Sunday, October 24, 2010

Are CEOs and CHROs Aligned on Leadership?


So an interesting question that I pose. On the outside it seems a no brainer. CEOs have a business strategy and they know that the need leaders to enable the strategy in the organization. CHROs know that they need to deliver leaders through recruiting and development that can execute the business strategy. Yet here we are in 2010 and we find the appearance of let's review the bidding.

In 2008, IBM's CEO Study titled "Enterprise of the Future" laid out five key areas for consideration that organizations needed to be successful. These areas included Hungry for Change, Innovative Beyond Customer Imagination, Globally Integrated, Disruptive by Nature, and Genuine, Not Just Generous. There was a realization in this study that organizations needed a new breed of leaders. This was made explicit in the 2010 study. In May, IBM's Global CEO Study was released titled "Capitalizing on Complexity." In the study, CEOs identified "creative leadership" as a core need of their organizations in the future. This quote from the study shares some of the implicit thinking behind creative leadership...

"Creativity is often defined as the ability to bring into existence something new or different, but CEOs elaborated. Creativity is the basis for “disruptive innovation and continuous re-invention,” a Professional Services CEO in the United States told us. And this requires bold, breakthrough thinking. Leaders, they said, must be ready to upset the status quo even if it is successful. They must be comfortable with and committed to ongoing experimentation."

Then in October 2010 comes IBM's Global Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) study titled "Working Beyond Borders." In it, CHROs continued to indicate the importance of developing leaders in the organization as captured in this piece from the study...

"Building an organization with flexibility and dexterity requires leadership with the creativity to adapt to a constantly changing environment. These leaders must be able to negotiate through a maze of differing cultures, complex inter-generational dynamics and varied communication styles...Creative leaders share a set of common characteristics that help them innovatively lead their organizations. They challenge every element of the business model to realize untapped opportunities and improve operational efficiency. Leaders grow their businesses through the exploration, selection and execution of diverse, even unconventional, ideas about the potential of new markets. They leverage new communication styles to motivate talent and reinvent relationships, both internally and across the supply chain, to create collaborative productivity. They focus on the bigger picture — the global marketplace — and how to lithely optimize the collective skills of their organizations."

So there appears to be alignment in the need for creative leaders or at least that CHROs read the CEO study. But then 2 of every 3 CHROs admit their organizations are ineffective at developing future leaders (See the attached graphic from the IBM Global CHRO Study). That is surprising (IBM thought so as well)...

So taking a different perspective based upon the CHRO study is important, because admitting that we are ineffective at leadership development has ramifications. First we are saying that the estimated $9.5B per year we are spending on leadership development is being wasted. Second we are saying that what is most important to CEOs we are not good at doing for them. Are these the messages we want to communicate to our bosses and organizations? Kind of doubt it, but that is how it came out...

Are CHROs and their teams ineffective at building leaders? Probably not...In an earlier post here titled "Leadership and Organizational Performance...Lack of Linkage" I raised the aspect that academic research had problems, for a variety of reasons, in linking leadership to organizational performance and by default leadership development programs have the same challenge.

So how do we adjust and meet expectations? For starters, as Human Capital Management (HCM) leaders we have to get serious about defining leadership capabilities needed to execute the business strategy and workforce analytics needed to measure whether we are being successful. In fact, the effort put towards measuring the impact leadership development should equal the effort we put into leadership development itself. Without the key metrics, we are unable to determine impact or make adjustments in leadership development programs...this is critical to changing the perspective we have set for the organizations we serve.

Nuff said...


Twitter: JKeithDunbar
DNA of Human Capital:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm Looking for Great Leadership...Not Just Effective Leadership...


The role of leadership in organizations is recognized as a critical need for their evolution. This has become even more important in a world so complex and volatile as the one we operate in now. CEOs taking part in IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study titled “Capitalizing on Complexity” admitted the following:

“In our past three global CEO studies, CEOs consistently said that coping with change was their most pressing challenge. In 2010, our conversations identified a new primary challenge: complexity. CEOs told us they operate in a world that is substantially more volatile, uncertain and complex. Many shared the view that incremental changes are no longer sufficient in a world that is operating in fundamentally different ways…Today’s complexity is only expected to rise, and more than half of CEOs doubt their ability to manage it. Seventy-nine percent of CEOs anticipate even greater complexity ahead.”

Yet, our current leadership model is hurting our ability to deal in a world loaded with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity…a VUCA world. I recently read a blog post by Ted Coine on his 21st-Century Business blog. In his blog titled “Management is War? Make That Was.” Ted discussed the role of World War II in creating our current organizational structures in the private and public sectors. Watch HBO shows like “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” and you will see it…command-and-control leadership. People with experience and capability are put in positions of authority to get goals accomplished. Whether storming beaches or taking a town one house and street at a time…the great thing about command-and-control leadership in World War II is it got results. Missions were achieved and the war won…But according to Ted it has created challenges and an overall inability to leverage the talent in our organizations as noted in his comments below….

