GettingTheMostOutOfYourMostImportantAsset

Getting the most out of your most important asset . . . your people!

Understanding how the people within the business
and the business pieces all fit together.

Business people often say “our people are our greatest asset”. But these same people often don’t know how their “greatest assets” fit together. How their people and their business fit together and flow from potential to profitability, and the points in between… how marketing strategies, finance strategies, operational strategies and the customer’s strategies all fit together.

If you don’t know how all of your people and the business fits together,
can you really know how to best leverage your greatest asset?

One challenge in understanding how your people and the business all fits together is that business schools don’t teach how it all fits together. They teach in silos. Silos regarding how to manage people and how to manage the pieces of the business. Marketing, finance, operations, human resource management, etc – all silos.

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This silo based thinking and teaching isn’t just confined to the undergraduate levels of business education. In graduate business programmes, they simply teach business students deeper versions of the same silos.

However, business silos aren’t all bad. Business silos are great, for the efficiencies they bring. You can’t get those efficiencies any other way. But business cuts across silos to get actual work done. So, for goodness sake, we should have a much better understanding of how the different functional business silos all fit together.

The siloed instruction only implies how things should fit together, instead of explicitly showing how things fit together. Thus, this leaves people to individually infer how it all fits together.

Some schools will say that they do teach “how it all fits together”. They then go on to point to examples of: case based lessons, balance scorecard instruction, value chain analysis. And yet, none of the business schools explicitly show how marketing, finance, operations and the customers all fit together. They don’t show how they all fit together to generate value for both the company and the customers, in a balanced way.

The siloed instruction only implies how things should fit together, instead of explicitly showing how things fit together. Thus, this leaves people to individually infer how it all fits together.

The resulting intellectual residue left behind, from such teaching methods are isolated bits of wisdom that don’t seem to anchor to anything larger. Fragments that feel like they can swirl around forever without building toward a greater knowledge. This unanchored swirling of knowledge, became readily apparent after attending years of business conferences and realising that core questions that were asked were the same questions that have been asked year, after year, after year.

Unless we collectively change things, these types of issues will continue until the end of time. We need to end this nonsense.

The nonsense of business people, business schools, and business authors all talking about business topics in a siloed way. Business topics that are then interpreted in a siloed way. And finally business topics that are then executed in a siloed way. And then after all of this siloed thinking, we have people continually mystified as to . . . “Why is everyone continually running off in separate directions? How come things don’t seem to work together well?”

Understanding how it all fits together is not that hard.
It can fit ­on a restaurant place-mat and be suitable for colouring.

If the Human Resources function is supposed to be a real factor in driving business performance, then the people in the Human Resources function need to understand how the people within the business and the business pieces, all fit together. With this knowledge, it is much, much easier to determine how to best allocate and leverage your most important assets.

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Accelerate Aug 2015 IssueAs featured in the August 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine. This article is locked for further viewing. Please consider subscribing to Accelerate to view this and many more great articles. You can choose to purchase an annual subscription or just a single issue.





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