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How adaptable is your talent?

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How adaptable is your talent?

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A number of surveys and studies in recent times have highlighted the importance of managing complexity to success in the modern world, whether as an individual or an organization.  Central to the successful management of complexity is being able to rapidly adapt yourself to the circumstances you face.  This is a fundamental element of being a sense and respond style organization as you have both the rapid dissemination of knowledge from the fringes to the heart of the organization, and the adaptive capabilities internally to respond to that information as quickly as possible.

In an organizational context, that message has been trotted out for some time now, but the same is equally applicable to ourselves at an individual level.  It’s a message PwC highlighted in a recent piece of work exploring the role of adaptability in the management of talent.  The work highlights two core elements of adaptability, one from the employers perspective, and one from the employees.

On the employers side, they suggest that talent is viewed in a different way, especially when looking for sources of talent.  We’ve seen for instance with numerous open innovation projects, and indeed from MOOC classes, that highly talented people often reside in very unusual quarters.  Having the right mindset is the first step in overcoming this hurdle, and it’s a topic that I’ve written on previously.  Truly being a sense and respond organization requires you to be able to apply the talent at your disposal (wherever it may reside) as quickly and productively as possible.

From an individuals perspective, the report highlights the importance of not only accepting rapid change, but truly embracing it.  This involves a constant refreshing of skills, but also of course a constant re-application of those skills in new and innovative ways and fields.  I’ve written before about the importance of loving what you do, because without that passion, it’s unlikely that you’ll invest the time and energy in updating your skills, making connections and generally investing in yourself.

Obviously open innovation is great for both angles, providing as it does a way for organizations to tap into vast knowledge very quickly, whilst also allowing individuals to deploy their skills where they see the best fit.  There is also a great opportunity for MOOCs to assist this process, and we are seeing a growing number of organizations providing corporate university type facilities via MOOC platforms, whilst of course also offering tantalising bait for attracting people with a keen interest and talent in that particular field.

How is your organization taking an adaptable approach to talent?

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