4. People-oriented

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Introduction

Remember:

"...corporations are first and foremost social organisations, and the processes by which they do their business are social processes..."

Barbara Kellerman, 2002

Furthermore,

"...we could have the greatest strategies in the world. Without the right leaders developing and owning them, we'd get good-looking presentations and so-so results..."

Jack Welch as quoted by Jack Welch et al, 2001

"...lasting excellence in corporations seems to stem less from decisions about strategy than decisions about people......so what is the key thing you can do to prepare for......uncertainty" You can have the right people with you.......What we found in companies that make the good decisions is the debate is real.......Before making a decision, you would see significant debate..."

Work means more than money, as it fills such an important and central place in people's lives and determining our sense of self, ie confers status and defines success, so staff need to understand more than financial statements and/or the technical/operational aspects of their organisations. They need to be able to communicate, ie express their thoughts so that others understand their thinking, close the deal, build relationships, network, work as a team, collaborate, etc.. These are sometimes called the soft skills. There is increasing acknowledgment of the fundamental role of human resource and people issues (management and development) including leadership, empowerment, team work, cross-functional collaboration and people development issues.

Working life

Working life is being impacted by a complex array of forces such as "one size does not fit all". This has resulted in different perceptions and aspirations that include

"... - the global generation that expects to work anywhere in the world at any time;

- the mobile mercenaries - free agents who sell their skills to the highest bidder;

- the "career step" employees who wants opportunities, not continuity, and who advance their own career interests, not necessarily the success of their employers;

- the portfolio, self-determined careerists who exit the corporate world for a collection of paid endeavours that interest them;

- the "wisdom workers" who are no longer in full-time roles but keep their hand in short-term assignments and mentoring projects, drawing on the benefits of wide networks of contacts and skills..."

Australian Business Foundation, 2007

Younger staff are now more interested in increasing their employability, via widening and upgrading skills, than in loyalty to any particular organisation. This suggests that employees now want more than salary packages. Furthermore, there is evidence which indicates that alignment of personal and organisational ethics and values are very important in attracting and keeping staff.

As job security is no longer part of the employment deal, more and more staff (particular the younger workers) want to develop portable skills that they can take to the next job. Employees are identifying staff education as an important differentiator between employees, so training and development is becoming a part of employment packages. The most common topics for training and development are leadership, project management, negotiation skills, marketing, finance, strategy, staff coaching and E-commerce. In other words, they are looking to upgrade their personal portfolios as part of their current jobs in an organisation, ie

"...you pay, but we don't always stay..."

Helen Trinca, 2001

Large and/or well established organisations are no longer safe havens for employment as their business models are under threat from a more vibrant, innovative economy, ie social media, which needs a larger base of skills people who can commercialise ideas, develop new markets and ventures. More and more companies are shedding management layers and outsourcing more jobs including professional roles.
Also technological change is making it faster and cheaper to start a new venture.

Increasing emphasis on the concept of portfolio careers, ie

Younger people are being prepared to have a number of different jobs in their lifetimes and aree being groomed to be more flexible in their approach to their working lives. It is estimated that the average person starting work now in USA will have more than 6 different careers in their lifetime and in high demand-areas people are only staying for a couple of years. This compares with people in the 1960s who, on average, stayed with one employer for around 12 years, and when changing jobs too frequently was "frowned upon".

Furthermore, the ageing of the population (over the next four decades, the proportion of Australian population over 65 will double to be around 25%) and a greater desire for work-life balance are both increasing the pressure for more career changes. Sometimes a better way to understand the work-life balance isin the terms of acknowledged trade-offs, ie if you are going to spend more time with your family, other activities, such as work and/or leisure activities, etc, will suffer.

Work/life balance can be regarded as a misnomer as it can refer to many workplace issues including flexible work practices, such as job sharing, telecommuting, part-time options and programs for working parents, mature age workers and programs enabling corporate volunteerism, as well as the need to manage home and work responsibilities. There is a need for people to be able to move between work, family and retirement while organisational and work structures need to change to make this viable. Furthermore,

"...managing work and personal life is more than simply an issue of time (which is finite); it also involves energy, and mood, which are not constrained in a way time can be......managing work and other parts of life is about how people assess and decide priorities..."

