Sunday, January 29, 2012

People Challenges the Same...Whether Public or Private Sector


I have perspective these days. Not that I didn't have perspective before, but has greatly enhanced itself with time.

As I have engaged with counterparts in our profession of human resources, talent, and learning & development, a common perspective has been created for me. That perspective is this...

The people challenges that organizations face, whether public or private, are the same...the only differences are the context/environment and what levers you have available to mitigate them.

That may seem over simplified, but think about your organization right now. You are probably dealing with new employee integration and retention challenges, strategic people capability needs challenges and talent identification and development challenges. What is different for each of us is the context/environment (risk adverse financial organization or an innovative technology organization) and the levers available to mitigate the challenges (infrastructure, processes, compensation, performance management, etc.).

Why should this matter? A person once shared with me that when they hired people within the profession...they hired for the relationship building/management skill set. They felt they could teach them about the business and they probably had professional experiences in talent, HR, or learning & development...but they needed people that could build and manage relationships with customers.

As our organizations time horizons become less strategic and more dynamic...people that are agile and adaptable in our profession will become more important. It will not be as important (Or shouldn't be anyway) to have industry experience, but the ability to integrate and leverage different solutions for the context/environment we find ourselves and make our organizations successful.


J. Keith Dunbar is a Global Talent Management Leader...Creator of Talent, Leadership Capability, and Culture Change...He can be found connecting and sharing knowledge on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Twitter: JKeithDunbar
LinkedIn: J. Keith Dunbar
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Blog: DNA of Human Capital

The opinions or views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent the views of the SAIC.


  1. Hi Keith,

    Great post, thanks.

    What about structural issues like unions and government jobs where you can't fire people (only RIF them)? I'd imagine that's a big limitation because it can really limit the "levers" at the disposal of the HR manager.

  2. Hi Alex...

    Thanks for your comments...

    I think that is part of the context issues for a particular organization. Understanding that with the people challenges then allows you to look at tools/levers you have available to push/pull...RIF as an example.


  3. Nice perspective Keith. Recently, I heard a commencement speech in which the presenter said IQ was the determining difference 50 years ago, one's Emotional Quotient made the difference 20 years ago, and in today's organization it's an employee's Change Quotient (CQ) that makes the difference. CQ speaks directly to "agile and adaptable" as well as the "ability to integrate and leverage different solutions for the context/environment we find ourselves".

    I've come to realize that organizations sometimes change too quickly, changing change before the change has had a chance to change anything. Any thoughts on strategies for regulating change?