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Thank you to all my many followers for your support and comments on Blogspot.

I am happy to announce that I have moved the DNA of Human Capital to a new location because of the launch of my HR M&A consulting business services at Potentio.us.

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Cookie-Cutter Leadership Development...The Big F...

Recently Deloitte published its Human Capital Trends 2013 report. In the report there are a number of interesting pieces, which I highly recommend you look at, but I was driven to one in particular titled "Leadership.Next: Debunking the superhero myth."

This informative piece discusses what has historically been the focus of leadership development programs...building the same kind of super leaders that organizations think they need based on some kind of leadership competency model that has been identified as the answer to the organization's current problems or future growth. This approach continues to come under attack from a multitude of directions because of the nature of the business environment today.

I originally discussed it in a blog piece last year based on a report from the Center for Creative Leadership titled "Leadership Paradigm Shift Approaching...Rise of Collective Development" where I discussed the context of the report and implications to leadership development (Which has gone largely unchanged since World War I...Yes...World War I). This blog was based on the concept of the VUCA environment...a new normal of constant volatility, uncertainty, ...

Creating the Agile Organization...

Two recent articles piqued my curiosity this past week. One was UNC Keenan-Flagler's ideas@work webizine Volume 5 and one article in particular titled "Developing Leaders in a VUCA Environment." The second was a research report from Saba titled "Carpe Diem: Seizing the Opportunity to Build an Agile Organization."

The UNC Keenan-Flagler piece discussed research from the Center for Creative Leadership indicating that today's Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) business environment requires leaders possess more complex and adaptive thinking skills to work effectively within this environment. It also indicated that for the most part leadership development areas like on-the-job training, mentoring and coaching haven't changed much over the years and therefore leaders are not developing quickly enough. I have written previously about today's leadership development tactics and how they haven't really changed as the business environment as changed. For me...this is critical in organizations. Their ability to be learning agile and adapt quickly will be the hallmark in the very near future of companies that successfully grow and those that become have nots in ...

Business Case for Investment in Talent Development

If you are in learning & talent development, you may still be dealing with reduced budgets and a perspective in your organization that "just-in-time" hiring will be the answer to what needs to happen to support the business strategy. However, there is a body of academic research that would call that approach into question...So lets look at how you can leverage this research to build your business case for a fresh look at creating a balanced investment portfolio in talent acquisition & talent development.

So first thing you need to do is read Dr. Peter Cappelli's Harvard Business Review blog titled "Bring Back the Organizational Man." In this piece, Dr. Cappelli starts to build your argument for you that "just-in-time" hiring is not going to work in the future. Specifically he states the following:

"There certainly are complaints here as well about the difficulty finding the right candidates, but the narrative is quite different. Here the story is about getting a "just-in-time" workforce, finding the precise workers we need just at the time we need them but letting them go when our needs change and then replacing them with new ones. It's a "plug 'n play" approach to the ...

Same Old Song and Dance...


I continue to be amazed at some of the conversations that learning & talent professionals have about outcomes related to the solutions they put in place. It apparently was a topic of interest again at the Spring CLO Symposium held by CLO Magazine based upon this blog post from David Vance. Vance, the former award-winning CLO at Caterpillar was discussing engagement with stakeholders and senior organizational leaders on the intended outcomes of learning & talent solutions in his blog "The Outcome Discussion with Senior Leaders." This quote is really what struck me...

"Two weeks ago we talked about the importance of discussing outcomes with senior leaders and stakeholders before a learning initiative is undertaken. The topic resonated with many of you. The outcome discussion really needs to occur on two levels. Unfortunately, many learning professionals are not having this discussion at either level."

I have been doing this for a while and I have read about these kinds of thoughts and sat in many discussions at conferences with my peers discussing these things. These were the same discussions like getting a "seat at the table" that so many have opined for ...

Maximizing Returns on Leadership...Competencies That Drive Growth


Many of us are looking for the magic answer to propelling our organization's business strategy. While we all recognize the importance of leadership and talent to that endeavor, we sometimes struggle to identify what we need to do to execute business strategy.

