CATFORD – Haven’t blogged in ages. Apologies to those who have been waiting by their inbox wringing their hands.

The past six months have been about working with the boards of 3 companies on their brands. What’s interesting is that in two of the cases the work began under the banner of employee communication or talent management issues – and then migrated rapidly into full-fledged corporate strategy efforts.  The other started as brand, put people at the heart of it, and is now playing catch up with aligning its People Proposition.

I’ve always liked the saying “If you think like a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.”  We’re all guilty of it.  Nonetheless, when speaking with the CEOs, COOs, Chief People Officers and other board members, the topic of conversation almost invariably drifted form “easy strategy” (defining markets, operating models, value propositions, targets, growth…) to “hard strategy” – that is, talent and people engagement.

I believe for people who are able to connect true strategy to the people agenda there will be a heady 5-10 years ahead.  Once again, what will separate the wheat from the chaff will be the ability, confidence and competence to be a systems thinker rather than a mile-deep, inch-wide specialist.  None of my conversations had a thing to do with employee surveys, channels, social media, how to write good headlines. Competence at those mechanisms and techniques will prove important, of course. The questions instead focused on how do we, and what do we need to do in order to, create an environment where our people can embrace, drive and deliver on our ambitions as an organisation so our people, clients/customers and communities thrive.


One thought on “Strategy

  1. I think we all appreciate that there’s gold in them thar hills, Kevin. There’s a huge gap in the market for ‘installable’ line processes for genuine upward communication and dialogue. I think we need to build a corpus of good practice within organisations that have the appetite for systematic review, for everyone in more straightened organisations to point to. HSBC has something good going on in that space.

    I’d only add, I think there’s likely to be a divergence in the medium term, between people who ‘do’ instrumental organisation well, and people who ‘do’ ethical organisation well (and the rest, who manage neither, or make a fudge of both). How does that sound?

    Oh, and nice apologia! (swidt?)

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