Monthly Archives: April 2016

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Talent Development Leaders — Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Talent Development Leaders — If you can’t clearly answer this question — then it is time to act.

Recently I was having a conversation around the table with a client and his managers. The discussion focused on how the Talent Development function was supporting the business. As is so often the case, the conversation centered around talent development pipelines and processes such as performance management alignment.

I listened quietly and then asked if we could shift the conversation a little — I wanted to ask a different question before we moved on…

“What do you believe makes your organization unique and gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace?”

I can usually predict what the answer will be – and it happened again here… Each person had a different answer!

This is an easy question to ask – but so difficult for many managers to answer. Try it! How would you answer it for your organization?

Well, during our discussion… the most senior executive on the T&D team’s response was “Our ability to take risks.” My follow-up question was “What does that mean?” My second question was “… And what makes you different from your largest competitor –are they not risk takers?

Another executive jumped in and said, “I think there’s a different answer to that question. I think capability in research and development sets us apart from the competition.”

The conversation then led to how to define and then to leverage their competitive advantage.

Why is this important?  — if you are not building organizational capability with this question in mind, it’s time to start! Not being able to define – and act on your competitive advantage – is a serious risk to your business. At best it is losing you money – at worst it may cost you your business!

In fairness to the Talent Development function – this problem is just as common across all functions and pretty universal across businesses.

In other words, once you clearly describe your competitive advantage you can tailor functions such as capability development and recruitment and selection to finding and developing employees to drive the business forward to take advantage of the opportunities your advantage provides.

Just try searching on Google — what you will find is that there are 50 million hits when searching for Strategic Competitive Advantage –so widely in the consciousness of organizations – YET our research shows …. only 44% strongly agree that they can describe what makes their organization different from the competition, AND 20% strongly agree that their organization’s current strategies give them an advantage over the competition.

Why is that? People are not asking the right questions and don’t have an approach that will get them to universally identify and leverage what makes them unique.

When you are in a position to address this issue… Try jumpstarting the conversation by asking leaders in your organization the following questions:

  • What must we do, know, or produce that no one else can? This is truly hard questions to answer. –the key –be honest – what is the evidence that you alone can do this?  How do you know?
  • What do we want to be best in the “world” at? However, you define your “world” –is an important context for this conversation.  Is your world truly global? Or is it the world in which you currently operate in – or perhaps the world you would like to move into.
  • What is the single best reason for our success? This allows you to focus — is it a single thing like a patent on a new product or a unique approach to something that cannot be easily replicated?
  • Is our advantage anything that a competitor could say about their organization? This is the true “smell” test. Again, be honest with yourself. If this is not the case – you have a competitive advantage –if not, maybe now is the time to secure one.

Only when your organization is clear on these important questions can you reshape your Talent Management Strategy to take full advantage of the opportunities your competitive advantage provides.

For more visit: www.thinktowin.net

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President Blog

What I’d Tell the Next President

Whoever takes the White House is going to face a country in transition. Here’s what the experts want POTUS to know on Day 1.

Shift the Tone – Our country needs leadership – and it needs to come from the top on day one. You need to shift the way people think about how Washington works. It is not all about “executive orders” or what you are going to “tear up.” It is about changing the America Psyche. Set a new tone with the American people —- let them know that there “is” a solution to every problem … and the best way to solve them is collectively with those who have strong differences. It is about relationships and not just rules. Think about the relationship that Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill had. There was a mutual respect and they genuinely liked each other. Reagan and O’Neal were able to find common ground even though they philosophically were polar opposites. Many credit them with saving Social Security. As the President, your words and actions mean much more than they did after the November Election. During your first official day in office, bring the leaders from both parties together and announce that you will be hosting a Camp David Summit. Why Camp David? For decades it has been a place to bring world leaders together to build broken relationship and address the most important problems. Couldn’t leaders from both our parties use that? With the desire to change the tone, I would suggest a theme – How Good Can America Be? The purpose would be to outline an agenda and jump-start an important Leadership conversation around clearly identifying what has given the U.S. a competitive advantage in the world; and, more importantly how we sustain that for the years to come. Not only would this be symbolic, it would show leadership and action.

 

Paul V. Butler President, GlobalEdg and Co-Author of Think-to-WinUnleashing the Power of Strategic Thinking

Blog

New Leaders – Who could slow you down?

 

In today’s fast-paced environment, the window that a new leader has to win is short.  If you do not have a way to quickly determine who on your team you can depend on – you can’t WIN!

I was on the phone last night with the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) from one of our new clients. A pulse check on how her team was doing led to a discussion on how she uses the strategic thinking approach to quickly assess the capabilities of the people she has on her team.  “When I come into an organization, I have a quick window to not only assess my function, but to determine who best fits with where I want to take the organization.  As a leader, I have been brought in for a reason — to help an organization grow.  We can only do that if we know where we are – where we want to go – and who is going to help us get there.” I want everyone to succeed, and I need to see who on my teams can and will contribute immediately and what help others might need to quickly get there.

A disciplined approach to Thinking, Planning, and Acting does more than just produce a great plan. When done collectively with a new team, it provides a new leader a chance to observe and work with his or her team and quickly assess who is going to help you produce quick wins.   An approach that combines the tools of strategic thinking with the principles and practices of collaboration is powerful. It helps a new leader quickly begin to answer the following:

 Who is able and willing to work as a team member to collectively solve problems?

Who on my team is open to new ways of thinking about previously held beliefs?

Who is able to quickly identify and communicate the most important issues?

Who has displayed both functional skills and leadership capabilities?

Who can get things done?

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For more visit: www.thinktowin.net