Ellen Galinsky as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2004

Remember: measuring success at the workplace is different from evaluating success in non-work areas, ie success at work is about achievement while in non-work areas it is often about caring responsibilities

People who have worked out the most suitable work-life balance for themselves are able to prioritise their life and focus on the high priority areas, especially in work. As a result, they do not waste time on low priority areas

Furthermore, there is

"...an increasing demand for emotional sustenance, intellectual satisfaction, lifestyle accommodation and control over hours and styles of management..."

Deirde Macken, 2004

More organisations are tracking the emotional, physical and intellectual health of employees with the aim of getting the appropriate fit between staff and the organisation.

"...I want it all and I wanted it now

what older workers expect what young workers expect

professional development meaningful work

flexibility in work arrangements a series of challenging jobs

leave time during week constant feedback and rewards

extended leave periods to be included in decision-making

a sociable work environment more informal hierarchies..."

Deirde Macken, 2004

The workers of this latter generation are becoming more mobile, tough and loyal to no one but themselves

At the same time, there is increasing diversity and flexibility in the workforce of any one organisation, and organisations are continually beset with paradoxes. In addition to handling different skills and disciplines, there are differences in generational, racial, ethnic, cultural, gender and religious mindsets that need to be considered. An example of the strength of a religious mindset is despite the scientific evidence to demonstrate otherwise, in a New York Times election poll (November 2014), 55% of responders believe that God created human beings in their present form

An interesting example in the generational differences is a trend to "reverse mentoring" where junior staff mentor senior executives on such topics as the use of the Internet and their generational aspirations.

Since the global financial crisis (GFC) and its aftermath

- there has been an increasing trend in outsourcing. This has allowed organisations to concentrate on what they do best. As a result, more Australian workers are becoming contingents, eg contractors, consultants, temporary workers, interim executives and freelancers.

- activity-based working has increased. As office space is the second-biggest cost in most organisations, more are encouraging staff not to have a permanent desk. This is similar to the "hot desking" trialled around 10 years ago. Wireless technology has helped with staff being able to work anywhere in the building without having to plug in or re-route telephones and/or needing to book work space. This results in significant savings, eg the cost of setting up permanent workspaces. In addition to the cost savings, there are performance benefits. For example, it helps break down the "silos"; teams can come together quickly without problems of relocating computers, phones, cabinets, etc; it can accelerate decision-making and processes; it is environmentally friendly with less printing and reduced power consumption (not using PCs, etc)

In other words

"...work, in the future, will only be a verb. It is becoming a process, not a place..."

Philip Ross as quoted by Fiona Smith 2010k.

An extension of this paradigm shift is the evolution of clubs that are office-away-from-the-office or virtual office. These clubs are used by individuals who are on the move, start-up organisations that don't want to commit to long-term leases, and work teams the need a place away from headquarters

Type of organisation (knowledge based)

What is required in a peak-performance organisation is a corporate culture that releases and catalyses human energy to cultivate purpose, daring, innovation and creativity. Putting these back into the workforce is difficult to implement when power has been based on retaining hierarchical "command and control" systems rather than on the motivation and fulfillment of workers.

Furthermore, aim to develop an organisational culture

"...where values, spirit, cultural capital and meaning are important to the bottom-line"cultural capital (refers) to liberating the personal"enabling people to be themselves at work..."

Helen Trinca, 2001

This emphasises the need for integration of the "hard" and 'soft/intangible' components. Too often, in the pursuit of success within an organisation, stress and tension are created in the workplace, rather than building trust and empowerment.

The basic employment unit is not "organisational man" (who is stripped of individuality and initiative) but that of "individualised corporations" in an environment that encourages diversity of views and empowers staff to develop their own ideas, ie the knowledge worker. In the current climate, the individual needs the organisation much less than the organisation needs the individual. It can be summarized as

"...a move from"one-size-fits-all to my-size-fits-me and it's being fashioned and refashioned..."

