Tuesday, 12 September 2017



David Roy
Practice Lead, Talent Development

Succession Planning or Talent Management
In many of the meetings we have with Senior Executives and within the HR community the topic of Succession Planning invariably comes up. I have worked with and for organizations that have thought of Succession Planning as just that, a plan or annual exercise to provide names to the executive and the board should a position need to be replaced. Given the competition for talent, it is critical that organizations attract the right talent but also ensure that they have the right opportunities and support infrastructure to retain that talent. The Succession Planning process is really the challenge for organizations to identify, develop and retain leaders. In other words, create a process to manage and maximize their human resource assets.

Why is this so important?
Attracting, and more importantly developing and retaining, high performing employees is critical to the lifeblood of an organization. This is increasingly critical as the world of work is faced with continuous change. This change is driven by forces such as, technological innovation, globalization, new competitors and a looming demographic tsunami as the largest demographic group, the boomers, head off to retirement. This is particularly true for membership based associations which need to maintain relevancy in the world of choice and to ensure the needs of a wide demographic base of members and employees are met. The succession planning process is really about creating practical solutions for building your organizations potential. Jocelyn Berard, Optimum Talent’s Senior VP & National Practice Leader, Organizational Psychology, has written a book “Accelerating Leadership Development”. The book provides a guide that can assist organizations to develop high potential employees to assume critical roles, develop leadership competencies and create organizational intellectual and knowledge capital.

The Leadership Success Profile
There is a world of difference between doing a particular job and leading people that are doing those tasks. All too often organizations promote their highest performer to a people manager role and later find out that the competencies or behaviours that made them a high performer are not necessarily the competencies required as a leader. In simple terms, the Leadership Success Profile is a clear definition of what it takes to be an effective leader in your organization. This is a combination of ability, background, values and competencies required to provide leadership to a team. There is a vast amount of academic research and writings on the areas of competencies and personality traits in relation to leadership development. The success profile is a clear description of the requirements of a job or level in an organization which will change based on the job and level. Does your organization have a clearly defined set of competencies required for various levels of leadership? We refer to this as the “Ladder of Leadership.”

Diagnosing Development Needs
When an organization has identified and documented the leadership success profile it then needs to effectively and efficiently identify each high-potential leaders strengths and “potential blind
spots” so they can leverage strengths and develop areas where there is a need to improve. I have participated in many “Succession Planning” sessions where an antidotal comment based on personal bias has derailed a high potential leader’s career. All too often the diagnostic has no linkage to a real development need but based on a perception which may or may not be linked to reality. The process should be similar to a visit to physician, where a Doctor would never prescribe a solution without a diagnostic. Attached a link to an Optimum Talent article which elaborates on this key step in the succession planning process. There are many tools available to assist in this critical step of Succession Planning which includes 360 feedback and psychometric assessments. It is important to create self awareness for an individual to develop and grow their leadership attributes.

Prescribing Development Solutions
Without the diagnostic stage, development is often left to the individual employee and manager as part of the annual evaluation process where the question becomes, “what training would you like to go on next year”. In fact most of our learning comes from on the job experience. I am sure that each of you can think of a number of “learning” experiences while on the job that have been significant factors in your career success. There is a simple rule that states that 70% of our skill set comes from on the job learning, 20 % is gained from others (coaching, mentoring and feedback and just 10% from formal training. A formal documented development plan is important to ensure potential leaders have an opportunity to grow those leadership attributes that the organization requires to lead in today’s complex business environment.
In summary when succession planning becomes talent management it is a day to day process that provides individuals with clear opportunities to personally grow while addressing the reality of the changing business requirements.

 “Attend our session on November 15th to get started and learn how to facilitate relevant change that improves our organizations and our world.”

David has a history of building strong teams in a wide range of customer related service organizations. He is skilled at engaging work forces to drive positive results and create sustained competitive advantage. In today’s volatile, uncertain and highly competitive market place strong leadership supported by a commitment to talent management are critical to organizational success. David passionately believes that coaching is a key enabler to maximize the potential of individuals and teams.
In joining Optimum Talent David brings with him a proven track record in Sales, Business Development, Marketing and Product Development, as well as Customer Service and Operations, in a number of leadership roles with Bell Canada and Canada Post. Most recently he has been engaged in International Business Development in the renewable energy field.
David has completed the Advanced Coach Development Program at Ericson College. He is the practice lead at Optimum Talent for Coaching and Leadership Development. In addition to his current role delivering individual and team-based coaching engagements, David has coached The Canadian National Sailing team and represented Canada in International Sailing events. David has a BA from Carleton University coupled with professional development courses in Finance, Negotiating and Management Strategic Alliances and a certificate in Strategic Thinking and Management from Wharton University. He serves on the Advisory Council for Algonquin College School of Business. In addition David is a part-time professor in the Global Business program at Algonquin where his passion for developing and coaching is demonstrated as he prepares graduate students to enter the complex competitive world of global business.

