Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Why your employer sucks at finding top talent!

I was in Home Depot looking for a 4" PVC Grommet when I ran across a developer who works for a local company. He gave me verbal feedback on my blog entry on Does your enterprise suck at finding top talent? and suggested that there is a quiet desperation within his own shop since much of his management is from Accenture. I figured I would share some of his thoughts that he shared with me...

While is comment was related to Accenture, I believe the actual firm doesn't matter as the pattern is oft-repeated by global firms where you could substitute any other and still come out with the same answer.

Anyway, he asked, did your boss come up through the ranks or did he have a shiny MBA from some prestigious school? The former obviously is empowered in that others may desire to work for him/her over the person with credentials but no experience.

Let's say you are at the top of your game and you go looking for new work opportunities for a multitude of factors (such as getting a boss you aspire to become like, the elusive work/life balance, avoidance of outsourcing and so on). Most of the top talent is not unearthed nor usually given the right opportunities to shine. The reason being in his opinion, is that leadershipmanagement seldom are "top talent" themselves.

Usually they have worked their way to a level of incompetence. Sales people for instance shine when they bring in the new clients, hit targets, etc. They then yearn for the management job, most sales people do not make good managers, yet this form of talent yearns for a management position, so they move on, or get promoted to a level of incompetence. All loose out.

Becoming a partner is primarily a sales function, yet many IT executives who have worked for large insultancies have this background. The funny thing is in order to survive, one must surround themselves with others from the same background in that the masses will find your message and approach confusing. You counter the conspiracy by filling the corridor with chock-a-block eye candy that lacks any substance and prefer the pitch of the dog and pony show. As the troops morale slides into eternal decay, you wonder why you are a lost soul wandering around alone in the wilderness.

One figures out that alignment is a secret codeword for less do more selling. If an IT executive doesn't really know the business and doesn't even know technology, do we really believe the business is going to be happy with IT? I have been known to say from time to time that freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude and it is the job of modern IT executives to make sure things stay this way...

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