Dan Pink as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2007i

This is the era of the knowledge workers who

"...see the organisation as the tool for their accomplishment of their own purposes and, therefore resent......any attempt to subject them to the organisation as a community, that is, to the control of the organisation; to the demand of the organisation that they commit themselves to lifetime membership; and to the demand that they subordinate their aspirations to the goals and values of the organisation..."

Furthermore,

"...workers are likely to outlive organisations, and the knowledge worker has mobility..."

Peter Drucker, 2001

Yet most people still believe that organisations outlive workers and most workers stay put in one organisation, ie lifetime employment. However, learning and re-learning will be a continuous process throughout everyone's life; with more focus on lifetime employability than lifetime employment

Tomorrow's knowledge worker

"...will have to be prepared for life in a global world. This will be a westernised world, but also increasingly a tribalised world. He or she must become a citizen of the world - in vision, horizon, information. But he or she will also have to draw nourishment from their local roots and, in turn, enrich and nourish their own local culture..."

Peter Drucker, 2001

It has been suggested that the most desirable, knowledge-oriented culture is characterized by the Five Fs, ie

"...fast, flexible, focused, friendly and fun..."

Thomas Davenport as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2006g

Furthermore, to link a knowledge-based culture with high trust requires training and motivation.

At one end of the spectrum of the knowledge workers is the "extreme jobs" that have arisen out of the global economic development and technological changes that make communications easier and flatten organisational structures. People in extreme jobs have at least 7 of the following 12 characteristics (Sylvia Ann Hewlett et al, 2007):

i. *work more than 60 hours per week

ii. *earn high income

iii. *have unpredictable flow work

iv. *fast-based work with tight deadlines

v. *works outside regular work hours

vi. *available 24/7

vii. inordinate scope of responsibility that amounts to more than one job

viii. responsibility for profit and loss

ix. responsibility for mentoring and recruiting

x. large amounts of travel

xi. large number of direct reports

xii. physical presence at workplace of at least 10 hours a day

NB The characteristics marked with * are the ones that create the most intensity and pressure.

It is interesting to note that many

"...of extreme workers admit that the pressure and pace are self-inflicted, but they don't feel exploited, but feel exalted. Many people love the intellectual challenge and the thrill of achieving something big. Others are turned on by the oversize compensation packages, brilliant colleagues and the recognition and respect that come from the territory. For men, compensation comes in third on the list of motivators, after stimulation/challenge and high-quality colleagues. For women, compensation was fifth or last......perhaps the most profound amongst the cultural shifts......is the fact that the workplace is now the center and source of many people's social lives......for so many professionals, home and work have reversed roles - home is the source of stress and guilt, and work is a place where successful professionals get strokes, admiration and respect..."

Sylvia Ann Hewlett et al, 2007

Those entering the workforce today are more likely to have more career changes and a longer working life than any previous generation of workers. Their awareness of the necessity for life-time learning and employability gained by increasing levels of skills and expertise will result in more career changes, and less automatic loyalty to an organisation. Furthermore, it is no longer expected that the organisation that you started your working career with will be in existence when you are due to retire. In fact, the whole concept of retirement is changing, ie people will just change direction by starting new careers at different stages of their lives. Usually the next career will be run in parallel with the current career until it is time to completely focus on the new career

A peak-performance organisation has facilitated the shift from systems-driven to people-orientated management: ie from "form-function-fit" or 'strategy-structure-systems' to "purpose-process-people". As Peter Drucker (2001) states,

"...Organisations are no longer built on force. They are built on trust..."

Rob Goffee (2008) asserts that organisation do not behave, people in organisations behave as individuals, teams, networks, etc

Peter Drucker (2001) states that most personality conflicts arise because someone does not know what the other person does, or how their work is done, or its contribution, or the expected results. Managers owe relationship responsibility to everyone with whom they work and on whose work they depend.

