And What Do You Do?

The Queen famously asks ‘and what do you do’. How many of you when prompted would answer with a job title? It’s a great response, but does it say what do you actually do. What does a sales director do? What does a CFO do? We’re defined so much by titles, and the business builds itself on a series of titles and hierarchies – the organisation chart.

If an alien landed, rather than the queen, would they be as amazed by this as they would be by ‘smashing potatoes all to bits’. Is it finally time to start doing things, rather than being a thing?

In workforce terms, we are at the advent of the project rather than people era. According to Accenture, over 70% of CEOs are considering this move. What’s driving the desire?

First of all is the much-discussed skills gap. New skills are in short supply, and most businesses are playing catch up in trying to bring them on board or train. It’s why it’s so critical to maintain talent connections.

Secondly, we have the rise of the robots, or more accurately the automation of the more mundane processes. McKinsey suggests that approximately 60% of jobs will have least one-third of their work activities able to be automated. That’s the ultimate example of what is actually being done, rather than being titled.

Thirdly – it’s that darned digital thing again. Digital transformation is now business transformation. Not every business has transformed its workforce to be as digital as its intentions.

How can a focus on projects rather than people address these talent drivers and deliver the innovation and growth that business needs?

  • Projects are dynamic entities. They’re collections of skills assembled to take the requirement through to a successful conclusion. These skills can be assembled quickly, and repurposed equally quickly. It makes for more efficiencies and faster results. You may even find a robot pops into the mix.
  • Projects don’t respect traditional hierarchies. The most relevant skills may belong to the most junior team member.  Outcomes aren’t achieved by status.
  • Projects don’t need seatwarmers. No need for Joe to be there if Joe could be more useful across the aisle on a different project. Not the same when Joe has been in the same department for years, waiting for his (digital) gold watch.
  • Projects are about results. And that’s what everyone wants.

It’s a big change, particularly for talent professionals, as they build their workforce plans – and will need advice on how to shape their strategic planning. It’s a brave moment to discard the org chart and build a talent pool based on company-wide initiatives. It will mean creating more talent connections, and building teams that mix talent from all parts of the business, and from outside the business through platforms like Talmix.

Are you ready to embark on this new journey? Do you have a clear idea of your company initiatives and where you need to create more fluid teams? Does your plan identify how to connect faster to the talent that is ready-skilled?

Projects not people. Talent not titles. Skills not status. Responsibilities not roles.

And time to start answering that opening icebreaker with a real description of what you do, and why it matters.



About the Author

Dorothy Mead

Dorothy is a technology marketing veteran who is responsible for building the Talmix brand globally and creating digital programmes to engage and retain our audiences.

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