Monday, September 28, 2009

People and Puzzles

We re-organized today. We did it in a great way though. We started with noting the strategic gaps in our customers' experience, and strategic gaps in what makes internal success. Then we looked at our resources. We noted their skills, experience and strengths (as in Strengths Finder 2.0, the book).

We then re-positioned people in the places where they may fit. We think they'll have more energy because we paid attention to what's important to them. We think we'll be more successful because we've augmented some strong points and closed off some weaknesses.

The important thing about this story is not so much the re-organization. The important part of the story is building trust. It's important to maintain trust in the organization. Every decision needs to take into account how much trust will be built, maintained and not destroyed.

If we treat people as "assets", "resources" (a term I had to use above) and just pegs to fit into the organizational chart pegboard, then we're overlooking the power of what they can offer. Henry Ford only wanted his employees' hands. Today, we can't afford not to option their creativity, innovation, experiences, etc. We need everyone and all of each one.

When we interview candidates, the paradigm is that we're trying to figure what shape puzzle piece they are. Our organization at the moment has a missing piece of a certain shape. No person comes to us exactly filling that shape. However, each candidate will fill a shape. Our task during the hiring process is to figure out how much of the empty spot they fill, how much they don't fill and how much extra they bring to us. When we can figure out as much of that as possible, we build trust with the candidates and with the team those candidates will join.

There are a lot of tools to help with this. Vision One benchmarking process is one way. ZeroRiskHR has some tools as well as Profiles International. Don't use the tools if you're seriously "walking the walk" with regard to valuing your employees. The tools will be misused and trust will be lost.

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