The following article is from Seth Mattison. As Founder and Chief Movement Officer of FutureSight Labs, Seth advises many of the world’s leading companies on the key shifts happening around the future of work. He will kick off the second day of CAI’s 2015 HR Management Conference with his presentation TheFuture of Work Today: Insights from the New World of Work.
For most of the 20th Century the defining feature was stability. The world progressed along a linear line, predictable and steady. Markets grew. Technology advanced but at a pace that allowed for planning and implementation. Careers shared a similar story. One could work in the same field, industry, and company, even department throughout their entire adult life. The sequence was simple with recognizable career milestones along the way. Mail room to cubical, cubical to corner office, corner office to executive suite, one moved along a continuum of experiences and rewards.
Today’s world looks and feels different. With new demands from the marketplace and new expectations from talent, the traditional career path is being disrupted. The question is, with all of this transformation, whose job is it to create and chart clear career paths for talent today? Is the onus on the individual or is it the manager’s responsibility? In short, both parties have to own it today, but managers now have to carry more weight. The challenge is, the job of helping to chart those career paths used to be a lot easier.
Within the traditional hierarchal structure it was very clear where and when the next opportunity was, both for the team member and the manager. You could clearly “look up” and see your next move, however with roles and business models constantly evolving today it’s become a moving target. To chart a path today requires a manager who can ask deeper questions about where their talent wants to go and then tap their network to make the appropriate introductions. Of course individuals looking to make the move will have to own part of this equation as well. One has to be willing to pick up the phone. Follow through. Look to add value. Look to be of service to those around them.
But in order for career paths to truly open up though selfless managers have to be in place. Managers that are capable of developing talent yet willing to help them move on outside of their organization. That’s not always an easy pill to swallow. And for some, it’s not even on their radar. Recently I had a young person tell me she was struggling to make a move in her career at a large financial institution. Feeling stuck and stagnant, she no longer felt challenged in her current role. At the same time, she loved the organization and hoped to stay. Looking to make a move into a new area of the business, she reached out to her manager. After explaining her situation her manager responded by saying, “Oh we aren’t going to let you leave our group – you're too valuable to us!” and then quickly changed the subject. With no other option but to look outside of the organization, she was forced to take her talents and perspectives elsewhere. Not only was this manager not driving the conversation, she was literally shutting down the idea of this hi-po moving outside of her department. I call this “talent hoarding” and I see it everywhere.
If leaders today want to retain the best talent for their organizations, it will require them to be willing to not only let people go but in some cases help them go. As my good friend and business performance expert Ryan Estis says, “The best leaders today are connected, constantly evolving their networks, building bridges, and filling the gaps.” But the truth is, that’s a big ask of overstressed, overcommitted managers feeling the pressure to deliver results.
The question worth asking is what can HR do to support leaders in this new reality? World-class HR organizations elevate and celebrate leaders that selflessly grow and launch talent throughout the organization and in turn shift the leadership ethos from “Talent Hoarding” to “Career Launching”. What are you doing to celebrate the career launchers in your organization?
In addition to Seth, the 2015 HR Management Conference will feature three dynamic keynotes including David Ulrich, Dave Rendall and George Fleming. Please join us on March 4 and March 5 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. Visit www.capital.org/hrconf to view the complete agenda and read more about conference speakers. Register today!