Research by the Corporate Leadership Council titled "Improving Returns on Leadership Investments" identified three places to focus on improving returns. This included:

1. Disconnected Strategy: Leadership Strategy is Not Integrated with Business Strategy
2. Misaligned Outcomes: Leadership Outcomes and Metrics Are Not Connected with Business Outcomes
3. Uncoordinated HR Activities: Leadership Activities are Not Integrated with Other HR Activities

At a high level...these are excellent approaches to improving returns on investment in leadership development activities. I have leveraged these approaches and still believe in their benefits in my new organization. These also align well with the Center for Creative Leadership's think piece on "Developing a Leadership Strategy."

Yet...while these high level pieces help align our thoughts...we have been missing something. What depth and breadth of ...

Leadership Paradigm Shift Approaching...Rise of Collective Development

In last week's blog post...Leadership Development...What is New is Really Old...I discussed where much of leadership development best practices we are familiar with today really started between World War I and II. While in many respects these leadership development practices are are still highly relevant...we may need to shift the paradigm on what kind of leadership capability we are developing in our organizations and why we need it.

Much of my perspective is driven by the nature of the environment we all find ourselves operating in every day. I have written about it often...the VUCA environment is the new normal. VUCA, coined by the U.S. Army in 2004 as it looked at what junior officers were dealing with on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and how it might shift leadership development to account for this, is defined as the following:

Volatile: change happens rapidly and on a large scale
Uncertain: the future cannot be predicted with any precision
Complex: challenges are complicated by many factors and there are few single causes or solutions
Ambiguous: there is little clarity on what events mean and what effect they may have

That new normal places immense ...

Leadership Development - What's New is Really Old...

Leadership development is important...in fact...vital to our organizations ability to be successful. For those reasons we spend a lot of resources in money (Upwards of $10B annually), people and time in developing the current and future generations of leaders to fuel business strategies. If you have been involved in leadership development either as the leader and/or provider you have had the occasion to participate in what are considered some of the cutting edge leadership development techniques available to organizations to include:

Job Rotations
High Potential Programs
Management Training Programs
Management and Functional Leadership Tracks
Peer Assessments
Executive Candidate Assessment
Action Learning
Execution Education Programs
Running Line Organization

There's only one problem...these aren't cutting edge. Sure maybe they are for you and your organization, but truth be told, all of these leadership development techniques have been around since the start of World War I.

In a piece from Wharton School Professor Peter Cappelli titled "What's Old is New Again: Managerial Talent in a Historical Context," Cappelli looked at the ...

Global CEO Studies...A Broken Record


At the Davos World Economic Forum, PricewaterhouseCoopers unveiled the findings from their 2012 Global CEO Study.

I really like to look through these kinds of studies to get a sense of what CEOs and other C-Suite leaders are thinking. I am always particularly interested in what they see as talent and leadership challenges or priorities they want to address.

The PwC study is no different in that respect.

When asked "Have talent constraints impacted your company’s growth and profitability over the past 12 months in the following ways?" 1,258 CEOs responded with the following:

43% - Our talent-related expenses rose more than expected
31% - We weren’t able to innovate effectively
29% - We were unable to pursue a market opportunity
24% - We cancelled or delayed a key strategic initiative
24% - We couldn’t achieve growth forecasts in overseas markets
24% - We couldn’t achieve growth forecasts in the country where we are based
21% - Our production and/or service delivery quality standards fell

CEOs planned to attack these challenges primarily by three areas...

- We plan to move experienced employees from our home market to newer markets to circumvent skills shortages
- We plan to ...

So You Want 2012 Predictions...Ain't Happening!


Well...here we are. The start of a new fresh and what we all hope is a fantastic year...I know I do. This is typically the time of year where people in a variety of professions...including our own...provide their predictions for the year. We look into our crystal balls, shuffle the Tarot card deck and throw some chicken bones around. We will discuss what the next fad will be, the next new technology or best practice that will shake the foundations of leadership development, talent management, learning or people.

Sorry to disappoint...Ain't going to happen...

We do these things to try and provide some amount of certainty in an increasingly uncertain world. We are heading into 2012 with the same levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) that we started ended 2011 with...

When people are involved...what you can do is prepare yourself for it.

The futurist Alvin Toffler once said the following:

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read & write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

Our ability to learn makes us more agile and adaptable and ready to enter 2012 and excel even in VUCA ...