Leadership is the most overanalyzed, thoroughly dissected, and utterly confused topic in business. Many leadership experts, myself included, make the topic of leadership far too complex, causing people to opt out of the chance to lead.
If you’re like me and follow HR-related press and HR blogs, you regularly read about a shortage of leaders. Executives all the way up to the CEO are expressing concern that a shortage of leaders will hinder business growth. But what is provoking these sentiments?
Heidi Halvorson recently published an article for the Harvard Business Review regarding “The Most Effective Strategies for Success.” The article is a continuation of her popular piece Nine Things Successful People Do Differently and combines data from her 9 Things Diagnostic to weigh which of the strategies give the biggest effects. The 9 strategies are a combination of strategic and tactical guidelines which can be applied to both personal and professional goals.
A few years back, HR strategy actually made the evening news, and not because of some corporate malfeasance or executive scandal. It was a new management philosophy catching the general public’s attention: a new idea called the results-oriented work environment (ROWE). Originally developed at retail giant Best Buy, it was adopted at a number of other workplaces and its creators, Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, wrote a popular book, Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It.
The Human Capital Institute has been tapping into progressive organizations such as ESPN, HP, Fed Ex, Vistaprint and Procter & Gamble to identify the most pressing challenges when it comes to Strategic Workforce Planning, and to capture the tested strategies that provide the solutions, and the ultimate competitive advantage.
Imagine the future of your organization. Your company is brimming with the potential found within each of your employees. Developing this potential is a way to strengthen your employees and your company in the same move. After all, it is people that make up a company and can drive it toward success.
Competencies are the glue that holds together the pieces and parts of a talent management system. They can be used as the basis for behavioral interviewing, as guides for development and succession planning, and as a component of a thorough performance evaluation.
National Public Radio recently published an article regarding what makes a workplace innovative. The author detailed what sets a Google or a Facebook apart from their competitors. It is not just the open atmosphere of their campus headquarters where games of volleyball, soccer, or Frisbee can break out over lunch, but a specific design of their offices to ensure interaction with employees across divisions and functions. This “serendipitous interaction” allows Google employees to learn by “interactions, collaborations, and fun,” and directly impacts the bottom line with Google being named the best place to work according to Fortune magazine for the past 2 years. Google “attracts some of the brightest minds and earns close to $1 million in revenue for every single person it employs.”
According to Dan Pink in his new book "To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others," most of us, even if we realize it or not, are in the business of sales. In his research, he found that 1 in 9 Americans are technically in the profession of sales, but 8 in 9 Americans perform selling activities in their daily work. Whatever the job title, the majority of Americans spend their days persuading, influencing, and convincing others to part with resources. Workers are in the business of moving others; it spans across industries and every level of the organization. Dan Pink’s research found that we spend roughly 24 minutes of each hour moving others at work.
In general, thinking is a good thing. After all, rational thought is one of the hallmarks of being human. Being thoughtful means having considered something thoroughly, while thoughtlessness implies careless or rash behavior. This is especially true at work. Thinking is often equated with intelligence: smart people think more and better than others, and therefore have greater insight and make better decisions.
Recent articles have once again raised the question of how much corporate training actually adds value, and how much just goes to waste—something for which we coined the term “learning scrap” to draw the analogy to manufacturing scrap. Both kinds of scrap waste time, materials, and opportunity; both undermine a company’s competitiveness.
Company culture is the shared values and practices of the company's employees. It has been shown that those with an adaptive culture which is aligned to business goals routinely outperform competitors. But why is that? And how difficult is it to manage your company’s culture? There shouldn’t be any dispute to the fact that an organization is a living, breathing organism. Logically as employees leave, replacements are hired, some are promoted, etc… the climate changes. If left unattended it can grow into any number of possible outcomes. Some outcomes could be good, and some detrimental to the overall business mission.
According to recent reports, contingent or contract talent may make up between 20% and 30% of the U.S. workforce and is predicted to continue to grow. The growth of this type of work has been driven not only by recent global economic instability, but also by longer-term trends like the aging populations in developed countries, the increased desire for flexibility and life balance among workers, and the general mismatch between the current supply of skills and the demand for them in the marketplace.
As few as 6% of organizations have future leaders identified for critical roles, according to a recent study of global companies conducted at Right Management. And strikingly, less than one in five respondents said they have no one slated to take over any key positions. Yet, most organizations tell us that building a pipeline of global leaders that is both deep and wide is a top priority.
“Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” - Bill Gates
As the co-founder and current Chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates is a proven authority on the topic of innovation. He acknowledges that over the years Microsoft has had huge hits and misses in product innovation.
Entering the fifth year of diminished emphasis (aka budgets) on leader development, many organizations are running dangerously close to the trip wire where bad things start to happen as a result of having a less aware, less skilled management team.
From an outside perspective, it may be hard to understand why employers are reporting that they can’t find the right people to hire. The amount of resumes and applications that organizations are receiving from individuals looking for work can be daunting. So, interest in an open position isn’t the problem. It’s the quality of candidates applying who aren’t educated or qualified enough for the role that frustrates employers and creates a situation where only one in two are saying they can find the right talent.
To this day, adorning the windowsill of my parent’s dining room is a triangular (okay, wannabe triangular) clay jar I created at the ripe age of 9 in grade school art class. Its shape, swirled blue/pink/purple color, and enormous hand-crafted clay flower on the lid is a potent reminder of my questionable taste at the time, while also acting as a witness to endurance. After all this time, it’s still standing strong.
Last year Adobe Systems’ SVP of HR, Donna Morris, announced that the company was abolishing performance reviews. Employee complaints about the existing appraisal process coupled with Adobe’s need to retool its talent management practices to compete in the digital marketing space were reasons given for this bold move.
The 2012 Manpower Talent Shortage Survey states that 49% of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling mission-critical positions within their organizations. Why? A lack of available candidates with the right technical expertise and employability skills continues to elude employers. More specifically, the top reason employers say they can’t fill roles is simply an overall lack of applicants; the second is the candidate-based factor that applicants lack the technical competencies, or hard skills, required for the role.