La guerra por el talento y la oferta de valor

Mucho se ha hablado y se ha escrito sobre la Guerra por el Talento. Por décadas, muchos se han dedicado a preguntarse y ocuparse por descubrir dónde y con quien están los mejores, cómo los atraemos, cómo nos los “robamos”. Es casi visto como una presea de oro. Pocos han sido los que se han preocupado a fondo por crear una organización magnética. Y son menos aún los que lo han logrado. Pocos son los que puede presumir que sus sistemas, sus procesos, su gente, su marca, su imagen, y su presencia social son su mejor campaña publicitaria para atraer talentos. Bien por ellos, y bien por los que van por ese camino!

Quienes lo han logrado, saben que la batalla por el talento ya no está solamente afuera. Saben que la batalla no consiste en salir a robarse a los mejores, sino en crear y mantener una organización a donde los mejores lleguen, casi, por si solos. Hoy en día, salir a “robarse” gente, con practicas canibalistas, es visto como poco ético y de mal gusto. Hay quienes incluso dicen no a los talentos generados por la competencia directa. La nueva tendencia es NO al canibalismo, SI a crear relaciones constructivas en el creciente y competido mercado del talento. SI a la identificación y formación de talentos tempranos (management trainees). SI a las superestrellas, pero a las superestrellas con los pies bien plantados sobre la tierra y con una ética profesional a prueba de balas. SI a comprender que la oferta de valor para formar, atraer y retener a los mejores talentos consiste en la suma de todas las partes de una organización, y que es, indiscutiblemente, la estrategia a seguir para obtener el éxito sostenido.

Lizette Ibarra, CEO & Sr. Partner Bleumind

A crash course in leadership

Most managers face a critical moment when they can no longer rely on their professional skills to climb the career ladder. They have to let go of everything they know and allow others to take the reins.

Some say this feels like “the ground opening up beneath them.” All certainties disappear and you have to master a whole new set of skills. If you have built your career on ticking off a to-do list every day, this can be terrifying. With no tasks to achieve, no evidence of “adding value,” you might wonder whether you have a job at all. Your confidence hits a low point just when you need it (and need to show it) most.

So what is it like to be in this position? And what can you do when, on top of all this uncertainty, your boss asks you to show more leadership? What does this mean? If you are lucky, you might find a mentor or be sent on an executive education course. But more likely, you will have to learn what you can from your colleagues or trawl the hundreds of business books on leadership.

While I am a great fan of Peter Senge, Warren Bennis, Stephen Covey, et al., I suspect they are not really practical for busy managers at this point in their careers. Can you really become a resonant, authentic, Level 5, or white-water leader when everyone is watching your first tentative steps toward leadership?

It is in this spirit that I have compiled my own rough, easy to consume guide to leadership. It is based on hundreds of coaching conversations with managers facing this difficult transition and consists of five practical steps:

  1. Be aware. Understand yourself and your context. Know your own strengths, limitations, and development needs. If you don’t have time to build your skills, bring people into your team who will complement you. Be aware of the organization and the people you are leading. If you have moved from a start-up to an established organization, for example, the people and the rules of engagement will be very different.
  2. Have a plan. Know where you are going. One great definition of leadership is to have followers. If you cannot create a sense of the future, no one can follow you.
  3. Build relationships. Give more of yourself. A leader has to get things done through others, so people skills are critical. Take time to get to know your peers, bosses, and subordinates. Talk less, listen more, and remember the details of what people say. Investing time to understand the roles, ideas, and personalities of those around you will yield a strong network, corporate allies, motivated staff, and personal goodwill.
  4. Deliver. Get things done. Whatever your line of business, you need to show the results of your leadership. So whether it’s a better product, an improved service, a higher profit or share price, make sure you deliver.
  5. Have integrity. Get your values right. Your values define who you are and why others should work for you. The important point here is that values should be lived, not written down or occasionally talked about. Show by your own example that honesty, truth, transparency, respect, and sustainability matter.

