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talent Archives - SourceMatch

Will talent make or break the future of your organization?

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The concept of Talentism has been coined down by Charles Schwab (founder of the World Economic Forum) back in 2012 as being the only logical era to replace capitalism. Capital has been one of the key drivers for the industrial era, fueling technology innovations as well as the development of private companies to carry out the entire process from product creation to market delivery as opposed to being state-owned and state-driven. This improved productivity and enabled consequent competitive advantages that stood for a few decades.

The New Economy is not fueled by capital, but rather by talent.

Whereas capital is important, it is no longer the presence of it that significantly influences the potential to succeed of an organization. It was capital that made it possible for the main technologies to taken certain industries from zero to one: i.e. the steam engine which multiplied the potential of many industries tenfold. Information technology plays a significant role as well being among the revolutionary advances (i.e. 3D printing – which leads the democratization and digitization of manufacturing), being considered by some economists as one of the general purpose technologies along the telegraph and the steam engine.

In the era of Talentism, talent becomes the driver for many of the advances that revolutionize industries (i.e. Uber, Airbnb, Tesla). We can see its impact when creativity, combined with the proper skills, tools, and information technology creates tremendous organizations (i.e. see Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) These no longer find themselves in the areas of activity that they initially started but have become organizations with a mission to change the world (see Google that started as a search engine trying to take the lead on autonomous cars, or Facebook – a social media platform – trying to take the Internet to everyone on the planet, just to mention a few).

None of these companies lack the capital. In fact, they have a significant amount of cash available on their hands. However, by far, they are in a group for themselves (although some consider them to be monopolies), which exist by the sheer advantage that their talent has given them. A competitive advantage that took them by an order of magnitude in technology beyond their competitors.

Talent and the future of work

Now that organizations have understood the importance of talent they are faced with the challenge of the skills gap. It has pushed them to find new ways to source talent, primarily by giving up on geographical limitations, switching to a remote work relationship (either from home or through outsourcing to vendors operating in nearshore or offshore models). That opens up a whole new way of working, bringing up other quasi-challenges such as finding the right communication means (i.e. phone, text chat, conference meetings), switching to cloud software platforms, adjusting for cultural variations, or time-zone differences. Other solutions may be found through freelancers or collaborative workspaces/hubs.

Never before was the future of work so interconnected with the past. Social media platforms provide a network of information, organizations, and individuals who can easily be accessed to locate the right talent, vet them through references and even carry out background checks.

The future of work also calls for professionals to consider that an education is not an insurance that guarantees a successful career throughout their lives. On the contrary, professionals need to be open to life-long learning alternatives (i.e. certifications or online course platforms) and developing an alternate primary skill. This gives way to varied work opportunities and increases their flexibility to switch from one project to another.

Talentism is changing the face of businesses around the world as they strive to become and stay competitive in the New Economy. How will you take advantage of the vast array of talent available across the world?

I would love to hear your experience about capital versus talent. How have both shaped your strategy in the past 5 years? How about the next 5-10 years?

Leave your comments below, and don’t hesitate to contact SourceMatch about how we can help you leverage talent for your organization.

Creativity and your bottom line

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You need creativity more than you think

In our last post we looked at two important concepts: the New Economy and Talentism. Both of them have a lot to do with Creativity, which is as we’ll see “a catalyst for” and “a result of” innovation.

With every advancement, technology has reached into almost all areas of life, starting from communication, to cooking and driving. And as we’re well accustomed, iterations of each product amplify the pressure over the consumer to comprehend all its new features and how to use them. We’re bombarded with so many new things that reach out into our brain for our attention as well as our capacity to learn and adapt. Such complexity is what pushes us to transition towards new technologies and the realities that ensue (i.e. 3D printing, hyper-connectedness, robotics and automation, the new paradigms of work). The paradox is how the same innovators strive to showcase all of these complexities in a light of simplicity and thus alleviate any resistance, enhance the product’s market acceptance and rate of adoption.

stark-innovationThus, creativity acts as a catalyst for innovation through its sheer usefulness in the problem-solving process (i.e. answering a need in the market). Simultaneously, it succeeds innovation by demystifying new technologies for their intended audience.
This is why organizations that want to stay on top of their game in the New Economy need to breathe creativity. But how does that relate to Talent(ism)?

