Smart People and Smart Models

Smart People and Smart Models

Startup entrepreneurial firms are beginning to realize that they attract and hire top intellectual talent in today's market place, despite its intrinsic challenge, and are rediscovering new business models to help nurture talent, who in turn, will help build newer organisational models that will succeed.


Top 25 — Let us start by answering this quiz:


1. In my organisation, can I proactively meet people from other departments and functions and try to form relationships? 


2. In my organisation, can I share my skills and ideas with people from other areas of the organisation? 


3. In my organisation, can I share information and knowledge freely and not treat it as a power base?

4. In my organisation, can I support people, engage with them and set them to succeed?


5. In my organisation, can I explain to people why changes are taking place and why decisions are being made? 

6. In my organisation, can I tell the truth, even when it is difficult to do so?

7. In my organisation, can I give people my honest opinion and advice if they ask for it ? 

8. In my organisation, can I raise any issues and concerns if I have any as and when required without hesitation?

9. In my organisation, can I admit when I have done something wrong, rather than trying to cover it up? 

10. In my organisation, can I try to offer excellent service to everyone I interact with?

11. In my organisation, can I continually strive to deliver World Beating Service? 

12. In my organisation, can I support people to succeed in their career and personal goals? 

13. In my organisation, can I remain positive in difficult situations? 

14. In my organisation, can I emphasize the success of when I talk to people? 

15. In my organisation, can I offer people solutions and recommendations rather than problems? 

16. In my organisation, can I seek other peoples' opinions and ideas, and investigate different perspectives? 

17. In my organisation, can I provide constructive feedback to help people to develop 

18. In my organisation, can I take responsibility and accountability for the things that I do? 

19. In my organisation, can I encourage others to take responsibility and accountability for their actions? 

20. In my organisation, can I challenge other people's perceptions and views? 

21. In my organisation, can I treat others in the way I would like to be treated?


22. In my organisation, can I take the time to get to know people on an individual level? 


23. In my organisation, can I be polite and courteous, even when I am very busy? 


24. In my organisation, can I say thank-you and well done to people on a regular basis? 


25. In my organisation, can I emphasize with others and try to see their point of view? 

This quiz is partly based on Four Forces© methodology (Managing Self, Managing Teams, Managing Business and Managing Organisations) that identifies 120 factors that makes or breaks an organisation. Based on the best of breed digital startups/ organisations/firms and institutions that have succeeded in building high value enterprises, this research helps you to take a quick look at the top 25 factors.

The intrinsic challenges to leadership 

Have you ever wondered why have smart people started applying to the start-up organisation now, as against looking only for Big Brand Name companies, Large Corporates or Big 4 Consulting? 


1. Given a choice would you like to join a Start Up Firm? Why? 


2. Do you believe your skills and capabilities will be sufficiently stretched in a start up? 


3. Would you think that you will be in a position to work with many similar aspirational folks as peers and mentors? 

4. Is your current organisation working to expand your knowledge and skills while seeking to provide you entrepreneurial roles and challenges? 

5. How many from Four Forces © 25 could you strongly agree about your current firm? 


Startup entrepreneurial firms are beginning to realize that they attract and hire top intellectual talent in today's market place, despite its intrinsic challenge, and are rediscovering new business models to help nurture talent, who in turn, will help build newer organisational models that will succeed. And more importantly, for them to single handedly manage and supervise yet another team of deep and specialist knowledge workers through the organisation structure is yet another complex and challenging task. This imposes on senior management time and talent to focus on making such knowledge workers to work hand in hand, keeps learning as a necessary condition, with colleagues to experiment and innovate, to work in teams that have goals that cut across functions and job competencies. The wide use of integrated knowledge teams and their consequent effectiveness has proven beyond doubt the success of making people work in structured as well as unstructured environments, with only their goals in perspective. The work force in turn having realized this potential are willing to take additional responsibilities, willing to be empowered, and consequently, operate with enhanced command over what they know (as knowledge) and its application in untested areas.


The primary challenge of an entrepreneur is to motivate top talent; to seize opportunities by utilizing their human resources effectively.


1. How can engagement be driven down to the level of the lower most unit - (budgets, targets, profitability)? 


2. How can we arrive at a linkage of financial performance metrics with customer acquisition, retention, service and satisfaction linkage of customer metrics to internal process efficiencies? 


3. How do we establish linkage of process efficiency assumptions to people skills and competencies?


4. What are the Factors that contribute to and hinder performance (structure, processes, technology, locations, personnel policies)?


Leadership continues to be a critical factor in influencing the knowledge factor in some entrepreneurial business organisations. Some critical issues are: 


1. Assessment of leadership challenges in a business scenario 


2. Assessment of challenges that leader faces at various levels 


3. Effective management styles in performing leadership roles 


4. Factors that help or hinder leadership behaviours 


5. Impact of leadership on building the organisational culture 


6. Market and competitive pressures that influence leadership performance 


7. Impact of globalization and change on leadership 


8. And discovering a new business model 


In, Rethinking the Knowledge-Based Organisation, Michael H. Zack (SMR 2003), states, "Although that organisational approach encourages an entrepreneurial spirit within each segment, it does not help every organisation leverage its knowledge resources. Each analyst team uses a different approach to gather and analyze market information, and each uses a different technology and format to capture and store raw data, analysis, interpretation and final reports. The content and structure of the reports tends to vary, and even the names of the lines of business are not standardized."