Generally people like to work for organisations with the following characteristics:

- have a clear focus and direction

- offer some job security

- have preference for team players and people with high EQ; keep out narcissistic personalities

- pay fairly, ie on merit

- family friendly

- good staff morale (includes caring about staff's personal problems)

- decentralised decision-making

- everybody listened to, irrespective of position in the organisation (make staff's opinion count)

- all issues are discussable

- excellent implementation and execution

- encourage good communication channels including providing feedback (positive and negative) at all levels of the organisation

- senior executives are positive role models (walk the talk and lead by example)

- mentoring by senior executives

- encouragement of a learning environment

- identifiable career development, ie personal and professional growth with stretch goals

- practise succession planning

- possess a strong cohesive culture that creates an egalitarian environment

In other words,

"...have a sense of enjoyment, a sense of community and sense of meaning..."

Manfred Kets de Vries, 2006

Networking

Networking is an important part of building relationships both inside and outside organisations. The principles of networking revolve around 3 concepts

i) law of giving without expectation (unconditionally helping someone to achieve their goal and not expecting something in return)

ii) law of abundance (firmly believing that there are ample opportunities for everyone, and the art of networking is knowing where these opportunities are)

iii) law of reciprocity (when you give without conditions, you receive payback many times over)

NB It is about who you know, more than what you know

Networking is an important part of career development. To succeed in the organisational hierarchy, operational excellence is not enough. You need to be able to build relationships both inside and outside the organisation, especially with people above you in the hierarchy. Furthermore, it is a claimed that only 12 to 15 percent of senior level jobs come from recruitment agencies, with the rest coming from your network, ie family, friends, social acquaintances, contact-of-contacts, etc.

Networking can be an important way to find jobs. Research has shown (Fiona Smith, 2009c) that 17% percent of people learned about their jobs from a close friend; 28% from someone that they barely knew; 56% from an acquaintance. This was explained by close friends having similar networks, while acquaintances are more likely to have different networks but know you well enough to be helpful.

Effective networking is about creating mutual obligations between people. It follows some basic rules:

- be prepared to "work the room" (being prepared to talk to strangers, ie forget childhood advice of not talking to strangers!!!!!!!)

- learn not to be intimidated by people who are perceived as senior

- focus on the person you are talking to

- be an active listener

- be confident, ie pretend that you are the host!!!!!!!!

- prepare a few questions and conversation starters

"...Networking is about building a chain of helpfulness, not just collecting business cards. It requires time and sincerity. Networking isn't about selling. It is about building rapport and being remembered for all the right reasons......it is a long-term strategy......try to make memorable connections......look sharp and listen......listen to what someone is telling you and reaffirm what they say by repeating something back to them. Ask questions and don't look over their shoulders for someone better to talk to. Networks are interconnected and you don't know who that person knows..."

Brad Hatch, 2006a

Networking tips

- identify the people you want to network with and get the background material on them via the Internet prior to meeting them

- prepare a self-introduction of around 15 seconds

- when you first arrive, scan the room to locate any strategic contacts

- position your name tag on your right side, so that when people shake your hand they automatically look at the extended arm and notice the name tag

- make eye contact and do not look elsewhere while talking to particular individual

- approach new people in the room rather than going to familiar faces

- don't be afraid to politely end a conversation, especially if the conversation is not going well or you find that you have no natural rapport; politely excuse yourself by saying something like "It's been a pleasure to talk with you" and move on

- useful strategy for constructively ending a conversation is to introduce the person to somebody else in the room

- ask questions about others' problems and concerns, history and background. If convenient, ask how you can help them

- listen, express approval and agreement, ie adjust your behaviour to the situation. It is better to listen to people and ask them questions about themselves. You will be more interesting to a person if you are interested in what they are saying.

- don't force yourself on people, ie it is better for somebody to ask for your business card than for you to hand it out regardless

- it is better to have 1 or 2 quality conversations at an event, rather than superficially "work the room"

- be willing to refer contacts even when you don't think your referral will be reciprocated

- if somebody helps you, follow up your conversation with a short note or phone call for expressing your appreciation

- for any relationship to last, you have to establish mutual trust first. You can tell when you have connected with someone, so don't push it if there's no connection

- if you do establish a rapport with someone at an event, follow up with an e-mail and suggest catching up in a social context.

NB If you build a solid friendship first by finding a shared or mutual interest, then helping each other comes naturally (this is what networking is all about)

Networking is a way of sharing wisdom and building bonds; it is not just a selling and buying process. It is about people discussing ideas, interacting and learning. On the other hand, be careful of

- working the crowd too fiercely and thus alienating potential contacts

- cornering someone who doesn't want to be cornered

- sticking to the same conversation, ie being a bore!!!!!!!

