All posts tagged: Management

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 …

Be afraid of “Team Building”

As a Training Manager I have always been afraid of Managers and HR Business Partners coming along and asking for a “Team Building” course for this area. To be fair, I’ve nothing against the concept of Team Building. But what I’m sure is that in my experience way too often the idea of a Team Building exercise is way too often suggested as a (wrong) solution to a plethora of different needs and requirements. Most of them way too often linked to the inability of a manager to perform its role as a manager and a as a team leader. I’ve always considered I was doing a good job as a training manager when I would come out of the meeting to discuss the “team building” need, having agreed that a Team Building course was not a solution. Plus, I’ve always been very diffident if the request was also directed towards a very specific types of course, usually “extreme” off-sites. Just to give an example, I had once a discussion with a manager who claimed …

Things will have to change in order that they remain the same.

On the verge of the results of the Italian elections, it is difficult not to think about one of the best movies of Luchino Visconti, “Il Gattopardo” (The Leopard, based on the novel with the same title by Tomasi di Lampedusa). No other movie is able to interpret in such an intimate manner the soul itself of Italy and its society. But it also tells a lot of the natural inclination of all humans to avoid any form of Change. Change is scary, it makes us nervous. Yet we appear never to be able to avoid change. So, change has become one of the most (ab)used words in any business discussion today. Everything is changing… the pace of change… managing change… leading change… all expressions we read and listen to everyday in any organizational talk. If it is effectively true that some parts of the world are changing at a faster pace (technologies are changing at a speed humankind was not used… ), most organisations are not changing as fast as they should (or could). …

Management is NOT Leadership

In so many organisations there is a lot of confusion between the terms Leadership and Management, up to the point that they are very often used as synonyms. A huge mistake! In a recent post on HBR John Kotter has listed a set of three mistakes that people make on the issue: The fact that both words are used interchangeably. Dangerous because the two words are effectively indicating two different vital functions in one organisation. The fact that people call the top hierarchy of an organisation “leadership”, and the lower levels of decision making “management”. Dangerous because this assumes that leadership should exclusively be a skill of the top executives, whereas management should be a skill linked to execution at lower levels. The fact that “leadership” is often used in terms of personality characteristics. Dangerous because this results in organisations limiting the amplitude of their leadership needs. This three mistakes are so embedded in the organizational dialogue today, that I recently heard an executive stating “I don’t have time to manage this, I ened to lead this organisation”. But how can …

Survey’s won’t tell you everything

Whenever managers face a soft issue, there’s a tendency to think that a survey can help by showing what others think on a specific topic. Whether it is a new product idea, the results of a marketing campaign, a change management issue, or simply an aid into understanding a business issue, surveys are often meant to support the decision making process by providing factual evidences. Or at least that’s the idea behind it. Of course, a well crafted survey will be able to capture what respondents think of every question you pose… But here’s the point: what about the questions you didn’t pose? Surveys can never tell you what you have never thought to ask. And, odd enough, what you have never thought to as may hide what you really need for your business. As such, surveys are perfect (and expensive) tools for validating your own thoughts. But they will never get really new ideas or real business solutions. That is why very often survey results carry even more questions than answers: a typical example …

A Book Review: ReWork, or the real power of Simplicity

I’ve just finished reading a book I got through the suggestions from Amazon. The title is ReWork and comes from the experience of Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of  37signals, a small company that sits behind some very well known web-based applications such as BaseCamp, or technologies such as Ruby on Rails. The book has been really a great reading experience. Concise, interesting, filled with easy to implement tips. While reading it you have the clear feeling of noting many obvious things, usually a good sign when reading a Business Book. Yet, there’s something about this book that made me feel I should recommend its reading. First of all, the authors are very clear about their ideas about growth and size. What we all tend to consider a “must” in business terms, is considered as something that should not pursued at all costs. Based from their business experience, the key message they try to carry is that size is negative for businesses, especially in their initial phases, as it adds complexity and costs. A second …