To avoid talent management failure and maximise effective resource use, organisations need to avoid three delusions:

  1. that talent activities constitute strategy
  2. that identifying talent does not need validation
  3. that transfer and application practices are an optional ‘add-on’ activity.

In an article published in the Feb 2012 issue of HR Director, The three delusions of TM …, ASK Managing Director Dr Anton Franckeiss shows that, if they are to ensure their talent management strategies operate at the intersection of individual and organisational development, organisations need to see talent management as change management that helps individuals develop into the roles that will be required.

Download a full copy of the article (PDF format) or go to our Elsewhere page to download any of our other press articles.

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Ah yes, January. Bit of an opinion divider as months go. Some of us are raring to go, all ‘out with the old and in with the new’ – purging ourselves of brandy butter and port, and filling the void with earnest resolutions. Some of us are closer in sentiment to an old Flanders and Swann song:

Dark November brings the fog/Should not do it to a dog.
Freezing wet December, then/Bloody January again!

My own take on resolutions is probably closer in spirit to an Oscar Wilde quote – “The basis of optimism is sheer terror”. The spur to think about changing things springs predominantly from the horror of the idea of more of the same old same old. Which in turn requires a modicum of awareness that things could at the very least be different, and possibly better. Faced with thinking or feeling “Uh oh, here we go again”, one answer is to go somewhere different.


Dr Anton FranckeissDescribed – almost before it had finished – on Twitter by one attendee as “excellent discussions, networking and thought-provoking keynote sessions at the BAFTA headquarters today”, we’re hugely proud to say that the ASK/MDA Breakfast Briefing was as glittering as its surroundings.

With over 100 people in attendance, the thought-provoking keynote sessions were delivered by Dave Roycroft, Global People Development Consultant at Invesco Ltd (who shared a platform with ASK’s Elaine Wilson, highlighting the success of the company’s Investment Leadership Program and the role of ASK’s tASK simulation), and Pat Taylor of the National Audit Office, who outlined the progress of NAO’s Direct Programme, where the organisation has partnered with an ASK Project team led by Naysan Firoozmand to design and deliver a comprehensive assessment and development programme to identify, select and develop staff within the company with the greatest potential to be promoted to Director within 24 months.

The keynote sessions were followed by breakout sessions, led by consultants from both ASK and MDA:

We’ve added a photo gallery that captures just some of the moments from the morning’s events, but we’d very much welcome the feedback of those that attended – please just add a comment to this post to let us know elements of the sessions you valued the most.

If you weren’t able to attend, but would like to know more about ASK’s offerings in any of these areas, please contact us.

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A few days ago, I was one of a group of 15 or so that were treated to a guided tour of the factory of an internationally renowned UK company that produces(amongst other things) amplifiers for musicians. The group largely compromised people working in IT-based roles, including web design and 3d modelling. Although the company we were visiting undoubtedly scores high on the ‘cool place to visit and get shown around’ scale, it was interesting to watch the group’s reactions on the ‘I was expecting digital everything’ scale – especially as a guitar player. (And even as a guitar player who has loyally used a different brand of amplifier for decades, but never mind …)

Apart from premium range products that are entirely hand-wired (and there are a surprising number of wires – and transistors and diodes and capacitors and so on – in an amplifier), production processes have adapted to the time-saving, productivity enhancing approaches that technological advances have brought about. There’s an undeniable logic: given a pattern to work to (just as a human operator would be), a machine can make considerably more solder joints per minute. Another machine – albeit a large, complicated and expensive one – can assemble a large, complicated circuit board much more quickly too. The time side of the triangle gets drastically shortened, the quality side is unaffected, and decisions to automate can be made on the basis of cost equations (how soon would the investment cover its costs, what are on-going costs of maintenance and upgrades, etc.)


There’s been quite a lively debate at Business Week, where two contributors – and a long list of commenters – indulged in some weighty mutual executive briefcasing (handbagging just didn’t sound right) in response to the question: “Multi-dimensional organisational design (Matrix) is the best way to restructure a business. Pro or con?”

In the Pro corner, Jay Galbraith argues for the value, inherent merit and – in today’s trading environment – the inevitability of the victory of a collaborative approach over a command and control variety. In the Con corner, Guido Quelle sees matrix organisations as painfully slow, lacking clarity and clear lines of responsibility. Verbal bruisings have been administered and received on both sides but there’s been no knock-out punch: anyone hoping to see the late, grand old man, Peter Drucker holding the limp wrist of one argument aloft and counting to ten would be disappointed.


Sorry for the rather un-festive title, but it’s triggered by reading a fascinating article at Harvard Business Review’s blog – Employees See Death When You Change Their Routines. It seems our sense of mortality is built on three pillars – consistency, standards of justice and culture – that the authors (James R Bailey and Jonathan Raelin) describe as existential buffers. The authors cite examples of actions that can undermine each of these, but the essential message – change knocks away one or more of those pillars and reminds us that all things (including, most importantly, our self and our sense of self) are transitory. Change is therefore perceived as threatening, and it is understandable that we therefore respond with ‘fight or flight’.

It’s a story of investment, in an emotional and psychological sense. Aware of our own mortality, we play down our own fears by using culture (in the broadest sense) to give us a sense of meaning, organisation and continuity, and to create feelings of belonging, security and self-esteem. Provided, of course, that we engage with and buy into the cultural values and standards in question. (And even those who see themselves as ‘outsiders’ have a perceived sense of something that they are outside: you can’t be outside something you don’t see as being there.)


It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it ...From some recent posts, you might think we were either consistently sceptical about the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) or picking on them for some social media kudos. We do understand the merits of keeping our fingers on the zeitgeist and cutting a certain profile, even if we haven’t necessarily mastered it (a quick ‘back of a calculator’ moment indicates we’re 9,250 hours short of the mythically required 10,000 hours), so today we are going to use the ‘f’ word in the opening paragraph. Yes, fairness. And we’re going to applaud John Philpott, CIPD’s Chief Economist. You might want to sit down.

At CIPD’s Annual Conference in Manchester, delegates heard employment minister Chris Grayling calling for employers – and their HR functions – to support the government in providing ‘good work’ and to support the Government’s Work Programme. (As you would imagine, there’s been commentary: here and here, for example.)



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