These are the key principles of leadership as far as I can see. Do you agree? Is this an oversimplification or a welcome streamlining of a subject that has become far too academic? Is it time for a campaign to demystify leadership or will it always remain complex and challenging?

Gill Corkindale, Source: Harvard Business Publishing


Hire people who disagree with you

John Baldoni, Source: Harvard Business Publishing

Emma Sky is a British pacificist dedicated to getting the U.S. out of Iraq. In 2007 she also became a key aide to General Ray Ordierno, the operational commander of U.S. forces. “People always thought we were funny,” she tells Thomas Ricks in his book, The Gamble, “this huge man (Ordierno is 6’5) and this tiny British woman who went everywhere with him.” Sky represented a civilian sensibility and voiced oppositional views that she felt senior officers needed to hear. Ordierno once referred to Sky has “my insurgent.”

Credit Ordierno, as Ricks does, for realizing that he needed someone who could be “his opposite” (Sky’s words). In this instance, Ordierno was following the example of his boss, General David Petraeus, who surrounded himself with an assortment of military and civilian aides. This “brain trust,” as Ricks calls it, would provide him with the different perspectives so vital to running a counter-insurgency operation.

Leaders who solicit opinions from people who disagree with them are smart enough to realize that they do not have all the answers. Such leaders also must make it safe for others to disagree; otherwise the exercise is moot. Here are some things to consider when hiring for difference.

Look for character.

From a leadership position, character is the willingness to do what is right for the team. Every team needs people who will stand up for their ideas. That requires backbone. Integrity and virtue are also essential, but what matters is not what you are, it is what you do . Character is leadership put to good purpose.

Look for strength of ideas.

It is not enough to disagree; executives need alternate viewpoints that are based on facts as well as reason. Good ideas that are contrary to the boss’s ideas must be carefully thought-out, supported by data, and argued from a viewpoint of doing what is best for stakeholders.

Look for ambition.

When bringing on someone who disagrees with you, or at least is not afraid to do so, make sure they have an ambition to move up in the organization. They aren’t just contrarian; they want to make a positive difference, and they’re in it for the long haul.

Look at their track record.

I have yet to see a recruitment advertisement that says, “Wanted: People to Disagree with Boss.” So look for managers who have shepherded projects to positive ends when the odds were against them. For example, if they achieved something in the face of new competition, diminished resources, or even organizational change, these are indicators of an ability to think and act for themselves.

Hiring someone who is opposed to your ideas is not the same as hiring someone who is opposed to you. The former is a good thing; the latter is a threat. The latter will disrupt the team in order to achieve his personal ambitions at your expense. Such a person will cause more grief than glory — so keep him on a short leash or ask him to find work elsewhere. In any organization, the designated leader must have the final say in strategic decisions, otherwise the organization loses focus and direction.

Having a strong oppositional voice is the mark of good leadership. Rather than a sign of weakness, it demonstrates force of character and the ability to think and act strategically. More importantly, oppositional views can clarify the leader’s own thinking, sometimes changing his mind, other times sharpening a course of action.

And while ultimately, the leader still has to make the final call, encouraging others to voice opposing views enables the organization to be more adaptable and more agile — and will help you make better decisions as a leader.


Dynamic management: Better decisions in uncertain times

Lowell Bryam, Source: Forbes

The economic shock of 2008, and the Great Recession that followed, didn’t just create profound uncertainty over the direction of the global economy. They also shook the confidence of many business leaders in their ability to see the future well enough to take bold action.

It’s not as if we don’t know how to make good decisions under uncertainty. The U.S. Army developed scenario planning and war gaming in the 1950s. And advanced quantitative techniques, complete with decision trees and probability-based net-present-value (NPV) calculations, have been taught to MBA students since the 1960s. These approaches are extraordinarily valuable amid today’s volatility, and many well-run companies have adopted them, over the years, for activities such as capital budgeting.

Here’s the challenge: Coping with uncertainty demands more than just the thoughtful analysis generated by these approaches (which, in any event, are rarely employed for all the business decisions where they would be useful). Profound uncertainty also amplifies the importance of making decisions when the time is right–that is to say, at the moment when the fog has lifted enough to make the choice more than a crap shoot, but before things are clear to everyone, including competitors.