- situations where someone gets drunk, aggressive and/or inappropriately amorous

Critical success factors of networking include

- Broad range of stakeholders (internal and external to the organisation and across a range of functions)
- Depth (include stakeholders at all levels in the hierarchy)
- Established (based on trust, authenticity, reciprocity and transparency)
. Building a network takes time and energy and must be genuine
. Some questions relevant to networks - Do you know how effective your network is?
- Does your network help or hinder your ability to lead and implement?
- What can you do to enhance your network?

10 ways to boost your network effectiveness
i) regularly evaluate your network, ie who is in it and how effective is it? Identify any gaps and where there are blockages, ie people with whom it's hard to get things done
ii) prioritise your time and energy, eg strike the right balance between people who are asking for something and people who you help. Remember: the more you share, the more you will gain over time
iii) be consistent and keep your commitments, eg if you state you will do something, do it (this is essential for building trusting relationships)
iv) be careful of groupthink (include people in your network with different opinions who will challenge your thinking and mindset; your network needs to have character and depth. The more broader your understanding, the greater your ability to think issues through and to take on different perspectives and manage complex situations
v) help other people to build their networks (find out who they collaborate with and how effective is it for them, and potentially for you)
vi) know the connectors and influencers in your network, eg know who get things done and how they do it
vii) reward and encourage people who engage in healthy and effective behaviours, eg collaboration, facilitation, etc
viii) integrate new people into your network by introducing them to key people and how your network works sharing information, expertise and support
ix) encourage facilitation/collaboration behaviours across business units, geographical boundaries, etc
x) build your network based on integrity, transparency, etc, and this enhances your credibility
(source: Michelle Gibbings, 2015)

  • In summary

"...in a conversation don't be demure, don't be wallpaper, don't be vanilla. Have a clear belief, because for every person you annoy, you will excite someone else......networking is the first frontier of personal branding......you should be unafraid to give your view, then ask others for theirs. Even if your opinion isn't popular, if it's well thought out and makes me think differently, that will create a good impression......networking is all about the art of conversation and reading people......don't overstay you welcome - if there's no natural flow of conversation......move on..."politely

Simon Hammond as quoted by Marion Edmonds, 2009

Furthermore, you need to decide on your unique selling proposition

"...but keep it simple, and allow them to ask questions, and this will lead into further conversations......she aims to meet 2 people she doesn't know......the etiquette of business cards is important......look at the card, make an observation about the card you are given...... many people make the basic mistake of not taking cards..."

Kylie Green as quoted by Marion Edmonds, 2009

Generally business cards should come out later rather than earlier in the meeting. Remember, it is more about concentrating on meaningful conversations and relationship building than harvesting business cards.

You need to be good listener as everyone loves to be listened to!!!!!

Main roles of management

The 2 main roles of senior management should be to

- select the staff with the "right attitude" (rather than skill set only) and who fit into the culture of the organisation

- create an environment in which both staff and the organisation can flourish

i) "People are your most important asset". Right? Wrong!!!!!! Right people are your most important asset. The right people are those who exhibit the desired behaviours and attitudes, as a natural extension of their character and attitude, regardless of any control and incentive system. The challenge is not to train people to share your core values. The real challenge is to find people who already share your core values and to create an environment that so strongly reinforces those values that the people who do not share them should not get hired. An example of this is that we cannot teach people the work ethic - either a person has it or he/she does not. On the other hand, we can teach people specific work skills, ie

"...hire for attitude and train for skill..."

Alan Joyce (Jetstar) as quoted by James Hall, 2006

Right people are eager to learn, possess a strong personality and have a pro-active attitude. These characteristics are more important than expertise, skills and experience.

