1 + 1 = Success (The People Equation)

Author: Amy Lewis | Source: HCI | Published: January 18, 2011

“We managed the numbers because it’s easier.  We say we value people but we focus on the things we can track, we can inventory, we can show, and we can log in and out of.  We focus on stuff that matters, surely, but we are doing the thing of managing the measurable, rather than the meaningful.”

So says Nilofer Merchant, author of The New How, in a recent blog post on Harvard Business Review.  She goes on to say that “we still think people OR performance, when we ought to think people THROUGH performance... We continue to talk about people like cogs and numbers and inputs and outputs.  The cost of that is that we’re missing how to harness the power of people in our businesses.”

She further offers a recommendation: “describe people-y stuff in more economic language, by putting it in some context that will help our CFO and engineering friends better understand how things relate to one another.”  She describes this in the formula: S=PTC where S is Success, P is Purpose, T is Talent and C is Culture.

In talent management, the key challenge of our job in the modern workforce is to help business translate people, or talent, into performance.  This formula captures the essential elements to that translation.  But perhaps your organization prioritizes different facets of performance.  What’s your talent equation?

Certainly contract talent, in all its forms, must be part of that formula.  What influences when, how and why this segment of the workforce is used?  We’ll share new research on this topic and hear from H&R Block, LPL Financial and CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Alec Levenson, Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at University of Southern California, also weighs in on the most effective use of talent and shares how to build talent muscle for the recovery using human capital analytics.