Over the past year or so, progressive strategists have been undertaking noble experiments (such as shorter financial-planning cycles) while dropping the pretense that they can make reasonable assumptions about the future (for some examples, see “Navigating the new normal: A conversation with four chief strategy officers”). My sense, though, is that achieving truly dynamic management will prove elusive for most organizations until they can figure out how to get their senior leadership (say, the top 150 managers) working together in a fundamentally different way. The knowledge, skill, and experience of these leaders make them better suited than anyone else to act decisively when the time is right. Such executives are also well placed to build the organizational capabilities needed to surface critical issues early and then use the extra lead time to gather intelligence, to conduct the needed analyses, and to debate their implications.

The specifics of how companies should build these muscles will of course vary. Well-run organizations–particularly those accustomed to using stage-gate-investment approaches for activities such as oil exploration, venture capital investment, and new-product development–may find that moving toward a more dynamic management style requires a few relatively small, though collectively significant, shifts in their operating practices. Others may find the necessary changes, which include migrating away from rigid, calendar-based approaches to budgeting and planning, more wrenching. What I hope to do in this article is to lay out some core principles that will help either kind of company make the passage of time an ally rather than a challenge.


Recortar el presupuesto de reclutamiento: Costos altos para la empresa

Elizabeth Reyna, COO & Partner in Bleumind

¿Reemplaza Internet a un experto en la búsqueda de postulantes para un puesto? Sabemos que la web ha cambiado el panorama del reclutamiento profesional. Sin embargo la contratación de un profesional en reclutamiento sigue siendo una pieza irreemplazable en la gestión de los Recursos Humanos de alto nivel.

“Encontrar candidatos de alta calidad humana y profesional sigue siendo un desafío que requiere muchas habilidades y conocimiento”, destaca Arnold Graaff director de la empresa de búsqueda de profesionales de TI, Compuways IT Professional.

En este sentido, es esencial para toda compañía contar con una agencia especialista en reclutamiento cuando se trata de contratar un equipo destacado. En el contexto de las agencias de reclutamiento mexicanas es imprescindible recordar que encontrar buenos candidatos es un arte en sí mismo. Aquellas agencias que reúnen prestigio, una excelente cartera de candidatos y un vínculo independiente con diversos sectores de la industria son las que a la “hora de la verdad” marcan la diferencia. Sin dejar de lado, por supuesto, el apoyo y la colaboración que brindan las herramientas de “social networking” para atraer a los candidatos top.

Facilidades de las redes

En el mundo corporativo mexicano a la hora del reclutamiento el 32% de las compañías utilizan las redes sociales como medio de selección. Con la información que se encuentra en las redes sociales las empresas pueden elaborar una lista de los candidatos que se adecuan al puesto, en un periodo corto de tiempo, señala el sitio socialrecruitment.com.mx. A la vez, las redes sociales han tomado fuerza como herramienta de comunicación interna y permiten hallar y difundir información de manera inmediata, a un número amplio de personas. El 11% de los empleados, por ejemplo, las utiliza como medio de colaboración y para la coordinación de actividades y eventos, amplía el informe.
No obstante el establecimiento de un lazo firme con profesionales y potenciales candidatos a lo largo del tiempo es crucial y esto sólo lo logran los especialistas en gestión de Recursos Humanos. Esto es posible únicamente cuando se trata de una agencia de reclutamiento independiente y solo especialistas en reclutamiento pueden identificar el interés genuino del candidato en una posición laboral. Esto se hace mejor con un experto: no sólo dar cuenta sobre si el candidato coincide con la búsqueda si no también en la profundización de la construcción de una relación como parte de un proceso.

El valor agregado del “headhunter” o consultor en reclutamiento de alta especialidad.

