Monday, October 09, 2006

Upside-down respect

I noticed something at the MSFT company meeting a couple weeks ago that totally shocked me.

During the company meeting, most of the really high-level executives gave a speech.

I was sitting surrounded by a bunch of people who have been MSFTies much longer than I have (most of the company has been there longer than I have). When the executives started speaking, and the demos were over, most of the employees around me kind of tuned the execs out. They speak corporatespeak, like all executives, and most peons I know don't care about corporatespeak.

There were two exceptions. The one that didn't surprise me,and shouldn't surprise you, was Steve Ballmer. SteveB is a madman, and he single-handedly raised the energy level in the entire baseball stadium.

The second one really surprised me. In every other company I have ever worked for, the HR chief was the least listened to person in the company. HR types generally speak a language that not only do peons not care about, but which irritates them.

Lisa Brummel, on the other hand, is different.  When Lisa came out on stage, the entire stadium quieted, and you could sense the interest that people had in her words. Most of the guys around me leaned forwards in their chairs, as if to hear her better.

One of the more senior guys around me made an interesting comment, and one that I have never heard applied to any HR rep at any other company I've worked at. He said something to the effect of "I respect Lisa Brummel more than any other executive at this company". That is a shocking statement, applied to an HR chief.  More shocking (at least to me), is that I agreed with him.

Today, there is an article in the Seattle Times about Lisa Brummel, and some of the changes she is driving. The changes she has introduced have been met with some confusion, as us peons learned how they affected us. However, once we had some meetings about the new changes, everyone I've spoken to was extremely happy about the changes, and basically all said something like "about time".

Thank you, Lisa Brummel, from all of us peons.

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