Recruitment and promotion should focus on cultural fit, right attitude, values, energy and vibes. Based on an Australian survey, some common methods to test cultural fit include

DDI Australia as quoted by Brad Hatch, 2005

ii) The second role of senior management is to create an environment in which both staff and the organisation can flourish

"- behavioural interview questions on values (91%)

- panel interview (61%)

- reference check against values (58%)

- informal meeting (49%)

- questions specially targeting values (43%)

- cultural (motivational) fit questionnaires (39%)

- behavioural simulations (24%)

- personality inventory (24%)"

Top management must stimulate the organisation, not control it. It creates the environment:

- by providing strategic direction;

- by encouraging learning;

- by ensuring there are mechanisms for transferring the lessons learned;

- by challenging behaviours, and unleashing new ways of thinking, by demonstrating to people that they are capable of achieving more than they think they can achieve, and they should never be satisfied with where they are now;

- by encouraging staff to try something different"

Harvard Business Review, 1999

For example, there are growing number of organisations in which the competitive advantage lies in the ability to create an organisation driven not by cost efficiencies but ideas and intellectual know-how. It is important to realize that the psychological relationship management have with their "clever people" or knowledge workers is very different from the ones in traditionally-framed organisations, ie

"...clever people want a high degree of organisational protection and recognition that their ideas are important. They also demand the freedom to explore and fail......the attitudes that clever people display toward their organisations reflect their sense of self-worth......most of them are scornful of the language of hierarchy. Although they are acutely aware of the salaries and bonuses attached to their work, they often treat promotion with indifference or even contempt......they will want to stay close 'to the real work', often to the detriment of relationships with the people who are supposed to be managing. This doesn't mean that they don't care about status - they do, often passionately. The same researcher who affects not to know his job title may insist on being called ' doctor' or 'professor'..."

Bob Goffee et al, 2007

Furthermore, knowledge workers do not want to be distracted by the administrative machinery, such as organisational rules and politics, from their key value adding activities. It is important to create an atmosphere in which rules and norms are simple and universally accepted. Furthermore, management needs to realize that some of the best ideas will come from outside the organisation. This reinforces the need for knowledge workers to pursue private efforts that will have organisational payoffs. Organisations such as 3M, Google, Genetech and Lockheed allow staff to pursue those projects in organisation time. For example, Google allows staff to spend one day a week on their own startup ideas. On the other hand, the knowledge workers need to acknowledge their interdependence on others in the organisation.

Do not forget the physical work environment as it can enhance or hinder issues, such as harmony, creativity and productivity. This is very important owing to the amount of time we spend in the workspace.

Some Practical Advice on Management

Howard Mitchell of the Mitchell Communications Group

- concentrate on things you know and things that you are good at

- don't try to do things you cannot do

- start at the bottom

- don't be in a big hurry

- be a good listener

- don't get into battles you cannot win

- beware way of people with big egos

- don't expose yourself financially

- make plans, short and long-term

- be a team player

- be able to make quick decisions

- work twice as hard as your staff and competitors

- create a difference and therefore an advantage

- have a settled private life

- let little things become big things

- say thank you

- if you fail, don't give up

- don't let money run your life

- move on when you've done your job

(source Harold Mitchell, 1010)

Resources (knowledge, time, etc)

Knowledge through learning is the only infinitely renewable resource. Competitors can gain access to other resources like capital, labour, raw materials, and even technology and knowledge. On the other hand, no one can purchase and duplicate an organisation's ability to learn. Learning generally occurs over time and in "real life"; it is not confined to the classroom or training sessions.

Time is becoming a precious resource. Everyone feels that things are speeding up, ie they have to do more, think more, learn more, produce more - they have to do it more often and more quickly. Time is now playing a different role in our lives. Time is as important to a knowledge economy as raw materials were in the Industrial Age. Time costs money; it is one thing we cannot afford to waste. We need to know the value of time

Despite our efforts to manage our time in the hope of delivering a shorter working day and more leisure time, we are working longer hours than our parents. In fact ,

"...long hours are virtually synonymous with achievement, so much so that any move away from the norm is a career risk or as seen dangerously subversive..."

Catherine Fox, 2004d

This is linked with 4 changes in the way we work

"...work has intensified and more is expected from employees; we have internalized the need to work ever harder and longer; new experience of working time is, however, becoming more individualized as shift work, part-time jobs and long hours diverge from the standard working day; the boundaries between work and other parts of existence have blurred; and we have absorbed the idea of efficiency so well it is applied to all of life..."

