HR Management & Compliance

‘60s Mad Man Gives Advice to 2014s Comp Manager?

(Don Draper is the Creative Director for Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce on the Emmy-winning television series Mad Men. He is a confident, stylish, hard-drinking, chain-smoking 1960s advertising executive.)

Nunez, owner of Nunez Leadership Consulting (, offered his Draper-based tips at the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition held recently in Orlando.

[Go here for Draperisms 1 to 6]

7. “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

“Everybody else’s tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strike’s … is toasted.”—Don Draper

How to apply this lesson at work
You can’t monitor the progress of your change through technical performance metrics alone. Leaders may want to do this because they do this the best, but you’ve also got to monitor the human side of change. Keep in mind:

  • A conversation is a two-way communication—start from a position of genuine curiosity and interest.
  • Approach whatever is being said with a sincere sense of appreciation.
  • Adaptively and creatively change the conversation to focus on the positive benefits of the change or to help employees create the higher-order mental models necessary to understand the change.
  • Shift the conversation to a reciprocity conversation. “I know this change initiative isn’t exactly what you want, but I can give you some valuable resources to help you make the most of this.”

8. Selling a product means selling the feeling that goes along with it

“You are the product. You—feeling something. That’s what sells. Not them. Not sex.”—Don Draper
How to apply this lesson at work
People are threatened, they often can’t make sense of what’s happening, and you may not be selling the change very well. You don’t have to be a psychiatrist or a psychologist to help with this. All you have to do is:

  • Ask good questions.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Use your coaching skills.
  • Refer to other resources when necessary.

Pay Grade Puzzle? Start solving it on August 14, 2014 with a new interactive webinar Pay Grades and Job Value: How to Correctly Assemble All the Pieces of the Compensation Puzzle. Learn More

9. People want to feel just a little bit better

“Something terrible has happened and the way they saw themselves is gone.”—Don Draper

How to apply this lesson at work
Find the successful people, the early adopters, the rebels, the smart people, the popular people, etc. Figure out how you can categorize the people involved in the change into groups—with honest affinities—that others will easily recognize and feel an honest affinity for.

Remember, change causes uncertainty, and uncertainty causes anxiety, and anxiety shows up as:

  • Lost productivity
  • Strained relationships
  • A sense of disengagement
  • Miscommunication
  • Misunderstandings

10. ‘Advertising is about one thing—happiness.’

“And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.”—Don Draper

How to apply this lesson at work
Become a “first-class noticer” of what goes on during the change. It’s about helping people make sense of the change based on their experience of it.

  • Everyone has his or her own unique experience of change.
  • One response will not fit all.

Unfortunately, Don Draper isn’t around to help you with all your compensation hassles. But BLR is, starting with a new interactive webinar, Pay Grades and Job Value: How to Correctly Assemble All the Pieces of the Compensation Puzzle.

If you want to drive employee performance, determining pay grades is the first step in creating an equitable, competitive compensation system. Without determining pay grades properly, it won’t matter how good the salary survey data are: Compensation will either be too high or too low.

In just 90 minutes on August 14, you’ll learn everything you need to know about pay grades and job value.

Register today for this interactive webinar.

Pay Grade/Job Value Challenges? Join us August 14 for an interactive webinar, Pay Grades and Job Value: How to Correctly Assemble All the Pieces of the Compensation Puzzle . Earn 1.5 hours in HRCI Recertification Credit. Register Now

Participate in this interactive webinar and you’ll learn:

  • What pay grades are, and the correct way to determine them
  • How a salary structure, such as a set of pay grades and ranges, is built
  • How small companies can apply the paired comparison method for grading jobs
  • When to pay above market (and sometimes below)
  • The key ways that pay grades influence your performance/merit pay programs
  • How pay grades interact with variable pay, and why this connection matters
  • When and how to conduct an internal equity review
  • And much more

Register now for this event risk-free.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
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11:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Mountain)
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Approved for Recertification Credit

This program has been approved for 1.5 credit hours toward recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).

Join us on August 14—you’ll get the in-depth Pay Grades and Job Value: How to Correctly Assemble All the Pieces of the Compensation Puzzle webinar AND you’ll get all of your particular questions answered by our experts.

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  • Train all the staff you can fit around a conference phone.
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About Your Speaker

David Wudyka, SPHR, MBA, BSIE, managing principal and founder of Westminster Associates, manages and oversees all company operations, including the design, development, and implementation of all client HR programs. His specialties include human resource analytics, audits of HR operations, employee retention strategies, and group incentive plans.

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