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It is all about expertise!

In building and boosting organizational capabilities that is all about expertise, so watch out carefully the generalist trap.  Let us approach and reflect on the generalist versus expert so called dilemma, which professionals and organizations very often face. …in fact, there no such dilemma, as what is out there is the generalist trap and the expertise success path

The exit of the ambassador

Companies do care about their brand image, they develop brand strategies, and they foster relationships with the society, all requiring significant investments in a diverse set of areas. Employees are always a particular area of focus, with continuous investments in employer branding and employee branding.  Having said that, the employee exit experience is still missing the right approach from the HR, Marketing and Communication departments.

People for Partnerships

Strategic partnering in the corporate world is a complex, transformational and highly attractive business approach, truly profitable, sustainable and genuinely a wealth generator for the society. From a professional career perspective, we are going to take you through the right profile for a strategic partnering leader role, how it looks & feels performing such a role and what does it mean in terms of career progression.

Proactive selection

Companies often get in trouble and incur into high costs unnecessarily, due to the lack of a strong capability to replace people who leave critical roles open in the organization. That is when the cost of leadership disruption comes together with the high costs of selecting and recruiting on “emergency mode” plus the high risk of “compulsive hiring” arising with its long-term cost as well. Proactive selection, as part of a proper succession planning is neither too much hard work nor science fiction and yes, it is of great value.

It is all about expertise!

In building and boosting organizational capabilities that is all about expertise, so watch out carefully the generalist trap.  Let us approach and reflect on the generalist versus expert so called dilemma, which professionals and organizations very often face. …in fact, there no such dilemma, as what is out there is the generalist trap and the expertise success path.

Both professionals and organizations should be very suspicious when prone to seek for redeployment of internal resources, flexibility and rotation without a solid basis and a clear destination in terms of career development, organization capability and competitiveness in strategic goals. In most of the cases, those arguments are quick fix, short term low cost/effort solutions, that just produce generalists. On one side destroying people’s careers and on the other side producing undifferentiated and uncompetitive organizations.

In reality, what is behind is lack of proper leadership, assertiveness, fragile decision making and lack of strategic direction…or lack of commitment to that same strategy and lack of ability to implement it.
People also often try to position and sell themselves as generalists, with the wrong idea that they will improve their odds to get a job.

Working at executive selection at senior level for many years in very diverse environments, we clearly see what becoming a generalist means for the individual: losing their brand and their edge, getting a faded grey professional profile and at the end becoming uncompetitive on the labour market.
This is the generalist trap!

Competitive, game changing organizations and professionals are built on expertise. Expertise being that incredibly powerful weighted equation of focused knowledge, practice and consistent success on continuously more demanding goals and challenging environments.

To become an expert and to develop an organization powered by expertise you will also apply rotation of professionals but you will do it in a rising spiral path, with clear and pre-establish purpose targeted towards a clear individual and organizational capability destination. This will give you the wining blend of talent management: individual career development and organization capability development. That is also the way to get the efficiency prize and the market winning differentiation.

Having identified now the generalist trap and the expertise success path for both people and organizations, we are very clear that we need to design our business strategy based on expertise. That requires not only the right expert for each role but also:
• Identifying the key areas of the organization where you need to invest continuously a plus more on expertise. The areas that will , sustainably, support your key differentiators on the market place, being those either products , services, solutions and/or processes.
• The organization’s commitment and ability to maintain the expertise edge in a sustainable manner, through talent management, training, development, head hunting, I&D, partnerships, industry forums.

Then we are ready to enjoy the prize of an organization full of people that enjoy seeing their company continuously improving, consistently winning and being better than others from the customers and shareholders points of view. As expertise is what really makes the whole difference!

…and if you have any doubt about this , just think for example about health care or sports : would you even consider going on surgery indistinguishably under a brain, hart , stomach professional …or would you support a soccer/football team where players would be put indistinguishably as goal keepers, strikers or midfielders…?

The exit of the ambassador

Companies do care about their brand image, they develop brand strategies, and they foster relationships with the society, all requiring significant investments in a diverse set of areas. Employees are always a particular area of focus, with continuous investments in employer branding and employee branding.  Having said that, the employee exit experience is still missing the right approach from the HR, Marketing and Communication departments.

Because of that lack of focus on employee exit, the potential benefits of proper exit experience are not explored or maximized and the risks of reputation damage that a poor exit execution can trigger are ignored. What happens is that after years and years of employee branding investments, the companies very often simply unplug, lose control from an eventually relevant opinion maker as soon as the employee leaves the company. In conclusion, there is a sudden lack of interest in perpetuating that brand ambassador.

