lunes, 17 de septiembre de 2007

Colin Powell on Recruiting

Just stumpled over some comments from Colin Powell on Recruiting. When I first listened to him at WCIT 2006, I decided that this man is worth to really listen, too. You should have seen him speaking to an international public, full of chinese, muslim, french and everybody else who wouldn't be imagined to be a fan of a former general and member of the Bush administration... you should have seen the enduring standing ovations after his 1 hour speech... However, this is some important words for everyone who has to hire:

"Powell's Rules for Picking People:”
Look for intelligence and judgment, and most critically,
a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also
look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced
ego, and the drive to get things done.

How often do our recruitment and hiring processes tap into these attributes? More often than not, we ignore them in favor of length of resume, degrees and prior titles. A string of job descriptions a recruit held yesterday seem to be more important than who one is today, what they can contribute tomorrow, or how well their values mesh with those of the organization. You can train a bright, willing novice in the fundamentals of your business fairly readily, but it's a lot harder to train someone to have integrity, judgment, energy, balance, and the drive to get things done. Good leaders stack the deck in their favor right in the recruitment phase.

Right now, I just wonder - and how do I figure this out. Perhaps you guys can help me... What questions to ask? How do you test judgment or integrity? Especially the balanced ego...this is do you know after perhaps a few interviews?

sábado, 15 de septiembre de 2007

3 Steps to Change Management

I know there is more to do about change management, but for today I want to keep it simple and easy to start off. Why Change Management? Any project you are managing, forget about it if you don't drive through a clear and well organized strategy for change management. So what's change management?
This definition is pretty complete: "Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level. A somewhat ambiguous term, change management has at least three different aspects, including: adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change. A proactive approach to dealing with change is at the core of all three aspects. For an organization, change management means defining and implementing procedures and/or technologies to deal with changes in the business environment and to profit from changing opportunities."
Ok, proactive and systematic approach! That's the key! Therefore, I propose the following 3 steps:
1. Create feeling of urgency
2. Include, include, include
3. Communicate steadily

1. Create feeling of urgency
If you want to implement or change something, people want to understand why. You must have a real purpose and objective, otherwise it would be a waste of time. Find the true reason for the project, define the external pressure and the internal needs to do something different. Human kind is reluctant to change and without real pressure, nobody is going to change anything about himself or the way he does something. Look for what the competitor is doing, find the problems people have and communicate your project as a solution to this. And that's why:

2. Include, include, include
To learn what you need to change and where you want to go, you must include all the people affected or involved into your project. Include them from the first day, let them know about your thinking. But first of all, try to understand what their needs are and what they would want to be changed. Make them part of the solution, listen actively and use the recommendations people make. Thank for the work and have them participate in as many steps as possible. Basically, make them owners of the solution. And therefore:

3. Communicate steadily
Have a plan. Send regularly e-mails to all stakeholders explaining the project advance. Schedule meetings with areas and explain status as well as next steps to the implementation of something new. If we are talking about huge organizations or huge changes with many people involved, Coffee Breaks are a great tool. Group them up shortly after lunch, give a 5-10 minute presentation about the project and listen actively to all doubts and comments. Respond to questions openly and just be there. You cannot close yourself into a project office and wait for the change to happen, you have to be out there where the change will happen! Use each and every opportunity to remind people of the need to make this project successful, get their feedback and involve them actively in the solution finding and implementation process.

In future posts more about building a key team, other communication tools and the fun of managing such a project. Are you involved in a change process? Where you affected by change? What did you learn? What were the problems? Please comment and let us know about it.
And don't forget to follow the interesting links proposed on the right side...there might be something more about change management...

martes, 4 de septiembre de 2007

Shared Services - Let's talk about it

Some news in my life: By today I am heading a project to implement Shared Services in our oldstyle, but very sustainable succesful organisation. Do people know what's awaiting them? I don't think so. Should people be afraid? I don't think so.
What's shared services? For me, it's the scoping and reengineering of former internal staff departments...something that had be part of the company but was never received as the extra value. Outsourcing and Shared Services has clearly shown that you can achieve huge benefits for employees as well as for shareholders of an organisation. All comes back to "Execution". How do I as a company excecute not only on sales and operations side, but within in my back, middle and front office. How do I motivate the stakeholders who don't have a direct touch on the product or the customer. How do they see themselves and set objectives to perform to their best possibilities.
We will go a widely proven and many times implemented road. In no case, we should forget about people's feelings, needs and motivators when taking decisions. The clear communication will be key as well as the focus on building a better workplace for everybody. This will allow the shareholders to see the returns on their investments they expect. As a more than 100 year old corporation we have some very special situations; situations which must be handled by smart and forward looking managers. I am looking forward to work with a team of some of the best people we have to really implement something sustainable for the corporation.
Do you have experiences with Shared Services? Have you been "outsourced"? What are and were the learning you had on your road to success in Shared Services? I would like to read some comments on failures and successes you have experienced...

Keep you posted!