“Reverse Innovate” Your People

laci 11-16Organizations can’t source the talent they need, even in high-unemployment countries. We have a complete incongruence between people and talent. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the current world census is more than 7 billion; very few of those are actually skilled talent with essential leadership qualities. In exchanging messages today with several presenting at next week’s “WEF’s Summit on the Global Agenda,” in Abu Dhabi, it was apparent there was consensus on organizations’ inability to convert people to talent with any sort of reasonable speed.

In reflecting on the conversion challenge, I recall a conversation on the topic a few weeks back with Vijay Govindarajan (VG), renowned professor and luminary at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and shortlisted in August this year for the Thinkers50 Innovation Award. He outlined his thinking on a concept he engineered called reverse innovation – developing new ideas and successful practices in emerging markets, then exporting them to the developed, Western world. The concept requires organizations to leave behind traditional thinking, processes, frameworks and structures; embrace transformation; and revamp existing structures or create new ones.

While VG can often be caught sharing examples of reverse innovation in product development or manufacturing methods, it seemed apparent that the same brilliance can, and should, be applied to talent management. If organizations want to convert their workforces from people to talent and leverage that talent to make measurable and unprecedented impact on the business, they need to rethink traditional approaches to people management and quickly engage what I call the “critical few” to spawn true, integrated talent management:

  • Global Governance: Define, implement, execute, measure and sustain an integrated approach to managing talent globally for purposes of ensuring talent makes a measurable impact on the business via governance councils membered by the C-level, HR and talent leaders and business unit leaders.
  • Collaborative Culture: Attract, develop, engage, and retain top talent by cultivating a cooperative, agile, innovative, and positive workplace culture.
  • Enabling Technology: Open new doors to finding talent – within and outside of – the organization, integrate talent processes, communicate with talent regardless of location and geography, and collect/monitor/analyze talent data — all made possible through the kaleidoscope lens of technology.

While adoption of these few practices might be a startling departure from how some currently approach people management, Brandon Hall Group’s talent management research shows they will be the e-ticket to scalable and agile talent practices. For organizations that figure out how to successfully manage global talent and leverage talent for business success, these practices will set them apart from all others.

I suspect that as you reflect on my comments here, some of you may be nodding your heads up and down and others side to side. I welcome all comments. Share examples of how your organizations have embraced one or more of the “critical few” or feel free to object and challenge. Merely engaging in a debate may melt away concerns, boost critical awareness, and liberate your thinking about the invaluable contributions to holistic talent management brought forward by the “critical few.”

Until next time….. [email protected]

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