“Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.”
I first encountered the term “movers and shakers” in 1994 while working as a journalist for The Westport News in Westport, Connecticut. My chief editor used it to describe the community’s ambitious individuals who didn’t need to be led but instead innovated and executed on leading-edge ideas to achieve success. The term’s roots actually go back much farther to the 1874 poem by Arthur O’Shaughnessy called “Ode,” which is excerpted above. Although I don’t hear this synonym for innovator/groundbreaker as much nowadays, the “movers and shakers” concept is still very relevant when it comes to the power of the individual to drive change and accomplish great things.
Today and in the future, the corporate world will continue to harness the ideas and strengths of the mover and shaker mindset, and you won’t even have to be an executive to contribute to this progressive movement. As we see from top influencers and keynote speakers this week at HR Tech Chicago, hierarchical structures are giving way to more collaborative organizations in which every individual and his or her experience and ideas matter.
But the transition hasn’t been easy. It’s all part of what HR Tech Chicago presenters Jason Seiden of Universum and Leela Srinivason of Lever declared as an enormous challenge common to HR and marketing: “Hearing your people.”
On the customer relationship management end of this challenge, Microsoft produced a 2007 TV commercial (Bring The Love Back) where the folly of traditional business and customer relationships were explored, with the customer eventually walking out of the restaurant as part of a breakup with the self-centered advertiser. The key point: Listen, engage, and let them build your solutions through input into your collaborative network, rather than build it from the inside out.
Talent Management and the Self-Developing Organization
On the talent engagement end, the key to hearing your employees involves an important practice called self-development. In the self-developing organization, aided by today’s concentration on connectivity and transparency, ideas and initiative flow from anywhere in the organization to be shared, considered and applied throughout the organization.
This interactive, collaborative and more egalitarian dynamic is a key component in the evolution from 20th century hierarchical organizations to the today’s growing trend toward digital network business models. In this Brave New World of digital business models, there will still be physical assets, strategic corporate plans, alignment, dutiful organization structure, and some degree of cultural assimilation, but a healthy new focus will be on empowering individuals and their diverse ideas to flow up and across as part of a value network where everyone contributes to an expanding ecosystem at lesser cost and a greater return. As this happens, Big Brother will be watching (and listening) but not strictly with the intention of punishing or reconditioning. This is a kinder, less dystopic Big Brother who understands the value of transparency in a world where networks and tapping those networks for employee data is critical.
However, you can stymie employee idea contributions when you regulate communications and input via top-down, HR-driven or marketing-mandated policies. What’s more, employee voices, decisions, and motivations can seem inauthentic when you collar your talented professionals with rigid rules, and this can have a negative effect on your messaging, recruitment, motivation and performance.
So how do you engage them and get them to share?
With some coaching upfront and some brand “guard rails,” you can give your employees the freedom to express themselves and to design their careers in alignment with your internally transparent corporate strategy. Then, your formal and informal data analysts can capture this data and use it for talent management pursuits such as future sourcing, recruiting, onboarding, career development, succession management, as well as innovation and the fine-tuning of corporate objectives.
At Lumesse, we build tools for the movers and shakers in your organization, including the influx of largely self-directed Millennials. Our integrated talent management system will help you to engage employees, and identify and transform unproductive processes as part of your transformation into a self-developing organization.
Learn more by downloading our talent management whitepapers.