“Today, a competitive edge is thin and temporary; the edge quickly becomes the margin. The ability to define the edge, and the ultimate competitive advantage, is found in the smarts, heart and ingenuity of your people – that's your powerhouse. Tap that, train it, focus it and mobilize it; now you've engaged a network and inspired a sustainable shift.”
– Gretchen Pisano & Tom Hood – co-developers of the i2a: Inisghts to Action Strategic Thinking System
I am fascinated by the continuing conversation about managing the millennial generation (Gen-Y, Net Gen) and the reluctance by many in management to recognize this as a major opportunity instead of a problem to deal with.
In yesterday's WSJ (Page B4) was an interview with PWC Chairman Dennis Nally titled, PWC Chairman Aims to Keep Millennials Happy (Thanks to Brent Johnson for pointing this out) where he lays out PWCs “people strategy” as a firm-wide CEO driven strategy. I think he almost gets it right when he says, “How you manage that sort of talent and how you deal with their (millennials) expectations is very different from what's been done in the past”.
This is true for all of your generations in the workplace, although I agree that the millennials are the most different.
He goes onto say, “This millennial generation is not just looking for a job,…they're looking for skill development, they're looking for mobility, they're looking for opportunities to acquire different skills…”
What type of skills are most important?
Having the right technical skills is a given, the skills that count, according to Nally, are having the right “softer skills” (I can hear my BLI team screaming) in terms of being able to work collaboratively, teaming, communication, and working with a diverse (global) team.
Yet most CPA firms spend more on cell phones than “soft skill” development, according to the AICPA's Mark Koziel. Is it time to rethink this?
We summarize these skills into three main competencies:
- Strategic (and critical) thinking (flexible and future-minded thinking)
- Strengths-based leadership (being self-aware in the moment and able to know and apply your strengths and those of others)
- Network leadership – being able to collaborate and work across boundaries in your organization and beyond
And that is exactly what we teach in our upcoming Leadership Academy in Maryland on September 18-20 at our Towson CPA Center. Also available customized for your firm or company, check out prior testimonials and more information here.
The “new normal” is requiring us all to rethink how we deal with our most important asset, our people. Yet even history supports a major ROI from investing in training and developing your people. Engage them properly and you will get that extra discretionary effort that separates the great from the good. That's tapping your talent pipeline!
As we started this out – “Your people – that's your powerhouse. Tap that, train it, focus it and mobilize it; now you've engaged a network and inspired a sustainable shift.”