Talent Management – The Leader/Manager 80-20 Balance

This blog entry is primarily intended for leaders and managers (LM) who have direct reporting employees.  However, if you are one of those employees or seeking a new position, you should consider reading through this as this is what you should expect from or look for in your boss. The 80/20 can have significant retention implications.

Simply, 80 percent of the LM’s time should be dedicated toward doing his/her job. Typically this would include Planning, negotiating department or setting business objectives, budget management, building and applying functional expertise, and leveraging business acumen to influence organization resources for the department or business.

As importantly, the 80 percent also has an employee element.  This would include managing performance, compensation, career guidance and direction, training and development, sponsoring advancement for those who are ready, and creating space for new talent.   In short, creating space relates to exporting talent from the department for broader career opportunities and new challenges, and, using due process, removing people who are non-productive.  (More about creating space in a future post)

And the 20 percent:  The percentage of time expended assisting direct reporting employees in understanding and doing their jobs.

If the 80/20 ratio changes significantly (60 / 40 for example) the LM is probably spending an inordinate amount of time doing the job of others putting his own performance and that of the department at risk.  If it swings the other way (say 90/10) the LM is likely not sufficiently supporting the employees who support the productivity of the department or business.   In either situation, loss of key talent can also be a byproduct.

The 80/20 balance swings with situational leadership and management, but in the long haul it should be a key leader and manager guide post

There is a lot to be said for Time Management’s role in striking the 80/20 balance and its importance to LM and employee success.

***** S&E *****

A brief visit with “Leadership”

Some executives, great leaders, change the world; look at the tech giants for example.  Executives can change thousands of lives of the people associated with the business – employees, customers, suppliers, investors, and consumers to cite a few.  And, as well, communities.

Leaders touch, mold, and change the future, sometimes in small ways, sometimes the change is life changing.  One of my favorite quotes comes from teacher and astronaut, Christa McAuliffe, “I touch the future. I teach.”  Good teachers change many lives over their careers, as do many other professionals in various career occupations.

The personality of leadership encompasses many traits. Not among the least is Leadershipcourage.

I have seen people in organizations become global executives who never suspected or maybe even looked for a future that large.  And sometimes people just get better at their jobs (don’t change the world – it is all good).

There is just nothing more rewarding than investing time, and coaching, and mentoring, and providing guidance, and seeing a person reach goals, and make beneficial life decisions.  And, knowing that without that leadership, they may have otherwise not had the perspective or knowledge or skills to make those decisions or reach those goals.

And people who delve, or in some cases dive, into leadership roles can find that they learn as much as those who benefit from being associated with them.

And I committed to myself to stay away from political stuff on this blog… but if you would like to see the worst case, most dismal example, of leadership, observable by the world, there is always Washington, DC.  It is more enjoyable to focus on all the good examples out there.

***** S&E *****

Talent Management – Retaining Key Resources

Retention covers a lot of ground.  There are many factors that contribute to success. TM image from IHRCCReferencing the “TM” model on the right, factors within most TM categories play a large role in retaining important resources in the organization.

The same retention issues have been plaguing businesses for a long time.  Brief research on the internet has repeatedly highlighted many of the same issues:

  • Lack of opportunity
  • Job not challenging
  • Absence of development & training (they are not the same)
  • Bad supervision
  • Compensation issues
  • New job not as described

There are businesses out there that find a way to be highly competitive and successful as well as sponsor and support cultures that are breeding grounds for talent.  “Fortune’s Best Companies to work for” provides great examples.  Fortune’s Best .  This blogger’s experience would suggest that a company does not have to be on “the list” to have a good “TM” culture, if in addition to focusing on process, technology, quality and customers, it expends similar energy on managing its talent.

In the main, poor supervision and leadership can usually be traced to being the root cause behind the issues listed above.

There are some professionals who do not seek higher ground, who like their job, and who are the solid performers and all that is a good thing.  They have basic needs for those conditions to remain constant.  And they look for many of the same things professionals with runway seek in a work environment.

It all starts with supervisors, managers and leaders who care, and who will take the Talent Management DNAtime to create and maintain a culture which is based on values and nourishes growth, development, careers, opportunities and challenges.  One could look at it as “Talent Management DNA”

Later posts will look at some of the detail within TM’s DNA.

***** S&E *****

A Great Business Startup Story

The corporation asked two of its executives, a General Manager and Human Resource Manager to start a service business.  The objective was to duplicate a critical service business the corporation lost in an acquisition. The General Manager and Human Resources Manager were the first two employees. They hired the leadership team, using mostly newspaper ads, to fill out the key positions – managers of operations, engineering, facilities, and others.Start 1

The business was allocated substantial capital to do the startup, the space and freedom to operate, with the patient but ever-watchful eye of the corporation monitoring the finances, buildup, and performance.

It was a meager start, with only a conference room, tables, internet access and various office supplies, but with the full support of a multi-billion dollar, global corporation.

The hiring and selection of service professionals: Hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested in box style, Help Wanted Ads for service professionals. The ads were placed in a significant number of North American Newspapers in key service markets.  Two fax machines ran 24/7 for weeks spitting out hundreds of CV’s submitted as a result of the ads.  The CV’s were loaded on searchable CD’s.  The CD’s were distributed to the leadership team; they used key search words designed into the CD’s to search for qualified service professionals who were then vetted and hired. All candidates were gainfully employed, had experience in the service business in key markets, the greater majority had ongoing work, and a current customer base and relationships.  So with many hires, the startup was also “hiring” customers.

Amidst the hiring frenzy, the leadership team was also focused on locating and leasing key service center facilities throughout the USA and Canada, writing necessary business, legal, and training documents to support the new business, making vehicle lease arrangements for the service centers and a non-stop plethora of other detail.

The newly hired professionals were located in cities across the USA and Canada.  So the startup flew in groups of about 25 at a time each week, as the hiring went on. Each group received a 3 day orientation on the service business, values and ethics, various corporate and operating policies, and pertinent legal requirements and behavior expectations.  They each received a live orientation on specially formatted lap tops which featured financial and service reporting software.  Also included were email and other software necessary for them to be able to immediately communicate with startup employees and customers. And, they enjoyed a night out with available members of the Leadership Team. When the professionals departed orientation, they were confident, knew they were members of a skilled, powerful business team, and an integral part of a team that did not wear their titles on their sleeves.

Competitors claimed the startup pilfered their resources, and claimed unfair trade practice, among other charges.  It was a very expensive, protracted, distracting, time-consuming, non-productive, legal event.  In the end the justice system found “no cause”, in favor of the startup, writing it was just good old American capitalism and competitive practice at its best.Red n Black Dragon

At about nine months , the startup had hired more than 350 professionals, and had more than 45 service facilities up and running in the US and Canada.

“The startup” grew, became a tremendously successful business entity, within that global, multi-billion dollar corporation.

The startup is probably remembered as one of the greatest business experiences for that leadership team and the service professionals. One of the great windows in their careers, filled with unfailing morale, boundless energy, huge creativity, substantial business savvy, great success, and many, many humorous moments.

**** S&E ****