Tuesday, November 23, 2010

And the Winner is .............

My uncle had a love for the “ponies.” During the summer break from college, he would take me and all my brothers and we would head to the race track. It was always a fun family event on Saturdays. We would all sit in the clubhouse, which was a lot more elegant than the grandstand, and there we would begin the process of choosing winners for each race.

If you have never been to a race track, the list of characters who frequent them would give a screenwriter a treasure trove of material.

All the real fans would do their “workout,” which appeared to consist of looking at the horses’ past record and the times that they finished. I assumed they would extrapolate from this information for a fool-proof method of winning. Overall, it seemed to me about as successful as throwing a dart to choose the winner. My method was just to guess the top three winners of the race. My metric for a good day was to leave with more money than I came in with.
I thought of all of this the other day, when I saw the ad for the new movie Secretariat; the horse race, the expected and unexpected outcome, the drama as to who was going to finish in the money.

Strategic decisions post recession
This recession has caused the horse race of all times. Organizations are trying their hardest to come up with winning formulas and engaging in their “workout” to decide the next steps needed to regain profits and market share.

Some have placed their expected bets on past winning strategies, while some have looked at the tea leaves and decided to go an entirely different route with different strategies.

The horses in this race could be named Marketing, Digital, Product Development, and Innovative Products. Every one of these horses is trying to lead their prospective organizations back to the winners’ circle. Everyone is trying to regain, as Marshall Goldsmith so eloquently wrote, their individual and organizational “mojo.”

One thing I think all companies today are realizing is that with all the best laid plans, it will take engaged employees to get it done. Richard Branson once said, “The best designed business plan will come to nothing if it is not carried out by an enthusiastic and passionate staff."
The Importance of Human Capital Management
Human Capital Management is now being discussed from the boardroom to the mailroom. Whether it is engagement, retention, talent management, career development, or the employee life cycle, they all have arrived to the top of the food chain. The top HR role in a lot of companies has been elevated to the C-level.
The idea that employees are our greatest asset has now come true. This phrase has been used in countless mission statements and employee value propositions over the years, but somewhere along the line, there was a disconnect. Today, companies are beginning to feel the aftereffects.

HR execs are now sensing the importance of their role and have been heavily involved in putting together and readjusting their human capital strategy. The recent IBM study “Working Beyond Borders” heavily reflected the role of the future CHRO. Deloitte has a great article titled “Strategist & Steward: The Evolving Role of the Chief Human Resources Officer.”

As I have done my “workout” in analyzing the races, I am putting my money on Human Capital Management as the winner in this race. While the finish line will show a close race, the key driver coming into the stretch will be strategic HR in moving organizations to the next level.

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