Friday, January 8, 2016

Three Questions to Assess an Employee’s Versatility

The professional versatility is not just separate skills, but onion-like cohesive abilities or integral & recombinant capabilities.

People are always the most invaluable asset or human capital in organizations. And businesses need to continue to develop their talented employees, unleash their potentials, build and amplify the collective human capabilities to compete not just for now, but for the future. The question is how can you identify their talent, versatility, to put the right people to the right positions at the right time, and how would you define the right people? How do you define wrong, average, mediocre, good, great or extraordinary person? Or to put simply, for what should they be right?

Q1: How well do you align skills, strength, interest, knowledge, and passion to the career pursuit, or from talent management perspective, how can you identify and develop the needed talent by digging into “who they are”? Talent is neither just about "busyness" nor linear skills, you need to keep your hands on the wheel, eyes opened, and ears to the ground. People have different working and living styles, some are busy with saturated plans of all different activities and hobbies; others may concentrate on a few important things matter to them. It’s hard to judge which group is more talented on the surface, and the important thing is about time management, discover your authenticity, innate talent, and how can you build your professional capabilities via both diversifications of skillset, and also have the dedication to sharpening them through? How can you strengthen your strength, but also improve your weakness? How can you keep yourself passionate about what you are doing, and what you want to be? How to be a lifetime learner to not just accumulate knowledge, but capture insight and gain the wisdom? And from talent management perspective, how to build an authentic business culture to keep the positive energy flow, discourage unhealthy competitions, and encourage people to grow for both themselves and for the business’s long-term success. So the effort or work professionalism are needed to be best awarded when there is a line of sight to shape a high-performing culture and achieve a particular business outcome.

Q2: How can you set the priority, and strike the right balance of working hard and working smart?
Talent and versatility need to be measured in both quantitative and qualitative way. Work hard and work smarter need to go hand in hand. To achieve success both as an individual and an employee, it is important that you understand your work environment, understand what is required to be done, have the right resources; including the appropriate mindset, and channel your energy into what is expected of you. Hard work is required to eventually be successful. Hard work is very important, but do not be a busy fool. The key of hard work is to be sure you are working hard on those things that matter and not work hard on those things that don't - the key to hard work is setting the right priorities and expectations and sticking with that philosophy. Working Hard is really working smarter, with the right mindset and attitude! In today's workforce demographics (Boomer, Gen X, Y and Millennial's), you must be clear on balancing the "Thinking & Doing" to improve Quality, Creativity, and Productivity, etc, or the inherent versatility from the business perspective. Hard work is relative, but what is important is to well manage the plan, effort, and time. With the right amount and type of effort applied strategically with good timing, you will dribble your way to achieving your ultimate goals.

Do you have integral capabilities- recombinant, unique and differential, so such versatility is not just separate skills, but onion-like cohesive abilities?  The capability is not the same as your certificate, major, skill, or experience, etc. Say, reading, writing, or speaking are skills, but communication is capability; engineers, doctors, or accountants are professions, but problem-solving is capability; an integral capability is a set of cohesive capabilities to solving more complex problems, reaching the vision, or achieve a better result. Skills can be trained via instilling knowledge, but often capability needs to take time, inner drive, and situations to build. Thinking is an invisible, but “hard” capability which can not be taught completely, especially multidimensional thinking. Change/innovation capability goes beyond any professions, or put another way, any type of professionals needs to have changeability or creativity to make continuous improvement. Not every professional is a sales person, but almost every digital professional, especially leaders, need to master at what to sell and how to sell - ideas, strategy, influence, practices., etc. Speaking multiple languages is the skill, but culture-cognition and empathy are capabilities. Often people have different hobbies to gain the skills, but it’s harder to build the robust and coherent ability which become an integral element of their unique professional capabilities to do things differently. And sometimes, spreading time on doing too many things even turns to be a distraction from building their strength based on the innate talent.

Capability is something deeper that empowers or boosts skills, but how to identify it, acquire it, improve it, or stimulate it? It has to be identified as distinct from a skill, which is acquired by discovering the strength, learning, and practice. And skills, certificates, experiences, etc. are just some subcomponents to build the certain level of capability or competency. Digital workforce is more dynamic and digital workplace needs to be more people -centric. The competitions between machine and humans are intensifying, thus, building integral capabilities such as multi-dimensional thinking abilities or creativity become imperative for digital professionals; and from the business management perspective, identifying, developing, and amplifying the collective human capabilities (the “business versatility”) is strategic for the business's long-term success.


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