Madeleine Bunting as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2004d

This has given rise to a new breed of addicted worker as

"...response times are shorter, turnaround on major projects has been compressed, and there are expectations of quick outcome for every effort..."

Catherine Fox, 2004d

The extreme case of this is the binge worker, ie they throw everything at a job, work all hours until it is finished, then relax.

However, remember that there is evidence to suggest, that any work beyond about seven hours a day is considered less productive. The number of hours you work doesn't necessarily result in greater productivity, it's about how you manage work. Our growing obsession with being busy does not necessarily translate into better or more efficient work patterns.

Furthermore,

"...we are starting to see that overworked people pay a price with mistakes and poor health, and that slowing down does not make you a slacker..."

Carl Honore as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2004d

Professionalism

High performance and agile organisations are based on professionalism rather than loyalty or faithfulness. Professionalism means changing the emphasis from "mate-ocracy to merit-ocracy" with a reduction in cronyism and homogeneity. In contrast, the loyalty organisation is Globalisation increases outsourcing, offshoringbased upon

- subservience to the system which is the fundamental principle

- internal class (people are invited in and/or apply to join) and career structures which govern relationships and rewards

- obedience to higher authority is demanded

- diffused and non-specific accountability

- loyalty or commitment to a cause.

The new professional relationship paradigm threatens to outperform loyaltyor faithfulness, though not necessarily to destroy it. Loyalty or faithfulness is so psychologically ingrained in some organisations that it is considered to be the glue that holds the organisation together.

On the other hand, when organisations try to manufacture loyalty, they risk creating its opposite - cynicism.

Business in market economies is usually seen as a war involving winners and losers. As a result, loyaltyor faithfulness is offered as a prime conceptual framework for managing the firm for competitive war. Individuals are assessed for skills and abilities, and then sorted into a rigid organisational structure. Income, status and decision-making prerogatives are all determined by one's place in the (class) structure. In this structure, each individual is expected to do the tasks allocated and to conform to the hierarchical requirements of the organisation. In short, the loyalty or faithfulness to the organisation is above all other considerations. In return, the organisation protects its staff against the harsh realities of the outside world.

The pay-offs for loyaltyor faithfulness include financial security, longevity of employment, security in retirement and a sense of place and purpose in the organisation's structure. The principles of command and control are dependent on the loyalty or faithfulness-driven mindsets. In recent times, mergers, acquisitions and downsizing have demonstrated that loyalty to individuals by organisations is only acknowledged when it suits the organisation's purposes.

Loyalty has always required the willing sacrifice of the employee's sense of, and desire for, freedom to the higher demands of the organisation. This type of environment of loyalty or faithfulness at all cost can generate a culture of silence, fear, transference of blame and loss of personal integrity.

Ultimately, the loyalty or faithfulnesssystem creates a culture of subservience to the whims and personal ambitions of the corporate elite. Such a culture makes it impossible for an organisation's performance to achieve the full potential of its staff. In extreme cases, loyalty or faithfulness diminishes accountability, ie errors, corruption and general under-performance are absorbed and acceptable. In these situations, loyalty can produce a major psychological dysfunction, with loyalty limiting ambition and demanding conformity.

Individual entrepreneurship threatens loyalty or faithfulness. Organisations not requiring loyalty want professionalism instead. Professionalism is a state of mind: it is one's ability to perform, to demand clarity in performance expectations and to accept only those performance expectations that can reasonably be met. It means accepting that the organisational structure is not all-powerful, and that the organisation is not bigger than the individuals who work for it. It means everything is open to question on a daily basis. It accepts that culture is a product of the people in the organisation, and as people change and come and go, the culture changes.

Community and culture are not things that are made; they simply emerge and evolve. Organisations that do not demand loyalty have one focus: the delivery of results to match the needs of its markets. Every part of the organisation has a market focus.

