Business models are being transformed right and left these days. The pace of change shows no sign of relenting. Companies are scrambling to respond. As this evolution progresses, companies will find that they will have to transform themselves. Transform their structures and cultures. These changes will be not only in the ways a company goes to market, but there will also be deep changes in the ways companies attract and retain employees. These changes will, in turn, transform corporate cultures and internal relationships.

The current hiring model, like the educational system the produces most of the candidates in America, will no longer suffice in the not-to-distant future. For the most part, résumés are two-dimensional line-drawing caricatures of the people they are intended to represent. Recruiters are reputed to spend about six seconds reviewing a resume on their first pass, and this is after the automated systems have already chewed through and rejected the résumés that did not have all the right keywords in the right places. The fact is, there are more important criteria by which talent should be assessed than experience. The current hiring dynamic is inherently transactional and procedural and is populated by systems and workers who are incapable of making the transformational judgements that will identify transformative talent.

As our economy transitions from the current transaction-based, reductionistic paradigm to one more driven by innovation and creativity, transformative talent will be in increasing demand. Where will organizations get the great ideas they will need next week, next month or next year? I can guarantee you it will not be from your servers or your routers. People are the source of ideas. Curious people ask provocative questions and discover unanticipated answers.

People who embody the transformative profiles required in the new paradigm will not be looking for jobs, they will be looking for opportunities to engage. Experience and skills will be minor features of the pre-hire evaluation process. Higher caliber candidates cannot be assess primarily by skills, but must display the capacity to stretch themselves beyond the scope of a traditional job description.

In many respects, companies will want candidates whose point of view is undiminished by experiential biases and a perception of how things are "supposed to be done" from companies that do not share an similar appreciation for caliber. Some of these perceptions that will be perceived as limiting are those of process vs. content. Process is, in fact, not the content and institutionalized processes will not replicate success. Previous indoctrination into inferior processes will present a greater hurdle in "un-training" than the training hurdle presented by raw talent.

Companies who are interested in high caliber talent whom they hire for their ability to create value will recognize that transactional variables like process and procedure do not create value. They may add value, but they don't create value. They may assist in the deliver of value, but the value must still be created first. They may help capture value, but they cannot capture value that has not been created through some sort of transformational activity. Transformational people do transformational things that create value. If there was ever something that deserves being called magic, this is it.

Transformational traits, even more than refined skill sets, are harder to find, because they are rarer. They are almost impossible to develop if they are not already there. Below is a list of some of the traits that must be evaluated in attracting transformative talent. It should come as no surprise that many of these traits are fundamentally the traits are eerily similar to the ideal qualities of a leader.

  1. A Craving to have one's efforts matter and to be part of something larger than themselves and to produce results that are important to themselves and their peers
  2. Character. This implies a strong sense of self and strong personal values. There is more than an implied ability to take ownership of assignments, to assume responsibility and follow-through with honor and integrity, not blaming others or manufacturing excuses.
  3. Chemistry (not just compatibility) with the job (aptitude & talent), with the people (team fit), with the culture (work ethic, collaborative skills, analytical and synthetic thinking skills, etc.) This means that organizations must really understand their cultures and articulate their values clearly, and eschew the current model of allowing a committee to generate a string of vacuous, virtuous sounding words to put on posters in the halls.
  4. A Curious nature. Interested in discovery and experimentation. Playful and exploratory. Always tinkering with and improving the way things get done. Not willing to do things the way they've always been done just because that the way they've always been done.
  5. Confidence. They have a willingness to insert themselves into unfamiliar situations, knowing they will learn something and will be improved by the experience.
  6. A strong Command of whatever languages are important to the position, including proper grammar and syntax. This is not limited only to spoken and written communications between personnel, but may include programming languages or special taxonomies. A strong command of languages proves they can learn systemically and apply rules appropriately, that they have the fundamental skills to organize thoughts and that they are capable of communicating in multiple ways.
  7. Capacity to think both critically and integratively in a variety of situations and circumstances, to learn from mistakes and to use excellent judgement, reasonable risk taking, and most of all, demonstrate original thinking in the content area most important in the position for which they are being considered. The ability to deal with content creatively and critically is crucial. This means originating and manipulating "ideas," not just information. Information is not currency, ideas are currency.
  8. Contrarian Ideas. They are always looking at alternatives and oftentimes will entertain options that may be counter-intuitive. They are willing to try zagging with everyone else is zigging.
  9. Control (self-discipline) including Consistency. The manage, even lead, themselves. They value their on reliability and accountability in terms of producing results. However, arbitrary rules that don't directly contribute to results do not interest them. Attendance is optional as long as the expectation for results is exceeded. They manifest a strong sense of and appetite for controlling their own destiny.
  10. Commitment. Once they make a commitment they will honor that commitment.
  11. Consistency between words and actions.
  12. Consultative. This also translates as collaborative. They are willing to work hand-in-hand with clients as well as co-workers to develop solutions. They are able to balance the competitive and cooperative dynamics appropriately in diverse situations.
  13. Change tolerant. They are adaptable. They learn from their mistakes. They pick themselves up when the fall and move on.
  14. Creative. They are relaxed and comfortable with new ideas, incorporating them into their work and interactions with ease and familiarity.
  15. Craftsmanship. They take pride in their work and enjoy making their work aesthetically pleasing.
  16. Courage - risk taking, willing to provide feedback that may not be welcome, courage to accept responsibility or mistakes. Courage is the foundation of character.

Without a critical mass of this type of characteristic, no amount of experience and education will ever produce transformative results for your organization. Organizations will find ways to both assess and value these traits more than experience or educational pedigree.

Organizations will transform themselves to adapt to new paradigms and to actively identify, recruit and retain transformative talent. In particular, traditional HR departments will undergo dramatic changes in order to remain relevant in an environment dominated by transformative talent. HR departments must actualize their potentials and become true strategic leaders in the business. Management roles will take greater ownership of process optimization, service delivery and strategic relationships. Executives will find that they must take charge of strategy and avoid becoming embroiled in day-to-day issues.

Here are a few of the fundamental tenets innovative and industry-leading organizations will embrace as they evolve and elevate the caliber of their employees.

  • There will be no low-level or less important positions or employees; every employee will be strategic.
  • Transactional and non-strategic job functions will be outsourced to contractors or automated.
  • Transactional contractors will find ways to be transformative when compelled to compete instead of being corporate cost centers.
  • Job requirements will be clearly defined and based on the six Rs: Relationships, Revenue, Risk Engagement, Responsibilities, Results, and Reputation. Transformative employees must be able to positively influence each of these in measurable ways.
  • Employment will be performance-based with positive impacts in each of the six Rs.
  • Every employee must know: what is required and expected, how it will be measured, when it will be evaluated, who will be involved in the measurement/evaluation process, why it is important.
  • Single input evaluations by a single manager will no longer be accepted by either employees or executives.
  • Everyone is different. Every employment agreement or contract will be unique in some way.
  • High-caliber talent will want more from the organization and, over time, will ultimately want to be treated as peers to executives because of their strategic value.
  • If executives within organizations don't treat their high caliber talent as peers, they will leave and become competitors.
  • High-caliber employees will be part of the hiring process because they prefer to work with other high-caliber people and will refuse to work with mediocre and disengaged personnel.

Learn more about how Transformative Talent can positively impact your business here.

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