Tag Archives: talent

Let’s talk talent … people matter!

2016.03.01_talent analytics
I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people.”
— Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
A Business and its Beliefs (1963)

It’s hard to imagine that the son of former IBM Chairman and CEO, Thomas J. Watson Sr., published this insight over 50 years ago now, and yet, to this day, effective talent management is a process that alludes far too many organizations around the world. Too often organizations assume they have a handle on their talent pipeline. They rely on gut-feel to identify the leaders of tomorrow, or worse, they rely on tenure and seniority with the assumption that technical proficiency, or longevity within the organization, will translate into success in a leadership role down the line.

But, of course, it doesn’t work that way – as far too many companies have learned the hard way.

Data matters! The concept of applying metrics and data to “people” might seem cold and contradictory, but the reality is it works. Data-driven talent management systems can and do improve the robustness and health of the talent pipeline and, in turn, enhance organizational performance.

As the Forbes article below points out, however, the organization must have a culture that supports the use of data in order for talent management initiatives to be truly successful. The author also provides a great overview of the history of data analytics (it’s not a new tool by any means), as well as his views on why it is important, and where he sees it going from here.

Read more here

If you aren’t using data to measure your talent, or aren’t doing so effectively, I would welcome the chance to talk to you about how our approach to talent management enhances your ability to identify, as well as foster and enhance, the performance of your organizational talent.

are your leadership skills outdated?

2015.07.03_are your leadership skills outdated

Utilizing Technology
Understanding the Global Economy
Maintaining relentless Customer Focus
Attracting and retaining Top Talent

The complex skills required to effectively lead a successful organization in 2015 are not the same skills that might have ensured success a few decades, or even a few years ago. The world has changed, the economy has changed, and individuals, from both a customer and employee perspective, have changed. It is imperative to understand the importance of keeping up with these changes in order to thrive as a leader. The article below outlines four modern workplace challenges that cannot be ignored if you hope to lead your organization, or even your team, successfully. While the core components of strong leadership remain the same, it is flexibility, and the ability to deal with changing leadership requirements as demanded by economic and cultural shifts, that can make or break even the most admired executives.

What new or unique challenges do you see facing leaders in years to come?
read the full article here

Activity and productivity are not the same!

Telephone off the hook

It seems so intuitive. Everyone knows this right? Business 101? Just because an employee is doing something, doesn’t mean they are accomplishing something of value for the organization. Or even accomplishing anything at all. And yet it still seems relatively unacknowledged, or at least often unaddressed by employers, that just the act of being in a meeting, sitting at a desk, or dialing into a conference call does not equate with employees being productive for the organization.

If you aren’t one of the 10 million individuals who have already viewed this humorous YouTube take on a “Conference Call in Real Life”, you may want to take an unproductive but enjoyable moment to check it out now.
view here

While the ability to multi-task has generally been considered a positive skill, the following HBR article shines a light on the reality that the type of multi-tasking taking place while individuals are engaged in conference calls (ie. sending each other e-mails or checking social media sites), is not generally conducive to proper engagement in the call.

Which brings into question the true value of this mode of teamwork/meeting. Can conference calls be productive?

Absolutely, but ensuring that the call has a proper purpose, and that everyone on the call needs to be on the call is a must. No one likes to be cc’d on a dozen e-mails that don’t relate to them. The same holds true when individuals are asked to sit in on conference calls for which they have little to offer or gain. In addition, just like in-person meetings, calls should be scheduled only when relevant information needs to be shared or discussed, not just for the sake of it. As well, conference calls should be kept as brief and focused as possible to maximize engagement. Not to worry telecommuters and vacationers, the location of the caller is not nearly as important as what else they are doing while on the call. Someone sitting on a beach may be fully engaged in the conversation and providing much greater value to the call than an individual who is sitting at a desk perusing craigslist for a second-hand bookshelf, or e-mailing another colleague. The simplest fix suggested in this article is to lose the mute button option, thus ensuring that people know they are actually part of the call and not free to carry on with other business and distractions while they listen.

read the entire article here

debunking myths about the millennial divide

Co-workers in a meeting

When you Google millennials in the workplace, you find no shortage of articles describing how fundamentally different workers from this generation are, from all who came before. You’ll find articles on how they think differently, they act differently, they communicate and work differently, and that’s just the beginning.

According to a new report, however, when it comes to workplace preferences, perhaps generational differences aren’t as much of a factor as media accounts of millennial uniqueness might indicate. Perhaps it’s even time to stop sensationalizing the millennial divide, and start focusing instead on workplace environments and practices that foster productivity and success for all.

read the entire article here

insiders versus outsiders in CEO succession

insiders versus outsiders in CEO succession

Whether you agree or disagree with the premise, the title of a recent Fortune Magazine article is certainly an attention grabber. It is by Noel Tichy and entitled “J. C. Penney and the terrible costs of hiring an outsider CEO.” In the article, Tichy reviews J.C. Penney’s decision to hire Ron Johnson (who had previously enjoyed great success at Apple and Target), and the dismal failure that ensued.

