Archive: February 2010

Workforce Planning – Clint Style

February 19th, 2010

For some reason as leaders we have it in our heads that work must get done a certain way. Yes, we all embrace expense management tools that keep our costs flexible. We have been educated to use a contingent workforce. A blend of temporaries, contractors, outsourcing or co-sourcing to manage the ebbs and flows of work, and frankly workers, is a necessity today. Peaks and troughs get steeper and come with ever increasing frequency. Leaders need to do anything and everything to keep ahead of the curve.

Yet we have short memories. We have big egos. Leaders never forget the pain and challenge of reducing staff, right? It sticks with us for a long time. Have you ever gone to a funeral and been so moved that you spend days talking about living life to the fullest and that our “problems” of the day are not really problems at all? That lasts for few days… How about your News Years Resolutions? I just saw a statistic that less than 30% of folks are still sticking to their resolutions for the year and it is only 6 weeks into the year. I think you get my point. It is the human condition; we survive by moving on.

We follow a similar path with how we staff our organizations. Successful leaders are optimists. It is how we attract talent, investors, customers. We are successful because of this outlook and view of the world. As things get better we will hire more staff. We will get jazzed and intoxicated about business again. We will take our eye off the payroll and headcount figures we now review weekly.

Right now the US economy is in a recovery, albeit slowly. My words might even seem silly; however things will creep along and continue to improve. Some day you will forget. The time is now to plan to do it differently. Never has their been a better time to keep your business more flexible, adaptable and responsive. We are all testing new business models right? We are driving top line while we micromanage expenses. Your staff has never been more open and accepting of change. Oh, how survival brings people together against there common enemy.

And you know what the workforce expects it. People understand that they must fend for themselves & manage their own careers Clint Eastwood Style, but are you ready to embrace it? Or will traditional mindsets and more about work and careers drive you to repeat the over-hiring mistakes of the past.

The leader than learns the lesson will win. Pure and simple.

Today’s Workplace Realities!

February 10th, 2010

Some lessons are hard to learn; others hard to remember. There are some definite old and new realities of the workforce and the workplace. Go back a few decades and imagine your favorite Clint Eastwood movie. Clint is riding into town on his trusty horse, what do you see? Blacksmiths, General Store Owners, Saloon Proprietors and, of course, the town Undertaker.
There is a common thread to their careers; they had to manage them on their own. Even a hired gunslinger was 100% responsible for their career path. Clint made it work. These were the original entrepreneurs. As leaders and business owners today we have to help employees today embrace this “old, new” way to manage their careers. We do this by running our companies with flexible approach to getting work done. This is your competitive advantage today; you have one in place now right?

We all know that eventually Clint’s world changed. Cities grew around the Industrial Revolution. People moved to the cities in droves to improve their lot in life. They gave up career control and gained good wages. Over time career path, quality of life, benefits and retirement became perks for this new way to work. And for many, many decades it worked famously — 30 years and the gold watch. It became the American dream. Ask the workforce today and they know they must manage their own careers! The workforce knows that loyalty is a promise that business can no longer live up to. Why? Because people are outliving companies.

What happened to the parental company? The speed of change in business used to be manageable. The world was small. Competition somewhat limited. Then it all changed; the world got smaller, technology makes us faster all of the time. Communication is now instant. Competition? We all know; it is everywhere. We should study history in order to make sense of the present.

As competitive as finding work is today with 6 people for every job there is a real opportunity to think differently about your career.

    – Do you have a career agent to help guide you through this new world?
    – Are you taking steps to improve your skills?
    – Are you thinking like an entrepreneur?

When Clint road through town, each small business owner saw the opportunity in starting their saloon or store. They were in control of their career. Are you?

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