The submerged part of people’s value

Organizations are always looking for new ways to reinvent their activity and find new approaches to optimize talent is a critical aspect of organizational performance.

Optimization of talent is crucial because the competitive battle is focused on best people, the true creators of value, value that grows as we encourages and develops collaboration and as we streamline the work and social networks.

“An enterprise that is constantly exploring new horizons is likely to have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent. When a once successful company runs aground and starts to list, its most talented employees usually don’t stick around to bail water, they jump ship. A dynamic company will have employees who are more engaged, more excited to show up to work every day, and thus more productive.”– Gary Hamel

It doesn’t seem difficult to imagine that a company that, in addition to be judicious in their hires, promotes the development of collaborative work grows and consolidates its strength on the market.

What happens is that the sets of talents in collaboration become a “machine” highly productive and creative.

Moreover, when a company, or its leaders, knows how to work these formal and informal networks of talent, they have access to their vital energy and can manage it according to the common interest.

Some of the key points of organizational development and behavior, such as the organizational hierarchical structures, are now developing and facilitating talent networks.

But this new perspective to deal with the performance of individuals is not easy to understand and develop. Often the performance assessment is based on individual responsibility, although today most of the work in companies can be a collaborative workspace. More, what were the workflows and decision-making processes are not today reflect a spirit of collaboration, co creation and innovation culture.

Sometime ago I wrote on this blog:

“According to Tim Kastelle, if we seek to manage innovation within an organization (environment) is easier to be effective if we understand how networks work. For this we need to do an analysis of how networks work and try to understand how people connect with each other and how the knowledge is shared between them.

This methodology used by Tim Kastelle (“Innovation Leadership Network”)  not only allows us to detect the flow of information, but also to verify if there are people who do not have connections, and from there try to establish procedures so that they can be improved or reworked. This analysis seems to me to be extremely useful when you have differentiated physical and distant spaces where the physical contact of persons does not exist and therefore needs a more understanding facilitated by observation of maps.”

So, in this changing environment, it is important to take conscience of formal and informal networks of talent that companies incorporate and try, through its mapping, to define where improve collaboration of its elements, through talent management processes, always bearing in mind the environment of diversity driver of wealth that networks represent.

What’s true in nature is true in business—a lack of diversity limits the ability of a species to adapt and change.

Problem is, the gene pool at the top of many companies is a stagnant pond. The executive committee is usually comprised of long serving veterans whose experiences and attitudes are more alike than different. Homogeneity has its virtues—it facilitates communication and speeds decision-making—but it also limits a company’s ability respond to unconventional threats and opportunities.” – Gary Hamel

An analysis of the organizational network mapping and its diversity can help managers to see the specific types of relationships and collaborations that enable employees to become more effective and to know what are their broader contributions of collaboration for the organization.

A recent study titled, “Building a Well-Networked Organization” and featured in Mit Sloan Management Review provides us with an interesting hypothesis (adaptation) for the identification of some “types” of talent we can find in organizations and from which we can try to map networks. They are:

High-performing talent – They are people who tend to excel individually while at the same time developing, leveraging and contributing to their networks and those of selected others within or outside their organization. Personal relationships help them extend their expertise and avoid learning biases by tapping into pockets of knowledge and accessing valuable resources across their networks.

Marginalized talent – Are collaborators with low score in both individual performance and contributions of the network.

The effectiveness of marginalized employees can often be improved through either performance management processes or individual development plans that create an informal network connecting them to critical organizational segments.

Hidden talent – Although they may make significant contributions to their colleagues in ways that benefit the organization, they don’t appear on the top talent lists and usually aren’t considered for promotions or plum project assignments.

Underutilized talent – Many organizations have a surprisingly large group of employees who are in the top performance category but who make relatively little collaborative contribution. In some cases, this is both appropriate and deliberate. For example, it’s common for companies to limit the amount of time scientists and engineers spend in meetings and committee work; making modest changes in the way they collaborate can keep critical talent focused while adding to knowledge flow in the network.

I think that an approach to resources/talent, through collaborative networks of enterprises, which can be mapped as suggested, transforms the perspective of the company’s value presented by traditional methodologies in something very surprising.

What do you think of this?

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8 Responses to Mapping networks and talent in organizations

  1. Rowan Norrie says:

    Great article Jose. Underutilised talent is one of the biggest areas of utapped resource open to a company. This comes in the form of people who are not being stretched in their roles, but also those who have hidden talents that the company (the individual?) does not recognise and make use of.

    • Jose Baldaia says:

      Hi Rowan!
      Thank you for your comment!
      Yes! Underutilised talent is a source of wealth that deserves to be further worked for the benefit of employees and businesses. I think it’s often a matter of calling attention to hierarchies

  2. We are working on similar projects at ATOS.But we get a lot of resistance from people working at middle level.It could be a slow process, and we can loose good talented people on the way..Regards Antonio

    • Jose Baldaia says:

      Hello Antonio,
      Thanks for the comment!
      My experience also tells me that the intermediate managers are usually a major obstacle to change and innovation and that is why I like to initiate actions for change at these levels.
      The processes of “contagion of good ideas” in hierarchies ultimately give good results.

  3. Martin Duval says:

    Agree Jose, Open and Collaborative Innovation is definitely about exactly that.
    To extend on it (and also address Antonio’s point), i could say that we see coming the need to bring new skills to Top and Middle managers to learn how to deal with this new way to ‘manage’. On of the things we provide for instance, is to learn how to become an ‘Innovation Community’ manager: mapping is one of the steps and then it is also about how to manage the ‘communities’ so that they are the most active to contribute to needs for ideas, problem solving, feedback, etc. We even have developed a Serious Game to train organisations on how to become more collaborative (looking for untapped talents outside and inside the company) while managing an innovation project >

    • Jose Baldaia says:

      Hello Martin!
      Thank you for you comments!
      I agree with you on the need to bring middle managers to learn new “things”. They are frequently a problem when we want to implement something new.
      Thank you for the link
      Best regards

  4. Jose,

    Nice job pulling together ideas that are bubbling with a number of people who look at the way we are networked and how that is changing the world. I’d highlight also that we are changing from a “what is known” paradigm to “who know about…” model. In “what is known” we have a library of books or a big internal database of papers on various subjects. In “who knows about…” we have social media networks, internal or external, that let us know who is an expert on the subject we need to learn about, or who might give us a quick answer to a problem. It won’t be knowledge filtered and captured on pages months or years ago, but what is known right now. It might be the result of a search, but the outcome will be a personal profile that lets us see what we have in common, or who can introduce us to just the person we need to know. And once those relationships are made, there is a mini-network of people who know who knows about the subject who can continuously amplify their knowledge. If they capture that exchange in a blog (!!!) the exchange is searchable for someone outside the network. Jose, didn’t we meet on a Tweet chat last week? Relationships at the speed of data.

    Anyway this article is just what I needed to spark my thinking about an assignment I’m tackling tomorrow, so we’re in the middle of an example of what you discussed above. And that includes our colleagues who added their comments as well.

    • Jose Baldaia says:

      Hi Karen!
      Thanks for your valuable comment!
      I agree that knowledge is not filtered and that the result will always be according to our own profile and it is important to emphasise this.
      There is another aspect that is important too (I think) and it has to do with the maturity of our network, that is, as we consolidate our points of contact, we have established a common language facilitator of relationship and knowledge transfer.

      Glad to have helped spark your thinking!


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