Consequently, organisations based on professionalism involve these elements

- the system itself is subject to accountability

- clear contractual expectations drive relationships

- there is market focus at all levels

- accountability is exact and identifiable

- individuals command their destiny

The "war for talent", ie too few suitable people available, has laid the basis for the changes to the structural forces and a paradigm shift; as Jason Cartwright, 2004 states "

Old Reality

New Reality

People need the organisation

Organisations need people

Machines, capital & geography are the competitive advantage

Talented people are the competitive advantage

Better talent makes some difference

Better talent makes huge differences

Jobs are scarce

Talented people are scarce


Employees are loyal & jobs are scarce

People are mobile & their commitment is short-term

People accept the standard package they are offered

People demand much more

HR is responsible for people management

All managers, starting with CEO, are accountable for strengthening their talent pool

We provide good pay & benefits

We shape our organisation, our jobs, even our strategy to appeal to talented people

Recruiting is like purchasing

Recruiting is like marketing

We think development happens in training programs

We fuel development primarily through stretch jobs, coaching and mentoring

We treat everyone the same and like to think that everyone is equally capable

We affirm all people, but invest differentially in A, B & C players"

On the other hand, several high-profile corporate collapses, such as Enron, have emphasised the need to rank and reward staff on performance more than talent and/or intelligence.

Success does not come from how much one knows but how well one learns. The knowledge base is always changing, so acquiring knowledge has become less important than knowing how to find and use the knowledge warehouses. The ability to learn quickly and well and to keep learning throughout one's life is the key. Furthermore, learning requires time to reflect, assimilate and practise.

The development and sustenance of strong and mutually beneficial relationships with major stakeholders (customers, owners, community and employees) is vital in achieving peak-performance organisation. All stakeholders need to be informed, conduct open and honest communications and recognise the need to handle change, and that change is a continuous process that takes time, ie have developed and implemented long-term strategies.

Furthermore, there is thecorporate club of good citizenship or corporate social responsibility (CSR) including climate change. Organisations are expected to make a positive contribution to their employees, the environment and to society.

Need to understand the generational differences. In fact, there is a trend to "reverse mentoring" where junior staff mentor senior executive on such topics as the use of the Internet and their generational aspirations

With the uncertainty and turbulence in the world, staff members need to be "comfortable with the uncomfortable and unknowns" - to see them as positive challenges and opportunities and not as negative threats

Work-ready Skills

One of the challenges today is to find staff who are work ready and will bring long-term potential to an organisation. In addition to solid academic qualifications, they need well-developed interpersonal and communication skills, the ability to work as part of a team, be able to interact productively with other people and to think creatively.

Furthermore, with Australia's position in the Asia-Pacific region there is a need to understand different cultures and have a culturally diverse workforce. This means recruitment has a more regional and domestic focus. International contacts can provide networks into regional markets where long-term relationships are important.

Technological changes, trends like globalization and generational characteristics have added new dimensions to being work-ready. While having technically savvy staff is important in any organisation, there is a downside to the increasing use of technology in the learning environment. The main casualty of the rise of Web-based learning is the development of skills around communications and presentation, the ability to develop relationships and to work as part of a team. The virtual learning world provides students with minimal face-to-face contact and discourages the skills of collaborating, communications, debating, negotiating, etc.

Technology has allowed the use of the Internet to tap into information networks with great efficiency. On the other hand, there is an increasing tendency to "download, cut and paste" at the expense of developing drafting and writing skills.

Human Capital

As HR or Human Capital activities are hard to quantify, it is a challenge to determine how they add value to organisations. Some suggestions include

- quality of senior management (executive remuneration; succession planning; senior management turn-over; employee feedback, including morale)

- performance management (application of performance management processes; rewards/ recognition on performance; employee feedback including morale; work ethic)

- investing in talent (training employees; employee feedback including morale)

- productivity (revenue per employee; HR effectiveness)

- employee engagement (percentage of engaged employees)

"...companies with strong human capital numbers pay their executives differently, use incentives and rewards, set strategic goals, have distinctive leaders and have more engaged and confident employees than those with inferior growth records...... companies with double-digit growth have high engagement levels...... 20 percent higher than those with a single digit growth..."

Fabricuis as quoted by Brad Hatch, 2005

Furthermore, it is claimed that engaged workers are the key to competitiveness and sustainable business structure.

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