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Jan Husdal

When "the right" people leave

Posted by Jan Husdal in Jan Husdal's Blog on Jan 25, 2010 1:25:50 AM

I'm sorry for not posting here as frequently as I perhaps should. I'm moving house and I've been renovating my new apartment every day after work for the past two weeks, leaving little time for much else besides work than a few hours of well-deserved and highly-needed sleep.

 

It has been a learning experience, finding new DIY-skills I did not know I had, but also discovering the lack of same skills I thought I did have. It has also taught me about making sure I have the right tools for the job, and that improvising or using makeshift tools isn't going to do the job right. There is a reason why DIY stores have such a vast array of tools for every imaginable task - you really need them. Although...while a carpenter might need that special tool every day, I only need it once, which makes it a highly expensive investment that is just wasted. Nonetheless, with the learning that has come from the successes and failures of doing my own renovation I know have enough knowledge for my next renovation, should the need arise again.

How the wrong people can ruin a supply chain

Knowledge, skills and experience is something that is acquired by learning or doing, and unfortunately for many companies, or supply chains for that matter, this knowledge stays with the person that acquires it, should the person decide to leave. That's why knowledge management is paramount when it comes to key positions in a company. People are what makes organizations work, or in some cases, not work. Just as supply chain is all about getting the right product to the right place at the right time and at the right price, the talent supply chain is all about getting the right people in the right jobs with the right skills at the right time and right price. What happens if you don’t have the right people? Well, you may have disaster waiting to happen from within.

The biggest risk is inside

In business continuity plans, many companies think of all those disastrous hings that can happen and that are out of their control…fire, flood, labour unrest, storm damage, flu pandemics and the like. But, the most serious risk that is often overlooked is not external, but internal. Gen Ford from Ithaca puts it this way in his post on DISASTER! Business Continuity Issues are Most Often Caused from Within…:

Risks … generally result from the natural way in which  organisations grow.  Ad hoc development of structure, process, new product and service creation often leads to gaps in competency, communication and function.

In essence, you are the very maker of you own downfall, by not planning your own growth. How can you make sure your organization is fit to the task, even in the face of disaster? Well, you must hire accordingly.

The Talent Supply Chain

In his post People and Talent Supply Chain Management, Jeff Ashcroft from SupplyChainNetwork says:

Just as in supply chain management you begin with an inventory of your current human resources within the firm and the skills and attributes of those people. It’s then time to do some future planning relative to what your needs will be by location in three to five years. This will become your forecast for the talent supply chain in your firm but only represents the beginning of the full application of supply chain management principles to ensure the future health and stability of your workforce.

 

Nonetheless, even if you do apply the talent supply chain, one issue still remains, the loss of key personnel or key knowledge. That's were kmowledge management comes in.

Knowledge management

Knowledge management is particularly important in today’s globalized supply chain,  where the people working for your company are spread across the globe, perhaps they are hired to do the job on temporary terms or just for this one projects, ready to move on when one project is completed. What happens then? You need to acquire the manpower and skills all over again. Somewhere on the Internet I found this excellent illustration of the pitfalls of not giving knowledge management enough thought:

 

knowledge-management.jpg

Having the wrong (=incompetent) people can certainly ruin your supply chain. Having the right people can be disastrous, too, if you have no contingency plan on how to replace them. For a couple of good articles on this issue, you may want to read my revierw of the Harvard Business Review on Crisis Management.

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