I recently attended a workshop that discussed the role leadership plays in tailoring their supply chains for maximum effectiveness through divestments, acquisitions, and mergers. This concept highlighted the importance of these concepts and illustrated that talent management is equally important in maximizing efficiency within an organization. We are used to hearing about divestments, acquisitions, and mergers amongst industry leaders. Business news is filled with companies acquiring other companies to increase their control within a given market or reduce uncertainty or unpredictability in their supply chain. Mergers are common practice and allow corporations to combine assets and resources to expand their market exposure. When these companies become too large to control, lose sight of their target market, or find themselves with too little resources to support the corporation as a whole, they sell off pieces of the company to refocus. These same concepts can be applied to our personal and team development strategies.
We often find ourselves stuck in a continuous cycle of task management, determining jobs to be done, planning out how to accomplish these jobs, allocating resources based on priority, performing the tasks, and evaluating success. During the evaluation stage, we assess the effectiveness of our actions, identify where we fell short, and restart the cycle by determining what jobs remain to be done. This cycle is apparent at both the individual and team levels and wreaks havoc on our growth strategies. By continually focusing on task management, we fail to prioritize personal, and team development as these tasks do not result in the accomplishment of prioritized tasks. Failing to prioritize growth results in stagnation, apparent by our inability to break free of this cycle. Utilizing the same principles of divestments, acquisitions, and mergers allows us a break in the sequence to focus on growth resulting in improved performance and perspective in the long-term.
Divestment Creates Space to Grow
Like successful businesses, high performing individuals and teams tend to absorb a disproportional number of tasks to complete due to senior leadership’s trust and faith in their abilities. While these extra jobs are often packaged as a compliment, the increased workload leads to reduced time to be allocated towards individual and team development. Professional pride and hyper-competitiveness to outperform others drive these professionals and teams to strive to meet management’s expectations to maintain their status as high performers. In these cases, the task management cycle is a leading contributor to employee burnout, resulting in a lack of long-term talent management.
In these cases, employees or team leaders should accept additional tasks on the condition that other, less essential duties are shifted to other individuals or teams. Acceptance of additional responsibilities without reducing existing obligations overstretches the individual or team’s ability to manage all priorities, effectively allocate resources across each project, and eventually result in mediocre performance across all roles. By shuffling low priority or less crucial tasks to others within the organization allows these high performers time to develop and maintain a growth strategy that challenges them without overburdening. Top performers tend to enjoy the challenge of new and critical tasks, and opportunities to grow supports their long-term success, but over-tasking contradicts these efforts.
Acquisitions Inspire Growth
Leaders who have a secure connection with their teams develop an understanding of the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Rather than continuing to highlight strengths and assign tasks accordingly, leaders should be open to the appeals of subordinates to take on a variety of tasks. If an individual has proven to be consistent- to high-performer, requests to be given a task or project that does not play to their established strengths, leadership should allow them the opportunity. Additionally, if leadership identifies a weakness in a high performing team or individual, they should challenge that employee or team to grow by assigning tasks that require growth in their weak field. The key in both scenarios is to place these teams or individuals in positions that push them out of their comfort zone while also providing them all the resources to continue being successful. These resources may be money, equipment, or even employees from other teams or sections with strengths that complement the identified weakness. Shuffling resources, with the intent of forcing growth, has long-term benefits to the organization, including increased pride in performance, improved cohesion across the organization, and unique perspectives on problems, tasks, and jobs.
Mergers Introduce New Growth Opportunities
The most complex tasks or jobs to be done often require more robust teams to effectively achieve success. Instead of bringing new employees into the organization or grouping like-minded teams of individuals to accomplish these tasks, leadership should seek out opportunities to composite talent from multiple sections. This composition of a team that would otherwise not interact directly with each other provides opportunities to grow in unprecedented ways. Multi-faceted teams bring new perspectives and skills together and force collaboration amongst individuals with differing opinions and experiences. This forced collaboration drives process improvement, innovation, and cohesion, which, in turn, can be applied to the organization as a whole.
Leaders within organizations have a responsibility to inspire teams to achieve common goals. By shuffling responsibilities, resources, personnel, and teams themselves, leaders can extend these common goals from a team-centric approach to focusing on the organization’s goals. Much like with divestments, acquisitions, and mergers amongst corporations, leadership must accept some risk with these approaches to growth while understanding that stagnation of individuals and teams within the organization is a higher long-term risk.
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