The job of sweeper includes cleaning, but what's pivotal is often helping guests. Learn how the implications of bottlenecks reveal talent pivot points.
- What if I asked your leaders to name the most strategic talent in your organization? Most leaders would answer the question using very simple associations. If they're trying to increase sales, they would say the strategic talent must be the salesforce. If they're trying to increase product innovation, they would say the strategic talent must be the product developers. Salespeople and product developers are certainly important, but is it always true that improving their performance has the most impact? Usually the true strategic roles are not so obvious.
What if you made strategic talent investments with the same rigor as you invest money? How do you and your leaders decide where to invest money in the business? Do you automatically invest more money in the largest division or the one with the most sales? No, you consider the return on investment. A small division with a fast-growing product should get a larger investment than a big established division if the return is higher.
When you invest money you ask this question. Where would increasing our investment have the largest impact on our organizational goals? That way you focus on what's pivotal. What if you analyzed strategic talent like that? Let's use the example of a Disney theme park. The vital organizational goal at Disney is to create a magical experience for guests. Let's invest in talent like we'd invest money.
Start with the question of what's pivotal. What has the largest impact on the park guest experience? The hassle of waiting in line detracts from all of the other park experiences. Improving waiting in line by reducing lines or making waiting more magical would have the largest pivotal impact on guest experience. Now, what jobs are pivotal to improving waiting in line? It's the jobs that reduce lines or make waiting more fun.
The obvious answer might seem to be the Disney characters, but if you analyze what's pivotal you get a different answer. So who is it? In one year I heard the same story from five different friends after they visited Disneyland. They said, "I can't believe the amazing "and unique park sweeper we met. "We were waiting for the Disney parade "in the middle of the day. "It was a hot day, and our young child "was sitting on the curb "near the hot asphalt of Main Street. "Our child was throwing a tantrum, embarrassing us, "and disturbing everyone around us.
"A park sweeper came along, "cleaning the street before the parade. "The sweeper stopped, noticed our screaming child, "and said, 'Your child seems a little uncomfortable. "'Please follow me and I can help.' "The sweeper led our family to a shady spot "and made our child laugh. "We got to watch the parade more comfortably, "and those other park guests "got relief from our screaming child." Each of my friends said this was a one-in-a-million experience, and the experience they would most remember and talk about.
Was this a random and unique experience? No, Disney knows that waiting in line is pivotal, so they invest to make sweepers capable, motivated, and available to create just such experiences. Who are the sweepers in your organization? The trick is not to jump to the most obvious jobs like the Disney characters. Like sweepers, the pivotal jobs are often less obvious, but investing in them creates a bigger return.
- 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