Published by Alice Snell, on 04/01/2009
Economic uncertainty reigns. But one thing you can depend on is the list of obligatory predictions as we close a disastrous 2008 and fearfully embark on 2009. Although most predictions are, well predictable—we’ve got roiling economic seas ahead—some are specific. Here’s some excerpts:
Herman Trend Alert: 2009 Workforce/Workplace Forecast includes:
Certain Skill Sets Continue to be in Short Supply.
Some Employers will make Serious Mistakes, Threatening their Very Survival.
Wise Companies will use this Time Well to Build Bench Strength.
Among Josh Bersin’s insights for 2009:
Succession Management Emerges as a Critical Issue.
By 2011, Organizations That Do Not Manage Their Employer Brands Effectively Will Fail to Attract Key Talent
…by 2013, More than 25 percent of the Content that Workers See in a Day will be Dominated by Pictures, Video or Audio
With an eye more toward what to do in 2009, a Taleo Research/HCI survey asked what will be your organization’s main focus in 2009.
It seems that 2009 will be a time to retain and motivate existing talent. That’s a good plan in the light of economic events. Now, as the calendar turns, we need to put the performance management practices—including career and succession planning—in place to make it so.
Managing uncertainty sounds like a contradiction in terms. Management is normally about order, planning, measuring, observing, calculating, reasoning: things that we can be certain of. But in times of change and turmoil, there may be no certainties, no definite ways to manage, no easy answers. That is why we need to develop a management approach that copes with the messy, the crazy, the illogical and the contradictory.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter probably described it best a few years ago when she said that the modern manager needs to be “an elephant that has learned how to dance”. In other words, firmly grounded in the right values and the right certainties but adaptable to changing times and the changing fears of customers and employees.
The following story is a good one to take us all through 2009. It’s called “You Never Know…”
The Sultan of Persia had sentenced two men to death.
One of the men, knowing how much the sultan liked his stallion, offered to teach the horse to fly within a year if the sultan would spare him his life.
The sultan, fancying himself as the rider of the only flying horse in the world, agreed.
“You’re mad,” said the other prisoner. “You know that horses can’t fly. You’re only putting off the inevitable.”
“Not so,” said the first prisoner. “I have four chances of escaping my sentence.
First, the sultan might die.
Secondly, I might die.
Thirdly, the horse might die.
And fourth…I might teach the horse to fly.”
Moral: Never be too certain of what the future holds.
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