I'm a big fan of Cisco and their CEO John Chambers. In a recent Newsweek interview, he focused on "Knowing What You Don't Know" and impact on the future of leadership. His perspective, always refreshing to me, gets to heart of issue facing strategic Human Capital Management (HCM)...looking into the future at what is coming and its impact on HCM leaders to enable business and mission success.
We recently hosted an Enterprise Symposium at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) focused on looking at areas of collaboration across the Defense Intelligence Enterprise. A very good friend and I were co-leads for a session titled "Developing the Workforce of the Future" where we sought to frame the 2020 workplace, challenges faced executing the mission in 2020 and attributes of both leaders and intelligence professionals needed in 2020. The session provided a great opportunity to engage participants and provide an update to the DIA Workforce of the Future white paper from 2003.
We were honored to have Karie Willyerd (Former Sun Microsystems CLO and now Future Workplace) share with the audience insights from her and Jeanne Meister's new book "The 2020 Workplace". While there were many key points and new knowledge taken away...several things stood out for me.
1. By 2020, the Generational mix at the workplace will be drastically different per the attached slide. The implications to leaders and leadership development are significant.
2. The understanding that to become an expert requires 10 years of dedication. However, knowledge is doubling every two years and in some areas every one year. Impact to you and I you ask? We can't possibly keep up with that much data. Hence our reliance on social networks will continue to grow and expand.
This gets to topic of this DNA of Human Capital blog today...The old phrase "You don't know what you don't know" is really not applicable to HCM leaders and the tsunami of the 2020 workplace, five generations in the workforce and the continued expansion of knowledge that will make expertise not nearly as important as your social network to get work done.
The task at hand for HCM leaders is to prepare their organizations for what the future is bringing. In today's challenging environment, it is difficult sometimes to look into the following week or quarter, much less at 2020. Yet, like the certainty of the tides...this new environment and workforce will inevitably come ashore like oil in the Gulf of Mexico. We will have to collectively look at this new future and determine how we position our human capital capabilities to ensure success in this environment.
For our own credibility, we will not be able to say we didn't know what we didn't know...because in this case...we did.
My Department of Defense experience has provided me depth and breadth in a number of areas over the past 25 years. One of those is the concept of Information Dominance and application to our work as Human Capital Management (HCM) Leaders. The formal definition for Information Dominance is captured in this issue paper and is located below:
"Information Dominance" - the degree of information superiority that allows the possessor to use information systems and capabilities to achieve an operational advantage in a conflict or to control the situation in operations other than war while denying those capabilities to the adversary. (Current - FM 100-6, Information Operations)
When we think to what we are trying to achieve for our organizations...strategy execution, competitive advantage, long-term growth, etc...this is applicable to our activities in HCM. What a similar definition of Human Capital Dominance would look like is below:
Human Capital Dominance - the degree of HCM and workforce analytics superiority that allows the organization leadership to use human capital capabilities to achieve an strategic or operational advantage in a competitive market or industry sector while denying those human capital capabilities to the competition.
As HCM Leaders...this is what our goal should be. Providing our companies Human Capital Dominance and Superiority. A number of challenges impact our ability to achieve this ultimate goal in positioning our organizations for future success. We discussed one last week in the defining of knowledge, skills and capability requirements to execute business strategy. Others from the study included the following:
1. Determining headcount and FTE capacity requirements by job assignments and location. 2. Sourcing and recruiting individuals. 3. Developing training strategies. 4. Retaining valued talent within the organization. 5. Evaluating workforce performance. 6. Determining strategies for reduction in force, redeployment and retraining. 7. Understand collaboration and knowledge sharing. 8. Developing succession plans and career paths.
Recent articles and studies indicate challenges are on the horizon that will impact Human Capital Dominance at our organizations.
A recent i4cp survey of senior executives indicates "Nearly 50% of business executives say that the pace of change is becoming hard or impossible to predict...and it appears many companies will suffer as change inevitably happens: almost 20 percent characterize themselves as poor or very poor at handling such initiatives."
