I was presenting to group of CEO’s last week about the issues relative to getting into compliance with an international regulatory standard. It was pretty dry stuff and I was challenged by keeping people interested and engaged. I was rescued by one of the participants. We were discussing the pitfalls of implementation, and she commented on how it is difficult to drive change like this through her organization. She said she felt that many times she pushed to change or improve, but did not see the change in her employees performance. She asked me what sort of things she needed to think about to drive change.
I asked her about her business strategy. She was very astute and could outline where her company was going and the key issues of focus in less than 2 minutes. I asked if this strategy was integrated into her operating plan. She said, “Yes of course everyone knows our strategy”. “How do they know it? I asked. “Well I talk about it all the time” she said. Her company has well over 100 employees, of which 50 operated remotely. I guessed that the chances of her speaking routinely to every employee were remote.
I asked about her talent management system, and heard about evaluations based on general behaviors, and bonus systems tied to sales and profits vs. specific goals and objectives. I asked her about her talent acquisition system. She asked me why it was relevant to the issue. I was not surprised to see she was having trouble driving change. The systems she has in place to manage her employees are not connected with her strategy. The hiring process did not take her strategy into consideration either, so the chances of hiring people qualified for and committed to the strategy would be hit or miss at best.
I began to explain that you get what you reward and you get the people you plan to hire. Talent management and acquisition drive strategy implementation. Some of the other CEOs at the table were nodding in agreement. Sadly in her case, she was not. She explained that she did not have time for “HR stuff” and that she needed to focus on bigger issues. We went back to the subject at hand, but I could not help wondering about that company and its long term chances at success. What do you think?