One Page Talent Management: Eliminating Complexity, Adding Value
Marc Effron and Miriam Ort
Harvard Business Press (2010)
Most change initiatives fail, many if them the result of cultural barriers that James O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” Changing talent practices is certain to create resistance. Marc Effron and Miriam Ort identify four talent-building barriers: reluctance to eliminate needless complexity, inability to create value, unwillingness to stay current with cutting-edge research, and reluctance to be transparent and accountable. The material provided is based on four assumptions with which I wholly agree: the available and relevant science works, only effective implementation matters, managers want to succeed, and finally, transparency and accountability guarantee results. One Page Talent Management (OPTM) can generate verifiable evidence to support these assumptions and thereby eliminate the aforementioned barriers.
With regard to the significance of “one page,” Effron and Ort realize that the key form or process for every talent practice can be reduced to only a single page. However, as we all know, most electronic or print documentation about almost anything in business can be substantially reduced. For example, check out “American Express: A One Page Response to Challenging Times” (Page 19). Throughout their narrative, the co-authors make skillful use if several reader-friendly devices, notably Tables and Figures. They include Table 1-1, Example of Transparent Action (Page 21), Table 1-2, Examples of Accountable Actions (Page 23), Figure 2-1, OPTM Performance Management Template (Page 47), Figure 3-1, Example of OPTM 360º Assessment (Page 65), Figure 3-2, Example of OPTM 360º Report (Page 72), and Figure 5-1, Example of OPTM Engagement Survey Report (Page 124).
It is important to keep in mind that Effron and Ort are sharing their own experiences with OPTM and base their observations and recommendations on real-world situations. Their insights are empirical rather than hypothetical or theoretical. The process is a framework within which each read must formulate what is most appropriate to her or his own organization’s needs, interests, resources, limitations, and strategic objectives. Moreover, I presume to add that an OPTM program will always be a “work in progress,” sustainable to be sure but dynamic, responsive to change, and subject to frequent and rigorous evaluation.
Here are two quotations that, I think, provide an appropriate conclusion to this review. First, from Peter Drucker: “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” Hence the importance of focusing on what is most important. Now this observation from Albert Einstein: “Make it as simple as possible…but no simpler.” Obviously, Marc Effron and Miriam Ort agree.