DisruptHR Madison: Interview with Bruce Holoubek

DisruptHR Madison happened this week in front of a packed audience of HR and Talent pros. One of the speakers was Bruce Holoubek, President of The Apu Group.

Over his career, Bruce has amassed an impressive list of professional accomplishments, achievements, and degrees. But what matters to him most is the backstory and the defining moments that make up the backstory. Once he’s equipped with an understanding of those moments, Bruce works quickly to implement it in opening doors to an organization’s future.

Bruce Holoubek & @hr_heiress, co-founders of The Apu Group and 2 of the DisruptHR Madison organizers. #DisruptHRMSN

Bruce Holoubek & @hr_heiress, co-founders of The Apu Group and 2 of the DisruptHR Madison organizers. #DisruptHRMSN

We got a chance to chat with Bruce..

Editor: Why did you decide to be a speaker at DisruptHR Madison?

Bruce: I love to present! Given that many have described my presentation style as disruptive, it made sense.

Editor: What did you speak about at DisruptHR Madison?

Bruce: Peer Leadership, or what I call Leadership in the Shadows. Basically, I spoke about 1) how organizations do not recognize nor leverage peer leaders as they should, and 2) some of the traits of peer leadership.

Editor: The DisruptHR format means you only got 5 minutes to speak to the audience. What unique challenges and opportunities did such a condensed speaking slot offer?

Bruce: Not providing too much detail on the topic. With a slide only being on the screen for 15 seconds. You need to keep your points to shortened list.

Editor: How did DisruptHR Madison provide you with a platform to talk about Talent, Tech, and HR in new ways?

Bruce: Usually you need to go to a conference or convention to hear so many speakers present. You’d likely not hear all the speakers at a conference within the same 60 to 90 minutes like you will at Disrupt! Let’s not forget, DisruptHR is in a relaxed and creative venue where people can just hang out and be themselves while still being exposed to really valuable content. It feels more genuine.

Editor: You’re well known in the HR space. Please share 2 or 3 other ‘influencers’ in HR and Talent who you follow and tell us why.

Bruce: My business partner, Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek. She is amazing! Of course, I am biased…but she earned it. Her knowledge, creativity, energy, and sense of humor always tackles topics in new, refreshing, and humorous ways that make it an enjoyable experience. Besides her, I purposefully do not follow anyone in particular because that would potentially prevent me from seeing something really awesome by a new entry or by someone I would have not followed. Committing to follow one or two could be at the opportunity cost of not following the diverse pool of all the other people that provide great ideas on a constant schedule. That is an opportunity cost I wish to not incur.

Editor: The HR Gazette is a big believer in the shift from traditional thoughts of HR to embracing modern HR as part of ‘people and culture‘. What does ‘people and culture’ mean to you?

Bruce: Oh boy, this could be a multi-minute presentation in itself. To me, “people” means simply that – people. A plural of person. You cannot have people without persons, meaning if you want to understand, motivate, and develop people you must not lose sight of its unit of measurement – the person, and how to do the same to each unit of measurement. Avoid whenever possible taking a plural (people) approach to situations when you can employ a singular, genuine approach to the person. Culture is the sum of its parts – the persons or people. It is the end result of blending all the individual behaviors, beliefs, actions, practices, systems, processes, programs,…and the list goes on. It is never static. It requires constant vigilance to maintain and grow and can be incredibly delicate to brief periods of stress. But, if fostered and developed properly, it becomes its own force and can help drive organizations and people to great successes.

Editor: Name 2-3 HR tech tools you use regularly, e.g. for payroll, and tell us why you use them

Bruce: It may not be what you consider an HR tech tool but, I like using a variety of assessment tools such as (and certainly not limited to) MBTI, DISC, Strengths Finder, and Xyte. There are a number of good ones out on the market. The bigger issue with assessments is teaching people their value and their constraints. There is no one perfect assessment. People gravitate to and have a proclivity to understand different assessments just the same as they gravitate to and have a proclivity to understand different presenters in different ways. I like using them because I am a passionate proponent of first striving to have a good and ever increasing level of self-awareness and awareness of those around you (again, a whole other presentation) before trying to master other skills and develop other traits that will only be 2nd-rate without proper awareness. It is very satisfying to see people grasp that concept and thus “off to the races”.

Editor: In 10 words or less tell us what Disrupting HR means to you.

Bruce: Shock and Awe – in a non-warring, productive, and entertaining way.

Editor: Finally.. if you could be a superhero, which superhero would you be and why?

Bruce: I do not really care as long as I also get the 6-pack, rock-hard pecs, and an ass that could crack a coconut.


Author: Editor

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