Actually in the case of the employees, the creation of a brand image starts with the selection process experience, regardless if that step was successful for the candidate, as we would wish that an unsuccessful candidate to keep a positive emotion from that short contact and hopefully will share it. On the other side, for the successful candidate, an employee branding journey is just about to start with the company converting the new team member in a brand ambassador : of the company , the products/services, in front of  institutions, creating strong ties with the society and attracting new talent.

The communication and HR departments develop programs to get great engagement and motivation from the teams, in order to achieve high efficiency and project a fantastic image outside, with suppliers, intuitions, partners and so on. What is clearly missing in most of the companies is the simple objective of perpetuating that brand ambassador, even after leaving the company.

Fortunately most of the exits do not have a conflict behind and so the natural tensions of that transition are perfectible manageable. Again in most of the types of exit (being it a decision from the company due to a transformation, an exit of the employee to other company, a retirement), there is more time available than just the legal stated period, allowing as well a proper handover to the new job holder. There will be sufficient time to apply a detailed exit checklist of tasks to perform smoothly, guaranteeing for both employer and employee a professional change management and a transition to exit in good collaboration.

The exit experience should have from the company the same care and preparation as the welcome and on boarding of a new employee and that is mainly an HR department task. Maintaining an ambassador after exiting the company, following years of brand investment on that employee must be a clear objective for the company. Inherently, the working environment will be much more positive, it will foster talent attraction, it will reinforce and perpetuate brand investments and last but not the least, the company will still benefit from any collaboration that might be useful from the ex-employee.

To achieve this objective of perpetuating the brand ambassador, companies need to focus on the communication of the exit, on the quality of the exit process and on the professionalism and tone of the execution of that same process, by the key stakeholders, normally on the HR department. People will expect and certainly deserve gestures of recognition, which of course should be in line with the individual’s career, and in this context, we are refereeing exclusively to non-monetary compensations.

The exit is also one of the best moments to listen to the employee, through a professional structured script for an exit interview. If the entire process was fairly handled, the employee will be more relaxed, open and willing to share more about his/her experience in the organization. During the exit interview, we should focus in complementing information not covered on the usual employee surveys and with an open interview, with the right climate, we can flash back an entire career in a company and understand how the ex-employee received the different career experiences. The company will have to find out who does have the right skills to hold that conversation and needs to find the person better placed in relation with the exiting employee to conduct it and ensure the best relationships for the future are guaranteed.

Large companies will inevitably have a turnover of significant magnitude. Ignoring this opportunity to gather first-hand information, to understand trends, to anticipate short-term moves, to improve continuously and to maintain a brand ambassador is not responsible.

Just as companies make increasing efforts to improve customer experience, there are also very good reasons to take the same approach with employees. Companies should invest in creating positive emotions and in fostering the continuation of prosperous future relationships after the exit, to be able to maintain that enthusiastic and permanent ambassador.

People for Partnerships

Strategic partnering in the corporate world is a complex, transformational and highly attractive business approach, truly profitable, sustainable and genuinely a wealth generator for the society. From a professional career perspective, we are going to take you through the right profile for a strategic partnering leader role, how it looks & feels performing such a role and what does it mean in terms of career progression.

To be sustainably attractive both for shareholders and job holders, strategic partnering in terms of organizational context needs to be positioned as a strategic, differentiating unit, placed to deliver cross industry value, in the techno structure side of the organization and never on the support side.

A strategic partnering professional need to be at entry point already a highly experienced and successful leader in Sales & Marketing, with an intense customer facing exposure, highly developed strategic thinking and very strong in developing and maintaining long term relationships.  These individuals will leverage on a solid record of accomplishment on negotiations at senior level and practice in complex international organizations, showing as well a deep sense of value generation in customer offers and commitment on delivery. Although these roles are strategic sales roles, they do require a previous diverse operational experience. It is necessary to combine great visioning, a profound sense of reality, a broad business understanding and a real knowledge of what it takes to go from identifying the opportunity, through product/service development phase and finally reach excellence in delivery and profit generation.

On the personal profile dimension, he or she must be a high energy individual with an authentic passion for the business, with a deep sense of ownership and leading primarily by influence. He/she must have a high level of business intuition and ability to manage and take advantage of ambiguity, definitely a self-starter, a great listener and a humble person with self-confidence, resilience and strong commitment to learning and growing.

Leading a strategic partnership means being fully accountable for the gathering and deployment of the corporation resources to deliver comprehensive and distinctive offer of products, services, solutions to the partner, as well as to exploit synergies with the partner entity. In practical terms, the senior professional leads:
• The strategy and the respective implementation plan
• The differentiated and compelling multi-stream offer development and placement.
• The relationship management and governance.
• The performance indicators of the results for the partnering companies.

