“We have bigger things to do right now than focus on value.”
This is what I have been hearing in many of the conversations I’ve been having with private equity owners and operators in the last while. We live in strange times indeed when value (traditionally expressed as market cap), an all-encompassing indicator of success, takes a back seat.
Is it possible to scale global startups fast enough when windows of opportunity are tight and capabilities need to be supercharged overnight?
That is the question leaders of the LIVEKINDLY COLLECTIVE, a global plant-based foods company, and CEO.Works, the “Talent to Value” firm, were discussing in late spring 2020. “Executive talent sharing” is the modern and practical solution they came up with to address the problem of scarce leadership talent in these unprecedented times.
The way I look at it, onboarding programs should be taken more seriously in the world of talent management. Done well, onboarding can help people in roles critical to a company’s value agenda get traction in their jobs much sooner, accelerate results, and reduce time to value. Onboarding, therefore, has to be more than just a matter of lining up a series of personal introductions. It should be a matter of precisely introducing a person to what is “new” to them—the specifics of their work, the challenges of the business, the anticipated risks they will face, as well as their key working relationships—in a way that will have a significant positive impact on both their performance and their results.
Throughout my three decades in human resources and executive coaching, I have worked closely with high caliber talent to unlock their potential for optimal performance and engagement at work. My goal for each client is to coach value into existence by Connecting Talent to Value™. This value refers to the value agenda set by leaders to drive a company’s bottom line, or the organization’s intended impact.
I have seen many scenarios where it’s clear that someone has exceptional skill and ability and an excellent performance track record to go with it. Then a role change takes place, and the candidate struggles to realize the performance they achieved in the past.
Like most CHROs, I have spent all of my career operating within the universe of talent management. The established, widely accepted practices and processes of talent management, many of which are highly consensual, have stood me in good stead. In fact, I and my C-suite partners have only ever had one serious concern when we look at our well-equipped HR departments: how we manage talent isn’t always linked tightly with what is relevant to the company’s performance.
It is up to you as CEO to calm the chaos and focus your organization’s people and resources on values-based value creation.
Considering the number and scope of the decisions you have to make these days, it’s probably not even humanly possible to look at everything being brought to you. The reality is that the important, urgent issues being thrown at you are not going to stop. The emotions being stirred up are not going to subside quickly. Spreading yourself thin to cover everything won’t get you or your company far in this day and age. What you need is leverage.
By Bill Allen & Shefali Salwan
We in HR live with a paradox. Most of us entered the profession because we believe that humans beings can develop and grow. Indeed, we have many ways to measure and mark the progress of individual talents. Yet, even with this data in hand, many of us are still reluctant to take a chance on people. We tend to assume that placing someone who has not already done what we need them to do in a role that’s critical to the organization would be a big risk, one usually not worth taking. This risk aversion only intensifies the issues around race and gender that we see dominating the news today. It is time we seek out risk in our talent management practices.
I never imagined a future in which I would be forced to give up traveling for work. But now, after having adjusted to the realities of COVID-19, this road warrior wonders if he will ever travel to an in-person client or team meeting again. Not only is it dangerous for everyone involved, but operating in this way wastes huge amounts of time and energy. And it contributes significantly to pollution. There will need to be a very compelling reason to take the risk and expend the energy to get on a plane again.
You’ve just been offered your career “dream job” as CHRO. This is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead change, rather than be consumed by it. But it’s 2020. Instead of riding a bullet express train, you’ll be on a rollercoaster. The business environment is even more chaotic than during the fiscal crisis of 2008. Profits slide down suddenly, slowly climb back up, only to slide down even faster and eventually rise again. You have about six months to make an impact and be the “solution” before you become part of the “problem”. Where should you focus your time, attention and energy?
C-suite leaders have been inundated by the practical problems they are facing in the wake of COVID-19. Many have had to completely rethink what matters to their business and adjust their operations accordingly. In the initial turmoil of the pandemic, many people became more amenable to change. Now some individuals are insisting, “Everything will be different.” Such desire for sweeping change, while it may be based in good intentions, noble aspirations and opportunistic thinking, is not always realistic.