Los especialistas en reclutamiento entendemos mejor que nadie las necesidades de los empleadores, en especial al conocer el panorama de la búsqueda cuando se trabaja con varias compañías al mismo tiempo. Pero también sabemos convertir esta negociación en una ganancia de doble vía.

Por eso en la era de Internet, los encuentros cara a cara siguen siendo irremplazables, de modo tal que la persona encargada de seleccionar al personal tiene contacto con el “mundo real” del empleador y también con los desafíos que los postulantes atraviesan en el imponderable mercado laboral. Este cruce de culturas empresariales y profesionales se experimentan de manera única en las entrevistas personales. Al mismo tiempo comprender la industria, identificar las tendencias del mercado y poder mostrar la gran “foto” a los empleadores son valores únicos de las agencias de headhunting. Las empresas dependen de este conocimiento para expandirse en el mediano y largo plazo en puestos clave. La importancia de conocer los requerimientos de los empleadores como se conoce el propio hogar le da sustancia y forma al trabajo.

Por ultimo, cabe destacar que el empleador no debe ser un componente variable en los procesos de reclutamiento si no más bien un eje central del ciclo de búsqueda de personal. Así, con la ayuda de las redes sociales, un sólido expertise por partes de las firmas de reclutamiento especializado y un debido seguimiento por parte del empleador se ahorrará tiempo y esfuerzo. El trabajo se orienta entonces a excelentes resultados y la ganancia será tripartita.


What to expect from a Headhunter?

Before knowing what to expect from a headhunter, we must know what is the role of a headhunting firm. A headhunter is a firm dedicated to locate candidates with a specific profile normally for management, directorship, or really specialized positions. Unlike an employment agency who looks for job openings, a headhunter focuses on their search for talent with very specific features. Therefore, a headhunting firm has two sources or resources to seek out and care:

  • Client: are companies that hire the firm services so they search and recruit a candidate who meets the profile they want for their open position, given the complexity of the process. The focus of the firm is on their clients, as they are their source of income and to whom they provide their scouting service. It is with them that they have a relationship Client – Provider there is in every business.

But there is no need to set aside, the other party, extremely important and necessary for the headhunter to provide their service:

  • Candidates: the professionals who give their work information to a headhunter to be considered as candidates for job openings within their area of interest and career plan. Each candidate has a profile, a career and special features that should tie in with the requirements of the Client for consideration at a vacant position.

In short, the role of a headhunting firm is not to get a job for their candidates, but finding the right candidate for their clients’ needs. These candidates are sometimes found in the firm’s talent database, sometimes not.
That said, if you are a candidate, what can you expect from a headhunter once you send them your curriculum?
In the case of Bleumind we work under a clear and professional process that can be simplified as follows:

  • Every day we receive resumes of professionals looking for a new opportunity. This information is treated with great ethics and confidentiality. We read it, analyze it and store it in our talent database.
  • Once we receive a curriculum, we send a confirmation e-mail and, from that moment on, the candidate should wait until we receive a request with a profile like his/hers to be considered and contacted from our behalf. Sometimes we contact the candidate if we need additional information in order to have a complete and updated profile in our system.
  • The Client makes us a request to search for a candidate for a specific position. Within the application it details the profile they are looking for the vacant position and it is our job to give them the best options of professionals in the market with the required profile.
  • Having these specifications, we turn to our database, among other search strategies, mapping and talent identification to look for candidates who meet the required profile.
  • By the time we find a potential candidate, we get in touch with that person to start an interview process, first with us as a firm, and once we’ve validated the candidate has all the attributes and competences that our client wants, with the company (our client).
  • The Client meets the candidate and carries its own recruitment process, deciding who to hire under their own contract terms.
  • Throughout the process and after they hired the candidate we maintain a constant, clear and direct communication to ensure that the candidate meets the requirements, and if for any reason he/she is no longer in the selection process, we will let him/her know immediately.

In conclusion, the main focus in a headhunter firm is towards the client, however, candidates are essential to close the circle of the service. We take very seriously our candidates’ career and we are pleased to see success stories of those who we have linked with our clients and are achieving fulfilling and successful careers.