There is a lot of rhetoric out there about finding people with the right combination of knowledge, skills, and attributes or KSAs, and then understanding how particular sets of KSAs need to work together to complete projects. Part of the confusion centers around finding these mixes of talent. Do these people come from the recruiting process, are they people within the organization whom we can train, or are there people on other teams within the organization who might have a skill mismatch and would perform brilliantly on another project?
Some management research and instructional elements don’t help as with this example of Combo Mumbo Jumbo. “In an effort to establish a career and talent combination mechanism, an empirical analysis was conducted of the performance level of the administration of the senior executive knowledge base, both accredited and non-accredited, skill expertise, both innate and acquired, and the internality of individualistic attributes.” Seriously? Is that even legal in your state?
Having teams with the right combination of talents isn’t rocket science or combo mumbo jumbo. The answer to the question in the first paragraph is yes. The right combination of talent can come from either inside or outside your organization. Let’s review.
Certainly no one individual has the mix of talent it takes to grow a profitable business. A solopreneur has no other talent rooted in their company to draw on except his or her own. This is where the business owner must build an advisory board or master mind group to help the business grow and prosper. These people can be trusted friends, family members, and colleagues. Even though you think you may know these individuals, it is recommended to give each person you are considering an assessment. After all, there are stories of people who are married for 50 years who really don’t know one another. Assessments can reveal a lack of the talent you need, a hidden talent you didn’t know the person has, and it can reveal red flags in terms of time wasters and motivation.
While leadership may have a larger pool to draw from, the question is how do we make the right selections? Again, assessments can play a key role in putting a project team together who have the right combination of talents. Assessments can also reveal the level of interpersonal skills of each team member. An individual may be talented, yet be unable to get along with others or is a prima donna or any other interpersonal dysfunctions we humans tend to harbor. Now the question becomes, is this person worth the risk? This requires brutal honesty on the part of leadership.
While people are fundamental to achieving success, there are other considerations to avoid combo mumbo jumbo.
- ·To ensure that leadership has an understanding of the organization’s status, conduct a S.W.O.T. This will help reveal exactly what the company needs in terms of talent.
- ·Analyze your competition. What talent do they have? What strategies do they have, that you don’t have for driving success?
- ·Is your culture healthy? Peter Drucker said that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Stop for a minute and contemplate the importance of that statement and how it might apply to your organization.
- ·Consider the gaps you might have in terms of talent that you need to meet your strategic goals. How long will it take to ramp this talent up if you don’t have it on board currently. Even finding someone with the right talents internally may not guarantee an immediate kick off to your project. Individuals may require training to update or polish their KSAs.
- ·Consider hiring a consultant, trainer, or some other outside talent. Be sure to consider your culture and if that person is a good fit for yours.
- ·Monitoring progress will help to make any necessary changes quickly and with the least disruption to the project and team.
- ·Look for people who may have a combination of talent. For example, some people can see the big picture and be able to deal with details. There are people who are highly accurate, detail oriented and have great interpersonal skills. There are people who are assertive able to drive results, yet have the ability to influence others.
- ·If hiring is required to pull in talent, be sure that your ads, position descriptions, and hiring process target the right combination of talent your culture, strategies, and projects require.
A line from the poem entitled The Congo, by Vacel Lindsay is “Mumbo Jumbo will hoodoo you.” This “hoodoo” can be prevented. It may take some time, detective work, and analysis to find the right combination of people and talents. However, these tools and strategies can help reduce the confusion that often surroundsthe combo mumbo jumbo conundrum. Just remember that…Any and all endeavors in the above suggested rhetoric have the potential to accommodate, stabilize, and internalize strategic initiatives to dignify and ratify any currently deficiencies in the organizations human capital management. Say What? Whatever!