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Thursday, September 20, 2007
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Everything that I have experienced in the succession area leads me to agree with the writer.

Craig Morgan

SVP, Team Member Growth and Support

Neumann Homes, Inc.

*****

You make a great case for how everything old is now new again, and I agree with you that we need a new model. Perhaps this new model should go back to the basics. In an age where change is the only constant, why not look for employees who have the ability to succeed in change? In an age where no one conducts a job analysis because by the time it is created they are obsolete, why not look for those who are self-motivated and thrive in ambiguity?

Personality researchers in psychology have long theorized that basic personality traits are relatively stable. Similarly, aren't corporate cultures, comprised by individuals who are like each other, relatively stable?

I believe the new model needs to help corporations define what enables them to be successful despite all of the changes and the inability to conduct a long range forecast. I don't believe this will be a list of training, skills and abilities but those hard to define traits that make a corporation different from its competition. I also believe that those who are strategic will begin to seek out ways to identify, attract and select those candidates that are most likely to have those core components that can be adapted as the business changes.

However, I don't think this is as simple as dusting off our old competency modeling handbooks. We need to find new and innovative ways of bringing these competencies alive within the context of an organization so that everyone understands how they are unique, how they contribute to the mission, and why they are inspired to work in this place versus another who may pay a bit more.

In order to do this we need some help from our friends in marketing and from the leaders who successfully portray this vision. By joining forces we can create a new model and prevent ourselves from becoming obsolete.

Linda K. Moeller

Product Director

EmployeeContinuum

Minneapolis

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Peter replies:

That's an interesting idea.  I guess the issue is whether companies really want to be stable -- they seem to want to reinvent themselves all the time, which I think it a big mistake, but it's hard to do much long-term mapping of people onto organizations if the organizations keep changing.

*****

The withering of internal employee development programs coincided with the rise of the business schools, and the accession of the MBA degree. Many organizations happily outsourced their leadership acquisition and development activities to these schools.  

I worked for a company in the 1980's that, as a matter of agreed upon practice, paid whatever starting salary was necessary to hook and land gold medal-winning MBA grads. The naive assumption, buttressed by not spending money on internal development, was that these newly minted Wunderkinder were by definition the leaders of the future.  

The reality, of course, was that knowledge of futures, swaps, caps and collars, and LIBOR was technical knowledge, and not leadership skills and behaviors.  

Tim Rutledge

Publisher, Mattanie Press

Toronto, Ontario

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