The 2015 Forrester Research on "Recruit and Retain Top Digital Talent" indicates that the percentage of Chicago MBAs landing jobs at University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Martin Gill from Forrester Research 2015 issue writes, "Business education doesn't build digital talent. Digital business leadership demands a heady mix of business and technology skills, and while some visionary academic institutions are evolving, many business schools are not building tomorrow's digital leaders. A select few are leading by example: institutes like Cornell tech are reinventing the MBA programme to teach a blend of business strategy and digital skills, with mixed classes of business and computer science graduates working together. But these institutions are still far from the norm. Personal motivation isn't purely monetary. employees' expectations of their employers and their careers are changing, but contrary to popular stereotype, this isn't just an age thing. A recent IBM study showed that the attitudes and desires of Millennials aren't fundamentally different to those of older employees. No matter what their age, most employees' primary work motivation is to make a positive impact on their organisation. they value collaboration, they want the freedom to work whenever and wherever they want, and they expect access to technologies that help them in the workplace."


Clearly, no longer are corporate "peoples - human issues" the exclusive prerogative of the people and change services team-a group that was, and many a times still is, unfortunately not being made to be a critical player in the strategic decision-making processes, and whose contribution to the bottom line often goes unrecognized. Leaders who heartily embrace HCM understand that maximizing the value of workforce is the job of CEOs and business managers for whom productive and performing workforce is enhanced shareholder value.


Gerald C. Kane, Doug Palmer, Anh Nguyen Phillips and David Kiron in SMR 2015 call this, "The Threat of Employee Dissatisfaction - While employees are not necessarily confident in the ability of their leadership to digitally transform the organisation, they are more optimistic about digital technologies themselves. Ninety-one percent of survey respondents across industry sectors, company size and region agreed or strongly agreed that digital technologies have the potential to fundamentally transform the way people in their organisation work."


"Start new businesses by exploring the job to be done," Clayton M. Christensen, Thomas Bartman, and Derek Van Bever write in The Hard Truth About Business Model Innovation in SMR 2016, "When identifying new market opportunities, it's critical that you begin with a focus on the customer's job to be done, rather than on your company's capabilities. It's tempting to look at your capabilities as the starting point for any expansion, but capabilities are of no use without a job for them." For incumbents, this requires staying focused on the job rather than the market or capability. One example of this discipline is Corning Inc., the manufacturer of specialty glass and ceramic materials based in Corning, New York. When it becomes apparent that a Corning business can no longer generate a premium price from its technical superiority - when it reaches the efficiency innovation stage, in our framework - the company divests that business and uses the proceeds to expand businesses in the sustaining stage, and to create new ones. For example, when Corning realized that liquid crystal display (LCD) would eventually replace cathode ray tube (CRT) technology to become the future of display, the company focused on the job to be done - display - rather than just on the CRT market, which at the time was important to the company. Corning began inventing products to enable the growth of the LCD industry, and eventually decided to exit the CRT market. To Corning, businesses serve needs, not markets, and as technological or market shifts occur, the company continues to grow by remaining focused on the need, which we call the job.


Smarter HCM practices for better outcomes

Such studies show that smart HCM practices, be it, e-recruitment, performance management, 360-degree feedback or on-line testing, improve "people-based" outcomes like personalization, Digimaps for Careers, Employee Engagement, Life Planning, Freedom to Control Learning Outcomes, Progression Charts, Energy Optimization, Smart Achiever, Active Role Orientation for Organisational Commitment, and reduced concrete outcomes such as turnover and absenteeism. The evidence of driving top line value clearly link organisations with high performance outcomes driven by a culture to make everyday life of an average employee hassle free and productive, and focus on enhancing outcomes (units per employee), Cash flow (Gross rate of return on assets per employee) and Market value.


When organisations invest in HCM technologies they are also sending home a direct message that the business case has many different parts, but at a minimum, it is going to have to have a clear link to corporate strategy, a market or competitive analysis, a project plan with a firm timeline, and most importantly, it is going to have financials and lots of people engagement be it through social media, big data analytics or simple employee self-service. And with fewer people, lesser costs and more money, and the increasingly rapid rate of competition, CEOs cite organisational innovation and the efficient and effective management of the workforce as key competitive advantages, enhancing the importance of human capital management. And that is best done when work life is simplified for a productive employee. It is then that they seek Entrepreneurial Pastures. It is also when Four Forces © becomes a force to reckon with!

Dr. Ganesh Shermon is a Managing Partner for RiverForest Group, KPMG LLP. He is also the author of several books on Talent Management and some portions of this article have been sourced from his works.


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