Let us know look and reflect as well, on the complexity angle of these roles, which arises mainly from the following sources:
Launching today the mass production of tomorrow inherently brings the need to deal across businesses/functions, to place/receive a differentiated integrated offer consistently at the highest standards, in an environment normally focused on mass execution. Where we see opportunities others will probably, initially, see difficulties and limitations.
• Needing to continuously stretch the corporate boundaries to get industry first offers out is a fantastic chance to lead from the front row but we can realize what it takes in terms of creating the business cases and  pulling resources out from day to day operation for a joint, new and successful outcome.
• Thirdly, we should be aware that the direct structure available to lead a partnership is normally minimum, as it is expected to use the rest of the corporate structure to deliver results.

The inherent complexity of strategic partnering, requires and effectively develops a series of rather unique leadership distinctions, such as:
• Visioning and storytelling.
• Demonstration, delivery of sustainable results, towards a great legacy.
• Relationships management along with corporate “political” navigation.

Let us now understand what makes these roles transformational in an individual’s career and in fact, how that quantum leap in people’s career  looks like, in a nut shell, what makes strategic partnering roles so incredibly powerful for companies and so attractive for sales & marketing senior executives:
• Given their strategic focus and cross industry dimension, these roles provide fantastic exposure at the highest level in the partnering corporations and industry forums
• As real front line cross business, multiple stream roles they offer and require to deal with very diverse set of business drivers on a daily basis, which is of course very demanding but certainly highly rewarding. They offer in a role tenure what others could only get close to, after a full and wide lifetime career. It gets you a unique perspective and domain of the company only comparable to a board room experience.
• The thrill in leading innovative offers, stretching the capabilities of the corporations offering and delivering the unimaginable is irresistible for many. A real approach towards transformational leadership.

The strategic partnering roles represent the ultimate experience at the top of customer facing sales & marketing roles pyramid and the final stage of account management roles, boosting to mastery level some critical sales & marketing competencies such as: account strategy & development, differentiated offer development & delivery, relationships management, deal closure and performance delivery.

In order to capture the prize for both individuals and organizations, they need to be  committed to a specific, highly rigorous selection process, a very thorough induction process for the new job holder and last but not the least give themselves the necessary time to complete a personal and business cycle.

This is how a strategic partnering professional will leave a widely recognized legacy for the corporations and will get a sustainable learning and experience of unique value to succeed at the following great role of a fantastic career progression.

Proactive selection

Companies often get in trouble and incur into high costs unnecessarily, due to the lack of a strong capability to replace people who leave critical roles open in the organization. That is when the cost of leadership disruption comes together with the high costs of selecting and recruiting on “emergency mode” plus the high risk of “compulsive hiring” arising with its long-term cost as well. Proactive selection, as part of a proper succession planning is neither too much hard work nor science fiction and yes, it is of great value.

The vision is to have a solid and evolving bench-strength of preselected candidates for a list of complex, senior roles, as well as for the so-called “one man band roles” that when empty would also have a critical impact on the organization’s ability to perform at the highest standards in delivering its market promises.

In fact, proactive selection should feel almost as a natural flow, coming out from a compelling employer branding considering external candidates pre-selection, in addition to a combination of departmental and job branding when we consider the internal candidates pre selection.

Proactive selection will avoid the wide range of disruption risks, but it should also in a different dimension, enable the organization to act ahead anticipating future capabilities needs, that might not be easy to fulfil with the current staff profiles. Proactive selection will create a proper discipline in terms of staff motivation, development and career management. Last but definitely not the least, proactive selection will get you out of the pressure, risk and cost of what we call “compulsive hiring”: when the role is vacant, with the inherent pressure to fill it, organizations often end up hiring the best candidate from an emergency poll …not necessarily the right candidate! Do you recognize this?

How would you execute proactive selection?
• First, there is the need to position it transparently among the staff as non-commitment, opportunities generation and staff development exercise.
• Second, you need to link with your internal talent management practices, do some internal head hunting and count as well as with your external selection and recruitment partner.
• Thirdly, you will run a truly independent, highly credible and appealing selection process.

In today’s labour markets, with no more jobs for life, with people willing to lead their own careers and with the critical importance of establishing and nurturing relationships, it is no major difficulty at all to get candidates under this context. In fact what we offer to the individuals: is exposure, opportunities, support and guidance to their careers and the chance to become truly competitive candidates when the opportunity arises. A lot of value really!

Do you wish to put the cheery on cake? Promise and deliver the pre candidates a professional high quality feedback from the process they have joined: on personal development, career management and interviewing skills.

Proactive selection as part of succession planning and talent management enables your organization to win by: looking far ahead, reducing pressure, reducing costs, creating further staff motivation and improving organizational capabilities, as you will get the right person for the right job, with options at the right time.

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© 2016 Torii · Design: Pantuás

© 2016 Torii · Design: Pantuás

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