Fistful of beans 01/19/2011

5 things I’ve seen, read, or thought might seed results:

1. The tussle for talent — The Economist

Successful companies integrate talent development with their broader strategy to ensure that companies are more than the sum of their parts.  P&G, for example, likes its managers to be both innovative and worldly: they cannot rise to the top without running operations in a country and managing a product globally. Agilent and Novartis like to turn specialists into general managers.

The risks of reaching for star performers and elitism has drawbacks:  in a rush to classify people, some companies may miss potential stars or those singled out for special treatment can become too full of themselves.

What might the world’s public sectors learn from such talent masters companies?

2. The 15 Most Hated Companies in America — The Atlantic

Rancor rankings on 6 criteria: (1) employee opinions; (2) return to shareholders; (3) customer surveys; (4) brand valuation; (5) press coverage; and (6) public opinion. These most hated companies are in no particular order.

View this nice pictorial, public relations nightmare.

3. Notes from Vader:  2 Proactive Ways to Tell Who’s Bolting After a Takeover/Acquisition — HR Capitalist

When it comes to a strategic acquisition the value of human capital in the due diligence as well as integration risk is huge.  This post looks at 2 ways to identify who may not plan to be part of your new synergized organization.  To paraphrase:

1. Get multiple data points down and across the organization on who we absolutely can’t lose in the company we just acquired.

2. Ask your OD and/HR folks to do an analysis of every one of those individuals using their LinkedIn profiles.

Bonus 3rd choice on the site

4. On Overconfidence — Seed Magazine

Confidence is vital even for the mundane activities of everyday life we take it for granted. But it also looms large whenever we try to explain achievements that are out of the ordinary. Confidence is widely held to be an almost magic ingredient of success in sports, entertainment, business, the stock market, combat and many other domains.

At the same time, confidence can be dangerous.  Confidence in excess—overconfidence—can easily burn out of control and cause costly errors from the 1990s dotcom bubble to the 2008 collapse of the banks.  Overconfidence breeds an “it won’t happen to me” perspective.

Do people learn from their mistakes?

5. New HP CEO Reprograms Strategy — Wall Street Journal

Insight into HP’s strategic planning strategy, including current constraints and opportunities, reveals insight into leadership transition.  A particularly interesting strategic change came with one of Leo Apotheker, HP’s current CEO, first moves was to restore merit raises and reverse pay cuts made during the depths of the recession.

Mark Hurd, HP’s previous CEO, is widely credited with building HP into the world’s largest tech company by revenue.  Mr. Hurd achieved this through cost cutting and acquisitions. But Mr. Hurd’s focus on operational efficiency left , an organization with little room for more cuts.

Freezing merit raises and pay cuts is a focus on operational efficiency, but protecting shareholders is not only a market or industry strategic decision, but a human capital decision.  This article highlights the role of leadership to maximize return on investment:  an employee’s investment.

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