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We discuss talent management, processes, actors, responsibilities, opportunities, talent development, transparency and so on. But we mostly apply it to others.
Warning, a personal reflections post ahead.

 

I have the last couple of weeks applied it to myself. What are my strengths and what are my development areas? What is my career goal and how can I get there?

 

One interesting thing I came to realise is that for me those questions are not the most important, and when realising that I realised that when I did the same exercise 10 years ago I came to the same conclusion. And the forgot about it.

 

For me a job with challenges is important. I need feedback and recognition. Hell I actually need to be told when I do something bad once in a while  I learn, I ponder feedback and I need it. Without it I ask myself “does it matter”. Leave me alone and I get bored.

 

Career? I’ve had one. I’m not motivated by people management “tried that, got the t-shirt”.  
Goals? Well if they are meaningful, otherwise don’t bother me. 
But challenge me. Give me feedback. Recognise me when I do something good. Am I attention seeking? Sure, I write a blog don’t I? But is that bad? I don’t think so. We all thrive on different things (read my post about incentives and rewards), I thrive on challenges and recognition.

 

Once you realise what makes you tick, then you know what talent management tools to apply to yourself. And on others.

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No ratings?

I’ve been conducting workshops for a customer and we got to look Into things in the system they don’t use. Got to calibrating assessments and they said, we don’t do that

 Can you not assess people, rate them and measure it? 
They claim so. And they have the numbers to prive it. People stay long, plan careers in the company, and they make profits in a couple of Hundred countries. Strange, yes I know. 
They say that clear expectations and good dialogue is the key. To trust in people and evolve them. Get managers from inside. Sounds a bit weird , and yet, it works.
Are we wrong when we always want to assess, rate and calibrate?
I dont know. I do know that there are more than one way of doing this. And whatever way you choose. Be patient. Be open. Be fair. 
Maybe it’s not the way you choose but how you behave that matters? If you treat your employees with honesty and transparency, it does not matter what you do?

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I’m on my way to Dubai to conduct a couple of fact gathering workshops to uncover all requirements on a talent management software. Fun and interesting and also an exercise in the game “no you are not unique”.

 

I have come across many organizations that have some unique processes, forms or terminology. And they have spent lots of money to change their software to match their wishes 100%. Money that could have been used wiser.

 

To many HR practitioners are in love with their own unique way. But if we try to be honest. Most unique ways are not really unique, they are variations of what a lot of others do. Just because you use another word you are not unique. You might just be confusing. Your employees does not understand, your managers don’t understand and your vendor is happy sending you bills. 

 

Stop it

  

If you are willing to change just a little bit you can buy standard. It’s cheaper, and just as effective, or more, as your unique, or weird, way of doing things. Look at your processes and ask if they can be tweaked to suit standard.

 

That will be my mission for the upcoming week. To gather requirements and see how to address them with standard. 

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3 days training Russians. 12 students, all highly competent professionals and all motivated to learn. 

 

It’s been a journey, not knowing what to expect. We all have our ideas about Russians, right? I had mine. And I was wrong. They are easy to train, motivated, asking questions, exploring. Give them a couple of months and they can train me. 

 

When you say “tomorrow we will randomly pick someone to do one of four exercises” they all prepare, amazing. 

 

I met a bunch of professionals that I would say go all in to learn what I can teach. 

 

So how did my preparations work? Well ok. As long as I was ready to adapt, create more exercises, go back and clarify and be ready to be pushed to my knowledge limits. But if you do that you will get satisfaction and see how you and they learn. 

 

I go home. Not just satisfied after doing a good job but also satisfied having learned about Russians. 

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Remember I spent a week in Hong Kong in the summer? Now it’s time to train Russians. Will be interesting. I will also strictly speaking not write talent management blog, but a series of personal experience and observations posts.

 

So how do you prepare for the unknown? Can you? I could have read up on Russia and culture, or just come prepared to do my thing, and then adapt. 

 

I go for the adapt at the spot methodology. Come with an open mind, prepared to train professionals. And take it from there. 
As I will train them in the software and not in the process it is important I give them the tools to use it in their way. It would be interesting to listen in on their future workshops. To see how they differ. But I won’t be able to do it, so can only aim to get them the toolbox they need. 
I will be back next week with my observations and experiences. 

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Rewards need to be tailored to the one being rewarded. This will be a highly personal post as I will use myself as an example.

 

You have a reward system in place. Maybe incentive trips, or bonus checks on Amazon. But will they do the work?

 

In most cases,yes most likely. But then in some cases it might not be what the employee wants. Incentive trips might be all fun, but if the employee see them more as wasted personal time, then it might actually be a bad thing. 

 

Learn your employees desires and reward them accordingly. I, and here it comes down to persinal examples, value my free time. I am traveling a lot for work as it is (writing this on the plane to Oslo). Traveling somewhere to have drinks with management is not high on my agenda. I appreciate the message it sends, but prefer other means if delivery. 

 

Not long ago I was to enable some new employees and partners in Hong Kong. A long trip yes, so once again intruded on my personal time. But I was able to meet new people. To do what I like, and at the same time got the message my work was appreciated. Much more worth to me than any golfing or skiing with management. 

 

My partner thinks I’m nuts, but also proud I got selected to do the work. That makes me happy and I feel appreciated. 

So learn your employees desires, and tailor your rewards. What you might think of as work, your employee might consider a reward. Win-Win situation.

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Is there such a thing as cultural differences, aren’t we all individuals? Surrey we are, and yes there are cultural differences. 

 

A while ago I was spending a courtesy of days training Asians in Hong Kong. It was tremendously fun but it also was challenging. You try to time the parts and plan based on experience. And I’m Swedish, mostly a talkative quizzical bunch. So time for questions and discussions. Did that happen? Nope. 

 

They were listening, quietly, no question almost. When I tried to draw them out I got almost whispered responses. So by day 1 we reached to lunchtime for day 2. What to do? How can we bring them out? Make them participate? 

 

What I did, encouraged by one if my bosses, was to go over the complex part again. Doing the hands in as a group exercise. Asking them what is next step, and showing them. Sometimes I got a whispered suggestion, so stones I faked hearing one. Do I could clarify, explain, answer the questions that was never asked. 

 

Did I right? Was it disrespectful? 

 

I don’t know. I just had to get them to look up, participate in the hands on, fake the discussion to get the point across.

 

Did I succeed? 

 

Yes I think I did. 

 

So what’s the conclusion? Accept there are differences, adapt to it and try alternative routes to get to your goal. Don’t be afraid of placing yourself in the centre and prepare to make a fool of yourself. Do whatever it takes as long as you don’t abuse your audience. If I had forced one until the floor to do the exercise in from if everyone it would have failed horribly. 

 

So adapt, change yorseelf, not your audience. 

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