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One bollock at a time – Part 3


We are all engaged in a war for talent aren’t?  No we are not.  This is the third bollock.

I would guarantee that if you looked around your organisation today, if you truly looked, you would find it awash with talent.  Most likely, underused, under motivated, under rewarded and under managed.  But you do talent reviews right?  And succession plans and you have a talent register and performance reviews and 360 degree appraisals and and and and………

Most organisations, in my experience and including my own, are inept at identifying, retaining and attracting talent.  It is not because the talent isn’t there, it’s because we don’t recognise it.  We put in place all these ridiculous constructs to try to show that we are taking it seriously, but miss the point that true talent is individual and unique.  The person underperforming in one role could be a star in the next.  The anti corporation rebel could be just the guy you need to think about new projects and markets.  The guy that ticks all the boxes and comes in with shiny shoes every day….he probably isn’t your talent.

On the external market there has never been more talent on the market in the whole of my  professional life.  You only have to read around the blogs to hear of good, high quality professionals who have been made redundant and are looking for work.  The talent is out there but are we brave enough to embrace them and bring them into the fold?  We need to dump our prejudices about the unemployed, about age, about background.  We need to shake off the shackles of conservative restraint and start to take a few risks.  The organisations that get these guys onboard now are the ones that will fly in the future.

The talent is there, it is all around you.  The only war for talent is the one going on inside your head.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Noel O'Reilly permalink
    01/14/2010 15:19

    This rings true but it would be difficult to substantiate it. Isn’t the point that organisations work in a somewhat different way in reality to how they are depicted in management literature with its utopian musings, theoretical models and metrics and so on. If the talent management mafia isn’t going to tell it like it is, who is? Not academics – they know who is paying the fees for their MBA courses and they write the management books in the first place. Likewise occupational psychologists – who ought to be exploring the Jungian dark side and politics of management – find it more lucrative to develop ‘high potential’ programmes for blue chips. And the media, the HR press, the nationals? Well they wouldn’t want to upset the talent management types who advertise on their pages and websites, would they?

  2. 01/14/2010 22:01

    I worked for a company that wanted to make the person fit the slot rather than find the right slot for the person. They had a thick book with all kinds of competencies and we were supposed to identify our competencies so they could program them into the system, along with our SAP numbers, which, as of the time I was laid off, were not being tattooed onto our wrists. In our performance reviews, we were supposed to do the usual self flagellation and go to re-education camp to improve our competencies.

    I hated that stupid system.

    PS This is CF’s double secret blog address.

  3. 01/15/2010 15:08

    @Noel – Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment. You are of course right that there is a massive gape between theory and reality. But also a collective unwillingness to call it as it is I think. Agree?

    @The Gold Digger – I mean how many blogs does one lass need? Competency frameworks are the devil’s spawn. Yeuch.


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