Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A free book about the talent game

While I was looking at Lumesse's website for the last post, I came across a free e-book titled 'Who Moved My Talent?', a quirky little story about how the changing world impacts on businesses, and how they need to adapt to survive. It's written from an HR perspective, and takes a light-hearted look at how businesses approaches to talent management need to keep up if they want to stay on top.

The book, written by Peter Gold of Hire Strategies, is based on the motivational book 'Who Moved My Cheese?: An amazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life' by Dr. Spencer Johnson, which was first published in 1998. 'Who Moved My Talent?' is the story of four friends: Mark, Marie, Henry and Harriett, who all join NormCo PLC in what they think is a job for life. Of course, the world changes, jobs for life become rarer than hen's teeth, and they have to adapt to stay in work...

There are lots of interesting threads within it, but a couple stood out to me:

The first is that people respond to change in different ways. That's not ground-breaking, but it got me thinking. Of course, most businesses want to be flexible, pro-active, able to take advantage of opportunities. It stands to reason that they therefore want to employ people who embrace change rather than people who fear it. But people who find change difficult must have their uses, surely? Would any company do well to employ people who don't embrace change?

The second is the way that companies can be less adaptable to change than the people within them. In other words, you could have a company full of flexible change-embracers, but the company itself would still need a bit of impetus to get it to change. I suppose that in large companies, processes and procedures create an ecosystem, which needs a concerted effort to evolve. Or can evolution happen naturally in large organisations?

I never had an expectation of a job for life, but I can see that if I'd been born a bit earlier, I would have had. The problem with this new way is that, once you get over a certain age (late 40s? early 50s? what is that 'certain age'?) you are perceived as 'old school' and it can become difficult to find a new job, so you're left with staying in the same place. A friend of mine, who's only a little older than me, said to me the other day that he thought he only had two more job moves in him. I was shocked - I didn't see my career as time-limited in that way (possibly naively - I've always thought of myself as younger than I actually am!). We seem to be in a middle place - no jobs for life, but reduced opportunities for those over a certain age. I'll let you know what it feels like to be in the middle of that squeeze when I get there!

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