Talent Management: How to Increase your U&R Exposure


I will begin by making my “political statement”:

Canadians like to see their problems solved by someone else (especially government). This includes talent related problems.

An article in 17 February, 2011 Vancouver Sun titled BC’s aerospace sector needs more workers, industry leader says, page E2 makes several observations:

  • Industry executive D Schellenberg says he could use 100 people right now. The consequences of talent shortages is concrete (not hypothetical) to him.
  • The industry is competing with many other industries for young people to enter it. The TM implication include managing talent inflow issues along with role performance improvements and outflow (i.e., attrition) measures.
  • There needs to be greater emphasis on R&D so the industry can remain competitive. This is a heavy knowledge work industry.
  • That Canadian (i.e., public sector) R&D funding should increase by about $1.8 billion over current levels. The TM implication is you are adding to the complexity of our business by inviting greater government participation.

Here is the uncertainty and risk (U&R) piece.

Any strategy that adds additional stakeholders into the heart of it is taking on additional U&R. This especially true if the stakeholder is government (AND NO I AM NOT ANTI-GOVERNMENT). Why?

  • Governments will always have an agenda (driven by the stakeholders they care about) that can (will?) be fundamentally different than yours. So what? There lags will always have strings attached that have little to do with your operational performance preferences/needs.
  • Governments are “process” not results or even outcome oriented. So what? It is highly important that they be seen “doing something” regardless (it seems) about whether it really does make a useful difference. This is just the nature of the “beast”, governments must be seen doing the right thing, it’s about justice (which is process dominant),  being fair, responding to constituents’ concerns, etc.  We should not rail against this attribute – it is highly appropriate for their role.
  • Governments often do not have the same sense of timeliness.

None of the above points are particularly controversial. I believe Governments work best when they abide by he above features of their operational approach.

In my dark moments I think that people who talk about needing additional public support are using this claim as an excuse to avoid doing what they can for themselves.

Is this post a diatribe against enrolling the support of others (governments, suppliers, customers, competitors, interested parties, etc.) in pursuing worthwhile goals 9including TM ones)? No. It is just about being clinically clear how other parties fundamental interests and operational drivers differ from yours – and the U&R implications of that.

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About 123stilllearning456

As a management consultant I am passionately interested in talent management and risk/uncertainty issues. In the area of talent management I propose that we seek strategies that look beyond the staffing/employee centric frames of reference. I have been frustrated at the "closing down on possibilities" by these more conventional staffing/employee centric approaches. I have been impressed where people have found systematic solutions to their talent management issues by going beyond the conventional approaches. In the area of risk and uncertainty, I am interested in making this topic relevant to more normal decision making situations. My conceptual foundation is to use the micro-economist's fixed/variable cost theme. I also think it is important to look at these issues for people through their emotional and psychological lens. As a premise I think risk and uncertainty only exist where there is a person who cares about possible events and its consequences. Hence, risk and uncertainty are social based concepts (no sentience, no risk and uncertainty). A major influence on my thinking in this area is Nassim Taleb of "Black Swan" fame. This BLOG provides me with an opportunity to express my thoughts on topics that interest me. As this is an online diary, content is more important to me than polish. I apologize if this distracts from readers' enjoyment and learning. Still I find this a useful way to live up to my namesake, learn more from others and hopefully provoke creative thoughts and ideas in others.
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