This has a direct impact on at least three of the human capital challenges addressed above. Particularly collaboration and knowledge sharing. The most agile and adaptable organizations now and in the future know that one person like the CEO must depend of a collaborative network of leaders to embrace and execute in the complex world we exist in now. This then impacts retention of valued talent and succession planning to provide organizational leadership the right human capital capabilities to succeed.
A recent survey by Execunet also identifies items for consideration. In its annual 2010 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report identified the following trends among senior executives.
• 45% of corporate leaders considered or prepared to voluntarily leave their organizations in 2009 • 80% of HR executives are concerned about retaining executive talent in the coming year • 46% of CEOs claim their résumés are ready to send to a recruiter right now
What these informative surveys tell us is that Human Capital Dominance, while the goal, is a challenge to achieve. Those organizations that can negate their importance vs. effectiveness gaps at executing these key human capital challenges and can establish strong workforce analytics capabilities (human capital information superiority) will have a greater opportunity to achieve Human Capital Dominance. These organizations will enjoy greater alignment of HC to strategy, greater agility and adaptability in executing strategy, and a greater competitive advantage...no matter what market or sector the organization decides to engage.
A storm is brewing...as the economy improves, HCM Leaders will get opportunities to really show what our profession's contribution is to the organizations we serve. Doing our best to provide Human Capital Dominance will speak volumes!
For a long time our profession seems to have had an identity crisis. We wanted to be strategic business partners but we couldn't get there. IBM's 2009 report titled "Getting Smart About Your Workforce: Why Analytics Matter," showed key strategic human capital (HC) challenges that Human Capital Management (HCM) leaders face and their perception of importance vs. effectiveness in overcoming them to impact business results. One of those areas with a significant gap in importance vs. effectiveness (48% in last weeks graphic) was the definition of "knowledge, skills and capability requirements to execute business strategy."
In my honest opinion, the HCM leader's capability to act on this particular human capital challenge is more important than other importance-effectiveness gaps the report identified. Why? Because as HCM leaders...if we can't define organizational capability requirements (That is really what our customers want...not HR speak like knowledge, skills and competencies...we can do that internally) to execute the business strategy...we are in essence lost. No "seat at the table" is forthcoming. So we have to execute on this one human capital challenge gap with the agility and adaptability the organization requires to function in the global complexity. And we have to do it...flawlessly.
At the Defense Intelligence Agency, we faced a similar challenge as DIA merged with ten worldwide Combatant Command Directorates of Intelligence. Treating the merger as a major change management project as Combatant Command civilian employees were integrated within DIA, the DIA learning team decided that for a successful merger, we needed a simple approach. The approach was to define the individual Combatant Command capabilities that would allow the team to look at common, core, and critical capability requirements across the Combatant Commands.
Pioneered by Dr. Reza Sisakhti of Productivity Dynamics and used by successful companies like IBM, Cisco, and HP, we were able to focus on three mission critical job roles at the Combatant Commands to drive our efforts...Intelligence Analysts, Collection Managers and Intelligence Planners.
The process involved two simple steps...
1. Engage strategic leaders and determine each Combatant Command's mission, strategy, strategic initiatives in place or planned, and the challenges faced in executing the strategy. 2. Identify top performers in the organization. These top performers are top performers because they are able to overcome challenges and achieve results. What behaviors make them successful at executing the strategy and overcoming challenges?
With this data, the team was able to start alignment of available learning at DIA and at the Combatant Commands in direct support of mission strategy execution. From a change management perspective, ten Combatant Commands with different functional and geographic responsibilities were able to see the knowledge and skills necessary to execute their mission strategies for the three identified roles were the same. The only difference was the application of these human capital capabilities in their respective environments.
The decision to take this simple, but proven approach in a massive change effort was risky. But the payoff was a group of global learning professionals at the Combatant Commands and DIA that are considered the vanguards of enterprise integration by senior leaders within the Defense Intelligence Enterprise. It has ushered in a new level of collaboration and innovation that led to the team's recognition in 2009 by Chief Learning Officer Magazine with a Learning-in-Practice Gold award in Division I for Global Learning.
So the message this week HCM leaders...focus on defining knowledge, skills and capability requirements to execute business strategy and take a risk...it could lead to a huge payoff for your organization and HCM.