Thursday, 27 October 2011

Employers Employ People in their Own Image.

In running an HND unit in employability skills and team building recently we discussed the anomaly of  homogeneous teams being the norm as opposed to balanced teams or heterogeneous teams.

In Meredith Belbin's model a performing team is said to be best composed of different personalities and skill sets - diversity is the aim for a performing team. Why do we see so many teams that have the opposite. Corporate organisations often recruit on "team fit" which means people recruit in their own image or to fit in with what we have already.

There are all sorts of issues around this including some typical recruitment nightmares for job seekers. One trend seems to be if you haven't been doing the similar role in very recent times recruiting managers don't want to know.  Another is the "recruiting in your own image" where line managers view people like themselves and   consciously or subconsciously reject people on initial CV search that don't fit the norm or mould - i.e. they recruit existing industry players who work for big corporate organisations  like themselves, rejecting people from outside their industry or ex freelancers and contractors because they don't understand their backgrounds, lifestyles and CVs. What a missed opportunity this is for getting in some fresh ideas and approaches!

The result here is all sorts of anti diversity behaviours and in some cases quite discriminatory certainly from an ageism perspective let alone anything worse. This narrow approach isn't complementary to the Belbin approach is it?

So many ex-colleagues and associate consultants  tell us anecdotes of corporate short sightedness resulting in rejection at a very early stage of the exhausting recruitment process.

Most are older employees who said to us that they where told that they don't fit in with the team profile by recruiting managers in their thirties, or that their skills are not recent, even though most of these people held senior roles in these skill sets earlier in their careers with seriously success records behind them.

So is this naivety or is it  protectionism by younger managers worried about employing older workers or challenging individuals from outside the industry  who might perhaps know more or be in fact more competent than them?

The resulting insular and non performing teams in many of Britain's larger corporate organisations is a significant concern in any organisational design.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Taking Time To Think

What is the main barrier to business design?

At a recent delivery of  an in house Business Architecture course in Northampton in the UK delegates said " Not having time to think and be creative due to the pressures of delivery".

Thinking time and a culture that accepts it as a worthwhile pursuit is a really important factor in designing and doing the right business change programmes . Thinking time is work - trust me!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Design or Evolution

Most large corporate organisations are what they are. They evolve through: change acquisition merger and the purchase of customer portfolios. Business architecture seeks to change this by putting in place intelligent design; defining an end state based on an assessment of strategy and gaps from the "As Is".

If we step back a moment this is a bit like Darwinism versus Intelligent design; evolution seems to have worked well for biology in creating organisms that are highly adapted to the environment; most highly efficient and effective until a change brings extinction of a species.

So if evolution is good enough for life on earth why doesn't this work in business or does it?

The issue is that the larger corporate bodies are sheltered some what from environmental change due to their size and brand dominance and it only when a major change event that the "water level" is lowered and the "rocks" start to appear to "hole the hull".

The issue is also that over many years change was a bit steady and the survival pressures and survival of the fittest didn't hit too many larger companies. Until of course when major events like the banking crisis meant to extend the analogy here "an asteroid hit the planet" in late 2008 and caused a mass extinction.

SMEs seem to work better or more easily in a evolutionary environment but when you get bigger a future must be crafted and planned not just allocated to survival of the fittest and  business evolution based on Darwinism.

In business, intelligent design seems a much more sensible approach than sitting back and allowing fate to govern your future. So why do so many big companies just morph and evolve and effectively unknowingly "hope for the best"? -Answer- Do some business Architecture!