While I am a person of strongly held views, I can see both sides of the insider versus outsider debate when it comes to CEO succession. Tichy presents several very strong arguments from the insider camp, where he seems to be firmly entrenched. When transformation is required, however, a strong case can also be made for bringing in a change agent.

Click on the picture image to read the entire article.

The Succession Planning Pitfall

Job-promotion-200x266

No one wants to be accused of being unidimensional, and that of course goes for managers and leadership teams as well. But when conducting succession planning meetings, or creating future organization charts, leadership teams are often just that. Candidates for leadership roles are evaluated based on their performance only, and little to no consideration is given to the potential they demonstrate for success in these roles.

I recently read an article titled “Why Your Best Performers Usually Make the Worst Leaders”, and it reminded me once again of this very common pitfall. You can read the article here – http://www.tlnt.com/2014/10/07/why-your-best-performers-usually-make-the-worst-leaders/. In this case, the author is commenting on the common, but misguided practice of promoting good performers into leadership roles as a means to justify a higher salary, and advocating instead the simple solution of keeping them in their role and just awarding the pay increase. What the article also does, is highlight the lack of rigour most organizations demonstrate in identifying leadership potential.

Personal Credibility & Trusted Judgement

Decision Making Intelligence is the second credibility builder and it is the ability to solve problems, resolve issues and come to conclusions that satisfy the various stakeholders and leave them feeling fully and clearly committed to the decision. It is about personal credibility and trusted judgment. In order to be credible, leaders must combine their Emotional Intelligence with a proven track record of superior decision making under a wide variety of circumstances and across a wide portfolio of business matters.

A leader must have the ability to understand and master the complex elements involved in the decision-making process, including the rational and interpersonal components, as well as the divergent and convergent phases. These abilities embody the essence of decision making within what is known as the field of Behavioural Economics. Our current understanding of this science comes from a growing pool of notable experts, such as Daniel Kahneman and Daniel Ariely, who have helped us better understand the mechanics of decision making and the phases we go through as we make business decisions in particular

Together, the powerful combination of Emotional Intelligence and Decision making Intelligence represent the fundamental building blocks upon which leaders develop their legitimacy. In other words, as Barbara Kellerman points out in her book Followership, leaders will not able to lead effectively unless their followers have determined them to be worthy. Legitimacy, defined in this way, is something granted to the leader by their followers. As such, it could be argued it actually puts the followers in control.

Understanding the Future: Bold Imagination

The innovation we need to transform our organizations is not developed by digging for the provable facts and empirical evidence hidden deep in the well of our retrospective data banks. It is not the deep analytical source of insight that will somehow help us make sense of the future. It is quite the opposite. Our ability to understand the future will come from the more intuitive, fluid, experimental process of looking forward, visualizing and anticipating the many changes that are just out of sight, around the corner and over the horizon.

Transformational leaders have a certain bold imagination that fuels their creative genius and combines it with a distinctive flair and a rebellious, revolutionary zeal to make something different, and to do so on their own terms. These are the types of leaders who reorder and reshape the pieces of the puzzle to arrive at solutions the rest of us hold in awe and envy. These are the leaders who violently shake the Etch A Sketch® to clear the old image and then proceed to draw a new one.

Navigating Direction : Mastering Pivot Points

Throughout history, the truly great leaders have known when and how to pivot when the situation and the context change. They seem to have a sixth sense and know exactly the right moment at which to abandon what is no longer working and comfortably embrace new tools more suited to the conditions they find themselves in. It is part experience, part intuition and part luck, but successfully identifying and then navigating these crucial inflection points is the responsibility of leaders. The average leader can perhaps do a respectable enough job when conditions are normal, but it takes an exceptional leader to navigate confidently in uncertain, uncharted and turbulent waters.

It seems as though the dangerous, pivotal moments of transformational change have been presenting themselves with increasing frequency in recent years. The more interconnected global economy, rapid technological advances and constantly evolving social, political and demographic changes have all come together to alter the once reliable maps we used to guide us in the post-WWII period. The question that should concern and even haunt us all is why, in the face of these changes, so many leaders, organizations and nations have not been brave enough, vigilant enough or just plain smart enough to switch tack from what may have been right and relevant in one set of circumstances to a new course, better suited to the changing conditions of the future.

Lies We Tell Ourselves

A common and all too often fatal flaw business leaders fall victim to is the tendency to focus on the immediate rather than the important. This is especially true when it comes to the really big things and the truly difficult problems in our lives or businesses. Unfortunately, the hidden costs, consequences and risks of distortion, denial and misalignment are like those of an iceberg. They can be ignored or underestimated for a short period of time, but if they aren’t dealt with, the risks will inevitably appear as if out of nowhere and overwhelm even the hardest working, most charismatic and most determined leader.

In organizational life, the leader of a huge multinational or a small independent business has the same set of responsibilities to their customers, employees and community. A major responsibility is to face up to, and deal directly with, the misalignments and gaps that conspire against the ability of the organization to perform at the highest level. Leaders must make it their absolute priority to constantly be on the lookout for the discordant signs and troubling signals that reveal things are not exactly as they should be. This requires a strong inner resolve, confidence and a balanced emotional temperament as find a way to run toward those situations with a solution in hand, not away from them in an effort to avoid conflict.