Marshall Goldsmith at AHRI National Convention

Marshall Goldsmith opened the 2010 AHRI National Convention with a highly interactive and thought provoking talk looking at how to be a better coach. Marshall began the session by saying his focus is to teach leaders what to STOP doing instead of teaching them what to do.

Marshall provided us 5 key challenges of successful leaders that they all need to overcome to be truly great:

  1. Winning to much
  2. Adding too much value
  3. Telling the world how smart we are
  4. “I already knew that”
  5. Passing judgement

He then went on to demonstrate that the key to solving each of these challenges is starting to think more about others than about you. For example, when you try to add additional thoughts and ideas someone’s idea the quality of the idea might go up 5% but their commitment to the idea goes down 15% as it is not longer their idea. Further focusing just on achievement is really all about focusing on me, whereas leadership is all about focusing on other people.

Marshal provided an amazing statistic that the percentage of all interpersonal communication time spent on people talking about how smart they are and people talking about how stupid, bad, inept others are is around 65%!! He did a quick survey of the room and found we felt the average was around 70%, very close. Essentially if business wants to increase productivity then just look to reduce this number as these activities are not revenue generating.

A great coaching tip from Marshall is he has found that creating an environment where people lose small amounts of money creates very large changes in behavior. For example, fining yourself $1/$5 or $10 whenever you do one of the following:

  • Start a sentence with no, but, or however
  • Start a sentence with Great, but or however
  • Give destructive comments about someone

He asked everyone in the room to raise their hands if they had said something negative about someone else in the last month that they didn’t really need to say, hands in the whole room went up. He then fined us all $1 we had to place it on the floor, proceeds went to breast cancer research. He had several very interactive and entertaining activities where we all learned how to give and receive feedback.

He suggests a really good question to ask to your coworkers and family is “How can I get better at work/home?” Unfortunately we don’t ask it enough as we don’t want to know the answer.

Marshall wrapped up the session talking a lot about while these practices are good in business they are critical in your personal life. The guy sitting next to me even mentioned how emotional he had felt during the session when talking about creating better relationships with your partners, parents and children.

All in all an awesome session.

PageUp People: Integrated Talent Management

What is Integrated Talent Management (ITM)?

Well that was the question posed at this morning’s breakfast briefing session run by PageUp People to launch their new white paper, “ITM – The Evolution”. Their answer:
Credit: Lumaxart

ITM leverages the same data, process, workflow management, security model, user portals, and reporting and analytics tools across all applications.

My answer would be very similar.

The white paper quotes heavily from people such as Thomas Otter, Jim Holincheck, CedarCrestone and Leighanne Levensaler with PageUp People offering their own conclusions on the research which in turn lays out a product roadmap for the PageUp People platform.

Within the white paper reference is made to three stages of ITM evolution:

  • Stage 1 – Today, multiple vendors, disconnected systems, a lack of analytics, and limited executive buy-in.
  • Stage 2 – Reduced number of vendors as each widen the breadth and depth of their offerings, tighter integration, initial workforce analytics, and growing executive buy-in.
  • Stage 3 – The holy grail a fully integrated talent management platform with predictive analytics and high levels of executive buy-in.

What stood out to me was the strong emphasis being placed on workforce analytics, the topic for the rest of this post, as a key indicator of a stage 3 ITM environment.

For well over a decade workforce analytics have been discussed and predicted to come of age many times, and again we have a major talent management vendor still predicting that workforce analytics is in the future! So when will the future become today?

Over the years workforce analytics has been a keen interest of mine, in 2004 I co-presented on the topic and AHRI’s HR Week. During the presentation I referenced work conducted by the Butler Group in 1995 on the issues around data warehousing little things such as; Availability, Understanding, Accurate, Consistent and Predictability, and Privacy. I firmly believe many of these issues need to be resolved before any form of workforce analytics can be confidently undertaken by an organisation.

My co-presenter 5 years ago John Macy referenced work from the Meta Group in 2000 on the 5 categories of workforce information management, the top level being predictive modelling! John went on to discuss trends from the Meta Group, which had vendors incorporate contextual analysis into their products by 2005 and in 2006/7 Leading organisations will develop & fine tune predictive models. I guess the Meta Group was wrong!

Now back to talent management, last year Dr John Sullivan discussed why Talent Management Analytics is still failing, I added my two cents worth as well. Let’s look at Dr John’s list again:

  1. HR Skill deficiency
  2. Lack of business knowledge
  3. Expensive tools limiting deployment
  4. Lack of quality data
  5. Complicated nature of talent management
A system will not solve all the items on this list, other than item 3. This point was emphasised in the PageUp People white paper when they looked at the People and Process implications. A broader organisational change activity is required to succeed in a strategic context with workforce analytics.