Learn how to connect talent and organization attributes to pivotal strategy objectives. Dr. Boudreau discusses an easy shorthand for diagnosing their workforce strategic attributes.
- What if I asked your leaders, where should you improve employee capability? Often they say, "I need the most capable workers "in every position." Such generic goals lead to generic investments, such as increase worker competencies or create a high-performance culture. But, is every increase in competencies or culture improvement equally pivotal? How do you build the ones that are most pivotal? A Disney theme park's pivotal strategic goal is creating magical guest experiences.
A pivotal talent pool are the park sweepers, not for their cleaning, but for their guest interactions. Sweepers create magic when they stop sweeping and help guests navigate the park, or even when they entertain by using a mop to draw the face of Mickey Mouse on a sidewalk. If you know that this is the pivotal thing that sweepers do, you can better focus on the characteristics of the sweepers that are pivotal to those particular actions. There are four questions that can help you in identifying key categories of talent characteristics.
First is culture. What are the guiding principles, such as values, beliefs, norms and unwritten rules? Second, capability. Can the worker do what's pivotal? Or the characteristics that enable pivotal actions. Third, opportunity. Does the worker get the chance to do it? Or the situations that allow pivotal actions. And fourth, motivation. Does the worker want to do it? Or the desire to take pivotal actions.
How do these four questions apply to Disney park sweepers who help guests? Disney culture says customers are guests and everyone is an entertainer. For capability, Disney sweepers must have service skills and know key information about the park such as where the shady spots are. For opportunity, Disney sweepers must be located where guests congregate, and they must be given discretion to stop sweeping and help guests.
For motivation, Disney sweepers must have a desire to be helpful, and a passion for creating delightful encounters. Imagine I had asked you to tell me the pivotal characteristics in Disney sweepers. You would probably make a long list of things like knowledge about cleaning, attention to detail, and motivation to clean thoroughly. It turns out that these may be important, but improving them will not pay off as strongly as building the characteristics we just described.
Focusing on what's pivotal helps you build the precise worker capabilities that have the greatest impact. Choose a job in your organization. Identify what is the most pivotal thing that workers in that job do. Now, describe the specific culture, capability, opportunity and motivation elements that would most improve that pivotal performance.
- Asking the right questions
- Focusing on what is pivotal
- Defining sustainable strategic success
- Finding bottlenecks
- Pivotal talent attributes and HR deliverables
- Strategic HR investments
- HR measurements and analytics