Every experience is an opportunity to learn, otherwise why bother, right?
Our life experiences build on one another until it seems we know instinctively how to respond to complicated situations. It is not instinct. It is experience!
To teach is to learn twice. ~ Joseph Joubert
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to students at Baldwin Wallace University.
These young people are learning about organizational development and human capital management from books. They work on projects, read articles and come to conclusions about how organizations work. What is missing is experience.
I was excited to apply textbook solutions to real world business problems. As I considered ways explain my real world experiences in terms of theory I was twice taught!
I was pleased that most of the students in both classes are not planning to work in human resources. They are majoring in something else but still taking courses in how organizations can function better. It is short sighted to think that only HR people are responsible for talent.
Every leader needs to be involved in the talent spectrum – identifying talent needs, finding talent, bringing talented people on board, solving people problems and solving business problems with and through people.
When asked to share my experiences with these students, I decided to present a business problem and work through to a solution using the elements of organizational development and human capital management that they were learning in class. Coupling general business principles with talent management principles, we could solve business problems with people.
Talent acquisition, development and human capital management are just new words to describe solving business problems with people. In the end, all business problems involve understanding the situation (listening and observing), measuring (start with a baseline and determine the impact of a business problem in financial terms to gain support for change), evaluation (understand what people need so they can grow), agreeing on a solution then implementing.
The classroom elements of performance management, turnover analysis, succession planning, training and development and talent acquisition (recruiting) make more sense as tools to resolve business problems. These solutions do not stand on their own. Just as you would not apply a bandage to a healthy limb you should not apply a human capital management tool where it does not make sense.
With experience comes wisdom sometimes. In my case, the wisdom is knowing which solution to apply to address a business problem.