter that steve sends out each week to connect HR professionals. This started long before the days of social media, when connecting people was so much harder. Steve has worked really hard to intentionally connect with others and share contacts and resources.
One of the things I have grown to admire about Steve is that he has no other motive for connecting people, other than a passion for his chosen profession and for people. Most people who network tirelessly do so because it is linked in some way to the way they make a living. Thats no disrespect to them, I am after all in that category, but it is rare to find people like Steve with no additional business motive.
Steve is Executive HR Director for La’Rossas Pizza who he joined in 2006, with HR responsibility for over 1400 team members. The summary on Steve’s LinkedIn profile summary outlines his approach:
“I am taking a much different approach to HR than many other opportunities I’ve had, or that I see in most companies.
I am working with the Executives to truly integrate HR across the Company so that it is a true Business Partner that can work with the Team Members we have to improve our Company.”
Steve is passionate about the real value of HR to business, and collaboration amongst people. I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at Ohio SHRM in 2011 when Steve was conference chair. This event summed up Steve’s unique approach, opening the event dressed in a rock’n’roll outfit with smoke, flashing lights and a song. This set the tone for the event, with less attention to formality, and more on connecting, networking and having fun. HR Rocks really worked. You can see Steve in action here:
What struck me at this event was the genuine affection and respect that Steve’s colleagues from Ohio and the HR community at large hold for him. Steve has been an HR practitioner for over 17 years. He qualified from Ohio in 1986 in BS Communications and Interpersonal Communications, and is a passionate advocate of not just being a member, but being an active member of SHRM. I’m planning on working with Steve later this year on #truOhio because of the friends I have made in Ohio as a result of connecting with Steve. I started this post quoting Social Gravity, Karma and The Bank Of reciprocity. Steve has more than paid his dues and deserves a return on his investment. He started his blog “EverydayPeople” a year or so ago when it was set up for him as a gift from his family to share his thoughts with the world. Steve’s latest post sees him hosting the Carnival of HR series, promoting other bloggers. I’m going to be hosting the same series on the 20’th June, and will be posting instructions on how you can take part on Tuesday. It’s going to feature a video juke box, and the chance to recognise someone who has inspired or helped you. Tune in on Tuesday for details.
You can find him on Twitter most days, saying good morning and exchanging advice and resources, when you see him there say hello. I know he will appreciate it.
Thanks Steve for being a friend and inspiration, if karma has anything to do with it you deserve all the rewards coming your way.