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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Early Recruitment shows poor Leadership

Managing Leadership Across The Employment Spectrum:-

I recently came across a situation, where retrenchment happened just because of unwise business projection and deferred implementation development of offshore projects by the top management. It will be obvious by now that development - both individual and organizational - is a strategic activity before it is a training activity. An integrated approach calls for a structure, culture and license for those with strategic HR responsibility to have access to relevant decisions affecting recruitment and selection, training and development, career and succession planning, manpower planning, reward and recognition, and so on. The point of discussion here whether the responsibilities of these retrenchments come to the top management’s lack of leadership or to the poor people who joined early and suffered?

These recruitments also require a spirit of co-operation, rather than a 'silo' mentality which provokes competition between these specialties and/or status-quo. Anything less (i.e. conventional separation of development - conceptually and sometimes geographically) will produce a sub-optimal outcome.

Organizations that have an unplanned, tactical or reactive approach to leadership fail to capitalize on their investment in development. For example:

- They may develop leaders at great expense, and then let them languish in unimportant jobs where their talents cannot be used fully

- They structure the HR function in such a way that one department recruits talent while another selects people for redundancy on the criterion of cost rather than ability

- They fail to deal with poor leaders when they become part of the problem rather than part of the solution

- And as we said earlier, they pour leadership talent in at one end of the employment pipeline, and carelessly let it escape at the other end.

These commonplace scenarios display a lack of joined-up thinking and action. To optimize leadership for the organization, the employment process has to be integrated and consistently managed at all points on the spectrum.

Managers with strategic responsibility for development need a remit that enables them to aware of, have access to, have influence over, and work closely with, their HR colleagues, on a range of decisions and systems affecting leadership, rather than taking spurious decisions on recruitment and then retrenchment.

Issues arise at, or approximate to, place on the employment spectrum (i.e. phases in people's careers that call for optimal HR management). Besides having development programmers at an appropriate career point, other considerations include:

1. Are we clear what leadership we are going to need?

2. What leadership talents need to enter the system?

3. How can the most talented leaders be allocated the most important jobs?

4. Should newly developed leaders receive a change of job following an intensive training program?

5. What criteria are used to assess the effective practice of leadership?

6. How is good leadership defined, recognized and rewarded (and bad leadership 'warned with positive feedback')?

7. What criteria are used to assess suitability for promotion to senior leadership positions?

8. What provision is made for successors?

9. How does leadership talent escape unplanned, as well as formally exit, the organization?

Responsibility for Leadership Development

The above perspective calls for a fresh look at who is responsible for leadership development strategy and what that responsibility comprises. In summary, the need for co-ordination across the employment spectrum means that all HR professionals, but especially developers, have an interest in ensuring that leadership talent is appropriately:

i) Defined

ii) Acquired

iii) Recognized

iv) Developed (Trained)

v) Utilized

vi) Appraised

vii) Promoted

viii) Rewarded

ix) Retained

x) Terminated

Underpinning all these steps is a clear definition of what effective leadership looks like. This needs to be accompanied by clarity and determination to address poor and unacceptable leadership.

If the organization is getting any of the above steps badly wrong, or if there is inconsistency in policy, then leadership (at the level of the overall organization) will fail however well individuals are trained educated and known as talents or process owners.


Anonymous said...

My dear Dib,

My way of looking at the situation is a little different, why should a company retrench its employees - were the employees not good enough in the first place to hire, and what after having spent so many man hours getting them to learn about the work and the salaries paid to them - is that not a sheer waste!! So - what I have as an answer is a solution, DO NOT RETRENCH the employees, put them through a KYKO Customised test - know their strengths and weaknesses, put the right person in the right slot and the person will perform. May perform even better than expected. :)

If there is indeed a training weakness that is seen from the report - then put the person through the correct training procedure so that you are able to upgrade the person, rather than look for a new one and go through the same ordeal once again. (for more details look at or write to me. :) )

Is it not better to have a known devil? :D

Warmest regards,

Anonymous said...

I've always looked at firings, downsizings, layoffs or whatever other term you want to use as a fundamnetal failure of leadership - the leadership of the business. The failure is always due to a no or inadequate analysis skills, an absence of planning and substandard execution (of course what are you executing when you have no plan?). There is a old saying - "Fail to plan. Plan to fail." 80% of businesses do not have a formal, written business plan.

Anonymous said...

We need to understand the root cause of poor performance. Is it the

a. Company products
b. Hygienes of the company
c. People

We can't help the company if the root causes is a and b.

We can only help them if the root cause of poor performance is due to the quality of the people.

Best Regards

Bernard Tan

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of responsibility to spread around. Anyone entering a position where they are going to be groomed for a leadership position, if a true leader, will have done their own due diligence on the company, the market and the future of the position.

People who blindly go into a position with their eyes closed, or are relying on the exisiting corporate leadership to guide them are not worthy of too much sympathy.

If people are affected by an adverse and rapid change in the marketplace, that's another story.

If management is not looking forward, but only looking backward then that's a real problem.

For me the reality is that most management is looking in the rearview mirror o guide their businesses.

Financial reports typically have 30 to 60 day old data. Really not too useful to steer the ship.

Anonymous said...

One of the main issues in managing the human resources of the company is the lack of integration of the HR division tightly into the corporate fabric. Most companies I have visited treat HR as a necessary evil.

The HR managers are generally relegated to order processing rather than participating in the corporate processes and pro-actively managing the resources.

A division head will make decisions upon which the HR department acts to fulfill the requirement.

Very few corporations integrate HR into the operations and strategy processes on a daily basis. When was the last time you saw an HR representative in a divisional meeting. Unless they were called in to do hatchet job they are not involved!

Anonymous said...

Hello Dibyendu,

Improper projections without understanding the market
Under estimating the competition
Not acting as per Market's requirement
Getting wrong people for wrong roles.

I was reading the article of P&G, how they are struggling in India, in spite of investing huge money, the top management is pressuring the local team to work on the best solutions to make the P&G local unit profitable

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