What drives creativity?

Access to resources – take for instance artists that have created art as they had access to various tools, materials, fine wood, paint, silver, gold, etc. The same principle applies today when you consider easy access to information, software, hardware, knowledge, training, and continuous education. How would high-end engineers be capable to innovate without a proper workbench, laboratory and state-of-the-art technology at their fingertips? How do you expect your teams to improve your business processes without the proper understanding of the principles of quality management methodologies such as Six Sigma and Lean?

Thinking outside the box or allowing yourself to be disrupted from your standard line of thought – we all like status quo, who doesn’t? It’s comfortable and cozy. If we want to create, we should put ourselves out there where we’re being challenged to think differently. Read books that are out of your usual knowledge areas, take on projects that just seem like you’re taking a big leap of faith and work towards shortening the gap of knowledge/experience, meet with people that do things differently or are labeled as outliers in your industry and learn from them what it takes to go through uncharted paths, or in two words: Be curious!

An environment that encourages ideas out of the ordinary and idiosyncrasies – this asks for high tolerance to failure and a quasi-safety net (note: not risk aversion) in the form of preventive actions for new and unconventional initiatives. Nowadays, especially with the tech startup scene the later seems to be rarer (to my surprise) since all of the great innovations had strong prior planning. What would change your organization, product, service or whatever you’re involved in by a few orders of magnitude?

stark-math

Exposure to as many interactions in the work environment as possible (open to listening, helping, being empathetic) is quintessential to creativity. The advantage of collaborative teams, spaces, organizations is by far their diversity giving way to creative problem-solving. This is also an indication for organizations to focus on socio-cultural diversity that enables divergent thoughts and decision processes. Take the classic example of coffee shops – why are they such a great place to come up with ideas? They encourage bohemian interaction and collaboration, as well as the allure of frugal creativity. Basically, it gives anyone the liberty to dream at no additional cost – everything is possible! Are our organizations creating this kind of environments?

The pivotal factor

Beyond a much longer list of drivers for creativity, people have a critical role, and especially decision makers in organizations who need to be responsible for facilitating creativity. Although the traditional model of a boss-run organization is extremely spread, it has become clear that it’s not a sustainable one. And seriously, who wants to rely on just one person to grow and develop an organization? It’s about time that leaders and managers would stand behind their teams encouraging them to think for themselves and to switch from an employee mindset towards an owner mindset. A reversed model of tapping into everyone’s talent, skills and experience so as to stir a sense of ownership for breakthrough ideas and initiatives, taking them from “aha” moments, to debates, to chiseled project plans, and down to bottom line impact.

Practical ideas

  1. Leaders educating their organizations about the cause-effect relationship between creativity and financial bottom line using concrete examples, and how that can contribute to their own well-being. Leaders and key decision makers need to realize that growing profits without a direct benefit to those who drive them isn’t sustainable (Dare I say: it’s even destructive?).
  2. An informal team commitment to personal development, while members hold each other accountable (i.e. reading books, listening to podcasts). Same as organizations, people need to “upgrade” themselves and to continuously learn. Does it help the organization? Probably it does, but in the end, it’s an investment in themselves, which they take further wherever they go (Disclaimer: I’m not saying that people should not stay with your organization forever)
  3. An informal coaching environment in which people will teach one another using a quasi-structure of information and knowledge, starting from their own expertise. This process may appear to be simple – it’s not. It puts people in a position in which they need to find the best means to transfer their knowledge onto others who might not interact with it on a regular basis. And it boils down to one question: how do you take your knowledge and reduce it down to an essence that your teammates can gather in max 30 minutes?

I’m convinced that this post just scratches the surface about the subject of creativity, and you’re encouraged to contribute with your own experience, observations and questions.