Sunday, March 16, 2008

Thinking Talents for Tommorow.

Are we desperately seeking to find tailor made talent for tomorrow’s world?

Finding tailor made talents in today’s fast evolving business is getting to become a huge challenge to business managers. This in my view is part a symptom of static expectations and mindset of both hiring managers and career seekers.

Markets are getting redefined every day and customers are making their decision to choose products or services dynamically. More than ever before external environment is forcing businesses to alter their business models and approaches. In short new patterns of thinking are being put to test. Innovation mantras are powering this very agenda.

While this is happening at a macro level the chieftains in charge of the human resources in most enterprises are typically hiring based on preset stereo types and profiles defined by a bygone era or on the mandates set by LoB which again have not stayed in tune with the corporate innovation mantras. Why adopt “best practices” used by corporations in the past to engineer your corporation of the evolving tomorrow. Don’t we agree that the today’s “Next Practices” will be the tomorrow’s “Best Practices”!

Worse is when the talent acquisition happens when hiring managers and recruiters bring in their personal biases. They use metrics to evaluate candidates those that made them succeed in the past. Little said the better about personality clashes or race/gender and personal biases.

The talent attraction mandates will benefit by being in tune with the demands of managing markets and customers of today and future. The management talents available in the markets today are either from Ivy League colleges or from companies which have done well in the past decade. Therefore could be improbable to expect ready to fit - tailor made managers and hence not find an exact fit to the prescribed job description by the spin doctors at human resources and LoB’s.

Evaluation of a candidature should be rather on what a person could deliver in line with the corporate future mandates rather than introspect deeply into fitment based on past experiences.

How else would you explain that future market makers like “Google” “Toyota” and “Apple” are winning precious cream of the talents from the yesteryear beleaguered behemoths like “Microsoft” “ Ford” “GM” “Time Warner” and “Sony” ?

Another area which needs vigorous traction is an area that I believe will lend a great deal to the much needed lateral thinking. Cross Industry pollination of management talents?

Imagine a world where –
• Toyota’s quality managers are in charge of software development teams.
• Wal-Mart and Amazon’s retailers are working at promoting “Retail Banking” and selling Insurance services.
• Intel Managers are building the cars for Tatas, Toyota, GM and Ford.
• Apple’s Design engineers are thinking and managing the conception and use of unconventional energy resources to power any thing from automobiles or domestic appliances.
• Infosys and Wipro’s executives managing global sourcing, assembling and delivery from concepts to products charters of drug discovery process and CRO effort at Pfizer, P&G and Dr.Reddys.
• Google visionaries working on deployment of compute powers to unravel genomics or translating “Pure Mathematics” to “Practical applied sciences”
• Formula 1 engineer deployed to work on “Data Centre Cooling” projects.

Some of these examples may surprise you. However I am willing to articulate why I think so. The point is the talents have multiple application , if only we cared to manage their deployment with an essence of lateral thinking.

Moreover could we focus on some of the points to consider while evaluating a talent?

• Is there a learning ability displayed?
• Does the person exhibit an adaptation or learning?
• Is there a passion exhibited to contribute and create?
• Is there an aptitude managing the 3 C’s available?
• Culture, Creativity and Change!!
• Will the person graduate progressively in the “leadership pipeline”

Before which isn’t it better if more time is spent on thinking, strategising, envisioning and articulating the “Job” or “Role Description”. Won’t it help if the contours of the search assignments are deliberately kept mildly fuzzy at the borders with open-endedness?

Companies for tomorrow are innovating themselves every day.

Could the new brand of innovative thinkers and execution managers redefine the way we attract, engage and manage talents? Can we change the way we treat the talent acquisition and management process?

For organisations building enterprises for tommorow..Finding Talents to find talents is in itself a critical search..Are we ready as yet to identify people for this specialised function?

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