Archive for the 'Talent Management' Category

What Exactly Is The Strategy Role?

Santos and Josh know strategy

Santos and Josh know strategy

(This one’s a longer read, perhaps save it for later or have a read at home.  Cheers, Adam)

Hey Adam,

Wondering if you can help me – my organisation has created a Strategy role and put me in it. I’ve got some generic KRAs, but a lot of room to design my own ‘value-add’. Would appreciate your view on what you see the value of such a role is.

OK, let’s talk about what the role isn’t to start with.

The strategy role is not there to take sole accountability for delivering strategy!  

Do not take on this accountability alone, either explicitly, or implicitly. It’s going to be tempting as you’re going to want to show that you’re valuable, and the core areas will gladly hand you accountability for the future to get it off their plate! It will seem like a win/win, but this degenerates into a lose/lose every time as you’ll be crying “no one here thinks of the future”, they’ll be crying “Strategy doesn’t understand I’ve got real numbers to hit here”, and the CEO will be crying “why can’t we all just get along!”

Strategy is delivered by those that either currently make or do the things customers use, or by new areas that will make or do the things customer use in the future. In other words, strategy is ultimately delivered by Sales and Operations areas (whatever you call them),even in you are involved along the way.  Not you on your own.

What Strategy Is There To Do

So if Strategy doesn’t deliver strategy on it’s own, what does it do?

It ensures both the happening of, and the quality of, the conversations necessary to both develop and implement strategy that will see the organisation continue to be both valuable and viable in it’s community.

Don’t get fooled by the simple sentence – the more simple and straightforward the sentence, the more complex and involved the actual execution (‘land someone on the moon and bring them back safely by the end of the decade‘….simple right?). These conversations are why you exist, but getting them happening requires you to do the following:

Take The Mystery Out Of Strategy. Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

How to take the confusion out of your people’s career development

Crowd cheering

There is a simple way to sort out the career development of your own direct reports – stop doing it!

Asking a manager to take accountability for both the output and behaviour of their people as well as considering their future aspirations is asking a lot.   But….people knowing that the organisation has someone concerned with their future beyond their current role (even if it means not leaving the current role)  is a key part of creating the trust that ultimately sees people being willing to provide their full commitment.

So who is that someone?  We use the Manager-once-Removed, put forward by Elliott Jaques in a number of his works.   The Manager-once-Removed, or MoR is your boss’s boss.  Your skip-level manager.  We make each MoR accountable for building the pool of talent that sits below their own people,  that is their skip-level reports.   Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

Do you actually rate employees on whether you like them?

Do you hire people and rate their effectiveness on whether they can do the work, or on whether you like them?

Before you answer, ask yourself who you rate as having the better playing career in tennis – Pat Rafter or Lleyton Hewitt?

Let me give you some information on actual performance on our two candidates: Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

Connect what to who (not how)

ETSA Building 2

Tom Foster writes Management Skills Blog, one of the best going around on organisations and management.  I always urge my clients to sign up, please do yourself a favour and do the same.

One of my favourite points of Tom’s is  ”it’s not about how, it’s about who“.    This simple phrase goes to the heart of a change in thinking managers at all levels can apply if they want to provide better value-adding leadership to their people.

A manager who is spending their time thinking about how their people need to do something is not actually doing their full job.   This is for a simple reason – managers are paid to exercise their judgement on what needs to be done in their area to fulfill the needs of the organisation, then decide who is going to do it.

An example Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

Feedback – answer the questions

GilbertA younger friend of mine has recently made the elite professional level of his sport; there is no higher level besides international representation in his game.  Very impressive as he had the courage to leave his hometown and try to reach something in which there was a genuine chance of failure (when was the last time you did something with that condition?).

I asked how is he finding things at the top level, and his answer was about feedback.  He said that any mistake gets punished on the field by the other team, so there is heaps of pressure, and along with it heaps of feedback Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

How to increase your capability

I had some questions from my last post on cognitive capability on how to increase it.  Here’s the answer:

Don’t smoke.  The is the single most important thing you can do to increase your capability.

The second is 30 minutes of movement per day.

The third is healthy diet.

Not what you expected?   The thing is, the only way you can increase your cognitive capability is to not die.  This is because while your cognitive capability will unfold at it’s own rate, that rate has been shown by research to be predictable over time. Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

See the whole board

Some people just get it.  When faced with decisions they seem to see what others can’t.   One second before they gave their view, you were floundering, not sure which way to go.  Now it seems so obvious it’s almost embarrassing.

We know this ability when we see it.  Here’s a 3-minute clip so you can see an example for yourself (link here if you can’t see anything):

At 2:20 Sam Seaborn says “I don’t know the word”, as he’s trying to work out how President Bartlet pieces it all together.

Well….there is a word.  Two words.  It’s called cognitive capability, Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

The five factors of individual performance (it’s not personality)

 

I think out of the box, I'm a type J.A.C.K

Managers in Australia love to try to ‘get into the mind’ of their people.  Robert Spillane’s book The Rise of Psycho Management in Australia‘ contains an excellent analysis of how this came about, and the effects that it has had.  One fact that might be startling to some is that the empirical evidence shows that the amount of performance difference that is due to personality is 4%.

Yep, 4%.  In other words, 96% of the variation in performance is due to something other than personality type.

So what are the factors that determine performance?  I like to use the model put forward by Elliott Jaques, if you want to go to the source, track down either Executive Leadership which he wrote with Stephen Clement, or Requisite Organization.

Here are his factors:

Cognitive Capability: does the person have the ability to handle the amount of variables, options and choices the role requires.  This Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

Have you created meaningful work?

I was given a great book by a colleague at work – it’s called “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, and it looks at the factors around success.  It builds a great argument that although a certain seed is there in all the ‘successful’ people that we know, an amazing run of right time, right place, upbringing and cultural heritage is also required to coincide for the tree to ultimately grow.

It’s an excellent read, if this stuff interests you, don’t hesitate to get it.

There was one bit which particularly caught my attention – a description of the New York City garment industry in the late 1800s, which sowed the seeds for a group who’s grandchildren would become some of the most powerful businesspeople in New York.  The garment industry required 18 hour days, back-breaking labour over sewing machines and often atrocious unsafe conditions.

It’s not a surprising image, and these work days were repeated in farms across America.

But Gladwell makes a key distinction for those in the garment trade: Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

Explain how it matters

I was catching up with one of our most talented younger people the other day, discussing some good advice she’d received recently about motivating people.  She spoke about the importance of providing context for people when you ask them to do things, like taking the time to point out how the task or the job fits into the rest of the work going on, and why it matters.

All good stuff.

The reason its true is that it goes right to the core of human respect.

Asking people to do something without explaining why sends a message that they are not as important as you.  It says that you don’t deserve an explanation because you’re not worth it.  If we take this to the extreme, we can arrive at serfdom or even slavery, where people have the same status as firewood – a resource to be used up.

But as humans in the world, we want to matter.  To our friends, our family, our colleagues, or failing all of this, even to the police or the jailer.  Whether it ends up good or bad, we want to matter.  It makes us real. Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.