June tomorrow and only a couple of weeks to the Economist Talent Management conference on the 14th where I will acting as a media partner (ie I’ll be blogging a lot) and moderator (interviewing Ryan Blair).
I’ve been asking for innovative example of talent management in return for offering two tickets to go along to the Summit with me. There are two leading entries to date – this is the first, from Alan in a financial services firm:
“Hi Jon. We have a few things which I think wouldn't count as very revolutionary (web based recruitment tools, etc) but the thing we are doing which is my 'entry' for your ticket competition is to massively extend the notion of leadership for change to everyone in the company. Its been done before in a few places, but not many. The issue is this - we have 4000 people worldwide. We have lots of things we want to achieve, lots of changes we want to make, but it will be too slow if we try to manage and control everything through some central process. We could spend forever analysing the changes required, assessing who we think our talented people are to go on the teams, creating plans, coordinating thru a programme office, etc, etc.
You know the picture because we've all seen it many times before. It works to a degree, but its inefficient, regularly underdelivers and often creates new management controls which stifle the business.
So we're heading in the other direction. We have a few projects for things like IT systems that need to be built, but almost everything else is up for grabs. There's an overall direction in terms of aspirations for the company, but the changes required are defined locally by people who have the energy to do something about it and can convince other people to get involved. Anyone can volunteer to identify something that's holding us back and get rid of it, or something that's an opportunity and go for it.
This way our talented people are not the ones who pass a conceptual assessment, but the people who step up and move the company forward. Its early days but in a few months we are on the way to millions of dollars of new business, simplified processes and the beginnings of a new buzz in the place.
And all of this is being done with no managers/leaders controlling what we do, no additional budget and no extra resources. It won't stay that way forever, but its an interesting journey as we explore what's possible.
Technically this is not a 'talent management initiative', in that its not being directed by HR and no-one is using the word talent, but it is developing people, it is changing the business, and it is delivering real results in line with our strategy, so I'd argue that counts :-)”