All posts tagged: Management

Beyond Generation Stereotypes


In a recent article by Gillian Tett under the title “It’s time to stop talking about Millennials“, the author highlights an important lesson we often face everyday at work: talking of generations in terms of “absolute identities” is not only wrong, but can result in pure discriminations. We’ve got all used to think in terms of distinct generational cohorts, especially thanks to the Advertising Industry. However, this has quickly expanded also to a lot of HR domains, with Recruiting, performance, and the “world of management” trying to make sense of the new generation inflow into the workforce. It all started about half a century ago, when economists first started to talk about “baby boomers” to refer to people born after World War II. Then came Generation X, then the “Millennials” and now the next one: often called Generation Z, although other descriptors exist. However, the Millennial label is the one that tends to generate most tensions (although I believe the Gen Z one will, eventually, be even worse). Baby boomers and Gen Xs grumble that …

Fire the Project Manager


The last decades have seen a key trend in organisations: more and more work is carried through “Projects“. The actual content of what a Project is varies from company to company, but as a rule of thumb the common element of it all is that somebody assumes the role of “Project Manager“. Other elements instead (the availability of a resource plan or of a specific budget) vary instead. Very often this is a part time role, assumed by somebody in the Organisation who is supposed to continue carrying on its own job at the same time. But in many cases this role is delegated to a “specialist” in Project Management. This can be an internal resource, or more often a contractor, who professionally does project management by applying one of the many methodologies available. The goal of this role is to ensure that the project itself is maintained within budget, planning is respected, results achieved. I guess you all recognize this. Yet a sentence I heard a couple of days ago from an executive made …

Are you really too busy to innovate?


It is really incredible how much time each of us spends everyday in useless or low value activities, instead of concentrating on what your company would need the most: innovation. To a certain extent we have become too “efficient”. So we do not put enough attention to the thinking process that is at the basis of creativity and innovation. We are simply too busy to innovate, and what’s worse, we seem to enjoy the busyness over the contemplation necessary for innovation. Like a man who starves to death in a bountiful land because he is too busy to plant, many businesses will wither because they were too busy to innovate. This is what Jeffrey Phillips writes on his blog. And I believe he is really right. We spend endless hours into meetings for the sole purpose of being present (I will come back on this, but for the moment you can read this great article on how to avoid being dragged in too many meetings), endless call conferences, tons of email whose relevance is all …

A Basic Skill for Managers: Decision Making


What is that makes a good manager? Good decisions, many would say. Issue is that, apparently, many managers find it more and more difficult to take decisions. Of course the ubiquitous phrase “go with your gut” tells us a lot about the importance of instinct and intuition in decision-making. But… not everybody is ready to go this way. And elements such as reason and experience need to come into scope. The key issue of decision-making is making sure it comes at the right time. This means that a key skill needed for managers, is taking decision by balancing the need of detailed knowledge and the timeliness of the decision. There are many Decision-Making tools that can help different people to sustain their decision-making approach. However, I’d like to recap what a good decision should be about. First of all decision-making is a process that needs to involve various steps: Identify the purpose of your decision. What is exactly the problem that needs to be solved? Why should it be solved? Is there a need at all for a …

A New Paradigm for People Management


HR is fighting a battle for its relevance in tomorrow’s organisation. If it wants to become something more than just an entity dealing with compliance and payroll administration, a serious paradigm shift is needed. Large HR Transformation efforts, based on the so-called Ulrich Model, have tried to bring efficiency into HR organisation, trying also to integrate technology and process automation. But their results have to a large extent failed to reach their goals. Even with the introduction of the so-called HR Business Partner role, in many organisation the satisfaction of business management towards the HR organisation has swiftly declined. The effort of regaining a business relevance by trying to impose a Business agenda through Talent Management, is also failing because it is proving to be the “wrong” answer to the problem. Facing a structural problem one would argue that a structural change would be necessary, not just a simple make-up effort. Is there a solution then? In my opinion yes, and the success that many professionals in this domain endeavor every day shows that a lot can be achieved. What …

Getting rid of the word “Talent” – A Six Post Series on People Management


(This post was modified on March 11th to accomodate links to other post in the series). In the world of Human Resources there are few words to which I have become really allergic. One of them is for sure talent. Why? For a very simple reason: it is usually used as a shortcut, to justify or cover facts that are not always fully understood. This way Talent has been constantly used instead of more “proper” words. Sometime it identifies a set of skills that certain specific have… so why not simply call them competencies? In other cases it is used to identify group of employees that are “gifted” with the prospective of achieving great results in their work. It is therefore a way to refer to People, and btw wasn’t this why they were once defined High Potentials? Sometime the word is used to identify a group of people that share, instead, a common set of competencies, and that are organized into pools to enable succession within the organisation. Yet again I don’t see the …