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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Talent management has become complex, it is no more complicated

What is common in these 3 cases:

Casy, age 24, passed out his CA this year in his second attempt. He has been giving interviews for last three weeks. Frustrated in not getting the desired job in corporate, he approached me with this question, ' After doing CA, how can i not get the job i want?'

Jabbar , age 31, sincere hard worker and a bright student, has been working in a big software organisation after passing out from a top Engineering institute.  He met me last year. His constant disappointment in his work has been 'job satisfaction', despite, as he says, working harder. He has changed two jobs in last 6 years for that. 

Anil, age 42, considers himself to be a successful professional. He is a GM in a manufacturing organisation, which is not common at this age. He owns a house in Pune, has two cars for his family, goes for a holiday every year to foreign destination.  He is wondering if he has succeeded too early in life and wonders what to do next, because as he says there is no 'mountain to scale'

All three were expecting to cruise on 'auto-pilot'. Casy thought that a good job is his birthright after going through the gruel of doing CA. Jabbar thought that job satisfaction is automatic if he works diligently and sincerely. Anil expected to see the next 'mountain' once he scaled the earlier mountain. If they had asked their fathers' advice, their fathers would have not been able to help them.

Our fathers got jobs quite comfortably in earlier days. In those days, if one did a CA, one's life was made for good. The demon of job satisfaction was never seen, because in earlier days, one moved from one job to another only for higher salary or positions, not for job satisfaction. Fathers did not face the challenge of Anil, because they spend their entire life trying to find 'adequate' food and shelter for their family.

Today everything has changed. Job markets have changed. Even employers can chose the best, the choice they earlier lacked. That is why like Casy, even Engineers, lawyers and first class graduates, find it difficult to get jobs they want.  However, like his employers, Casy also has many options: he can work with a company, a NGO or as a free-lance. However, to exploit this advantage, he must first equip himself with a new rule-set.

 Expectations have changed due to comparison with colleagues and due to easy information on internet. But without the new rule-set of  'how to find job satisfaction in a job', many professionals like Jabbar still struggle to find 'job satisfaction't. Aspirations have changed because of overall financial security, however we still do not know how to 'fulfill' those aspirations because we do not know how to work with our mind to 'know what we want'. Unable to work with mind, Anil is flooded with market opportunities, unable to choose the next mountain. Unlike his father who never got opportunities, Anil is facing the problem of 'too many opportunities'  at too early an age.

What are these three cases pointing towards? Talent Management is no more complicated, it has become complex. A complicated problem can be solved by using the same methods and techniques more efficiently. When a problem is complicated, one needs to do more of the same. One has to just try harder.  One can follow simple older rules of talent management such as work hard, work sincerely, be motivated, have a goal or build network. One can simply learn 'on the job' and hope things work out.

A complex problem however requires a different 'mind-set', a different 'rule-set', both to 'identify' the problem and then to 'resolve' it. Because the rules of game have changed, only learning from the problem is not enough, one has to learn before the problem appears. You need a new mind-set as well as rule set to manage your talent over a life time. Your father's rule-sets won't help you any more.

Casy for instance has to 'anticipate' the problem of getting the job after CA and prepare in advance; if he waits, not only the opportunity slips but as he gets more frustrated in not getting the desired job he makes more mistakes. Jabbar has to understand that the problem in Stage II of competency building ( Please read this to understand the different stages of talent unfolding) is best negotiated 'by being with one employer', not by changing employers. Infact, changing employers worsens his problem of job satisfaction even more !

And Anil has to learn the new ways of migrating from Stage III - Competency convergence to Stage IV of talent embedding. And worse still, he has to understand this 20 years before Nandan Nilekani did. Or what Arun Maira did at the age of 66. Anil has to perhaps learn from Kaushik Basu who learnt to use his talent for higher purpose much earlier than others, at the age of 40+.

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