“Here's the thing, though: top-down leadership creates vast waste of human talent. It motivates us to do what the big boss orders, but it also turns off our inner drive to exceed when no one's watching, or monitoring, or counting one acute measurement of our output.

Order your people around, and they'll do the bare minimum to keep their jobs. Measure their performance by the numbers, and they'll give you those numbers - and very little more. Think for them, and they'll stop thinking for themselves - they'll stop thinking for you, for your company.”

The importance of leadership has never been more important in our country than it is now. Yet, we find ourselves wanting for great leadership. This was recently brought home for me when the Partnership for Public Service announced its 2010 Best Places to Work rankings for the Federal government.

While many factors are considered in the overall index ranking for organizations...the key factor shaping how employees see their workplace, for the fifth time in a row, was effective leadership. Much of what you would expect is rolled into determining the grades for this category. The survey asked about the ability of senior leaders and supervisors to generate motivation, commitment, opportunities for employees to lead and developmental opportunities. Scores for the largest Federal departments and agencies varied from 73.5 at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (Who was recognized as the #1 place to work in Federal government) to 46.5 at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But there is something deeper as Ted Coine sees from his perspective of the private sector that is even more prevalent in the public sector.

When you look at scores for large Federal organizations in "Effective Leadership"...It's kind of sad...for the top 28 organizations with scores it averaged out to the following overall grades for "Effective Leadership" in the Federal government since 2007:

2010 - 55
2009 - 53.2
2007 - 51.7

While there has been improvement in the average scores since 2007, even if you grade on a significant curve...a 55 is a failing score (Let’s be honest…the 73.5 that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission scored is just average). These kinds of scores speak to what can only be seen as a leadership gap not because people are leaving positions, but because they are in them!

So why don't we have more of it in the Federal government? Could be any number of reasons. My experience and perspective tell me top-down driven, bureaucratic organizations where the working environment is about rules, standards, process and tasks driving organizational activities, senior leaders and supervisors are more like a boss than a leader. I discussed this in a previous blog post on my DNA of Human Capital blog titled "Is Your Boss Your Leader?" There is a big difference between the two and what benefits they bring to an organization. Leaders inspire people engagement and drive innovation and results by leveraging talent in the public sector and not wasting it. In the future, Federal government organizations will need great leadership and not just effective leadership to create and fuel the kind of results that efficiently manage resources and effectively achieve results that drive the United States. The kind of great leadership that is transformational...The American citizen requires no less.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Flexible Human Capital Response Options...


The world is filled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) as I have discussed several times. This kind of environment makes agility and adaptability a premium in being able to deal with this environment and prevent what Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls "Black Swan Events." Taleb's theory "refers only to unexpected events of large magnitude and consequence and their dominant role in history. Such events, considered extreme outliers, collectively play vastly larger roles than regular occurrences."

The United States Intelligence Community (IC) and military understand the importance of trying to identify Black Swan events early and prepare plans that allow commanders Flexible Deterrent Options (FDO) in the deployment of available forces. These show of force operations usually involve the build-up or deployment of forces, an increase in readiness and level of activity. The concept of Adaptive Planning provides the following:

"The adaptive planning concept calls for development of a range of options during deliberate planning that can be adapted to a crisis as it develops. Where the crisis builds slowly enough to allow, appropriate responses made in a timely fashion can deter further escalation or even diffuse the situation to avoid or limit conflict. Where such options fail to deter or there is not time to execute options, a stronger response may be required to protect vital interests. The eventuality of attack without prior warning must also be considered."

So in understanding this approach and why it is used in the Department of Defense, I turn to Human Capital Management(HCM). The current economic environment has created challenges in looking at strategy as a "long-term" need. In some respects during the initial stages of the financial meltdown...strategy was emerging on a weekly basis in many organizations. In that context, it was difficult for HCM to be proactive and support the business and really precipitated reactive tendencies.

So this provides the context for application of adaptive planning in creating flexible human capital response options (FHCRO) in private and public sector organizations. HCM leaders must start by getting into the organizations strategic planning cycle. Playing a proactive role in this process by understanding the organizations short-, mid-, or long-term strategy allows for defining the human capital capabilities (knowledge and skills) required to execute the business strategy. This however, is just to create FHCROs, HCM leaders should conduct scenario planning sessions that seek to identify the most and least likely human capital situations aligned to the strategy. This allows thinking about potential Black Swan events and their effect on the organization's human capital.

By combining scenario planning and business requirements definition, the HCM leader can develop a series of tailored FHCROs that are agile and adaptable enough to adjust to quickly changing events. Because in the future...organizations that can adjust the fastest to VUCA environments will be the ones best positioned to excel.


Twitter: JKeithDunbar
DNA of Human Capital: