Thursday, April 26, 2007

Return on talent

Lowell Bryan has argued here that companies should concentrate on return on talent (profit per employee) and use return on capital as a sanity check. It is good to see we are getting there !

I think Lowell Bryan is right to concentrate on financials, as they drive decisions in most cases. And I am more than happy to see efforts in the direction of making talent the driver of wealth creation. I am just worried about the implications of concentrating on profit per employee. You will not get a higher profit per employee only by shedding "C-workers" (even if this mechanically does the job). Employees are not just employees, they form the social body of a corporation and as such it is difficult to account for them on an individual basis, without taking into account interactions.

An employee with a low "profit ratio" can be a relationships nexus allowing other coworkers to accelerate their own performance.

We need a new mindset to really approach talent financials, probably the one that goes with the "networked economy".

And we definitely need to think about the relation between talent and the assets they create for a company.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Are French politics an example of mass collaboration ?

Rather interestingly, Segolène Royal launched a massive "collective" writing of her "Pacte Presidentiel". This was built around a website, "Desirs d'Avenir", in which I have seen interesting and high quality discussions and "wikis". This was complemented by real life meetings all around France. Both streams of events resulted in a small team analyzing and trying to reach conclusions to actually write the candidate's "Pacte Présidentiel".

As someone that has been trying to help organizations develop internal network and communities, I was not optimistic about the impact of this methodology. So ambitious ! It seemed too quick to work and producing a real document felt to me like manipulating people.

And yet, the candidate made it to the next round. As always, it is not so much the contents as the social network created around a person, an idea or a group that is important. Even in politics.

If she goes all the way to the presidency, how will she continue with her "community-oriented" policy-making ? Will she push it and break barriers in this brave new world or fall back and risk being seen as only another talented politician ?

In any case, we have not heard the last of "mass policy making"