Optimum Talent
190 O’Connor Street, 7th Floor
TELEPHONE : 613.238.6266

Kristen Lwin, PhD Candidate
Executive Director
PART Practice & Research Together

Enhancing Your Membership (Membership Management)

Membership organizations have the ability to meet, and even exceed, the needs of members; often, however, they are based on historic governance and operational models.  Membership organizations are a great approach to linking people with similar needs.  These needs may change over time though, which then requires organizational change. 

Many for-profit non-member organizations are popping up and meeting the needs of people originally met by membership organizations.  Communication and delivery methods historically used by many membership organizations have since become obsolete.  Mail out flyers, user-unfriendly websites, and lengthy text documents are something that seems agonizing for many people these days.   Because it’s not their focus, membership organizations typically have a difficult time keeping up with the newest technological frameworks, marketing strategies, and leadership models.  Being open to change and ready to take risks will support membership organizations in their quest to become sustainable and exceed members’ expectations.

Because membership organizations often fill a unique demand, there is a gap in the research literature about how to enhance membership.   Case studies offer suggestions on areas of focus to become a stronger organization.  The common factor in any study is the necessity to understand your organization.  What does your organization do well, and what does it not do well? 

If you have identified a need to enhance your membership you need to first understand, to what degree does your organization need to change?  Once you have answered this question, you can strategically develop a plan to enhance your membership.

To build a sustainable membership organization, it has been suggested that minor changes are often not enough.  Minimal modifications may not be felt or even recognized by members, and may have only a minor and short-term effect on membership.  To make a sizeable enhancement to membership, sizeable modifications need to be made.

Important areas for membership organizations that will allow meaningful change are: a dedicated and passionate leadership (executives and board members), an adaptable funding model and operations, the resources and capacity to develop effective services/products, ongoing network of organizations to learn from, and an effective technology strategy.

The following areas can be thoroughly assessed and identified for advancement:
·       Governance model;
·       Enhance staff expertise;
·       Define member market;
·       Identify required changes to products/services;
·       Build a strong technology framework.

Within each of these areas there are factors you need to consider.
·       Time: These days people have far less time to do things they want to do, and even things they don’t want to do.   How can you reduce the amount of time Board Members are required to spend on the organization?  To save your members’ time, how can you modify your services?
·       Value expectations: What are your members’ expectations of the organization and the services or resources you provide? 
·       Specialization: What does your organization specialize in, and what value do you bring to your members?
·       Member differences: Who are your members and are there generational differences between them? 
·       Competition: Who is your competition?  How do these organizations compete (e.g., time, membership, resources)?
·       Technology: How is it being used and how can it be used?
·       History: What actions, values, operations are in place because of history versus practicality or more effective processes?

Understanding your members’ needs, and how you organizational operations and governance meet those needs is imperative.  Your willingness to take risks will set the stage for change and ideally support membership enhancement.  Attend our session on November 15th to get started and learn how to facilitate relevant change that improves our organizations and our world.

Kristen is currently serving as the Executive Director of Practice and Research Together (PART), a national non-profit membership organization focused on knowledge translation for the field of child welfare.  In her current position, Kristen has lead the development of a curriculum focused on promoting research evidence use in child welfare workers and supervisors, focused on promoting the learning culture within a child welfare organization.  Kristen is working towards her Doctorate in social work at the University of Toronto, and has previously earned a Master of Social Work Degree, Bachelor of Social Work Degree, Hon. Bachelor of Arts Degree (psychology), and diploma from the Assaulted Women and Children Counsellor Advocate Program.  Kristen has experience in child welfare program evaluation and research and as a child welfare practitioner and in the criminal justice system.  Kristen is interested in organizational behaviour, qualifications for effective practice in child welfare, and decision-making research and implications for service users

Monday, 28 August 2017

“Attend our session on November 15th to get started and learn how to facilitate relevant change that improves our organizations and our world.”

 “Attend our session on November 15th to get started and learn how to facilitate relevant change that improves our organizations and our world.”

Making change happen in 21st century: from amateur cook to master chef[1]

Making change happen in 21st century: from amateur cook to master chef[1]

There is little doubt that we are all currently facing unprecedented challenges in a world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). Most of us feel the pressure to grow and improve our services while resources are under greater pressure than ever. We are asked to keep on top of a huge workload while juggling competing priorities. It’s often hard to predict what will happen next; the future is not like the past and the scale of disruption is large as we are all required to change the way we do things. No one has immunity from the threats and opportunities this new normal presents.

Change is an inevitable part of organizational life in the 21st century so we need practical and effective ways to bring about change. As if there is not enough change already, the way we change is also changing and we need to adapt to the new reality of the 21st century. Most organizations still use step-by-step, plan-driven change approaches conceived in more stable times when change was slow, gradual and there was time for the dust to settle before the next change emerged. This is pure fantasy in our fast-paced, complex world. Like everything else our change approaches need to be more dynamic and responsive involving and equipping leaders and change agents.  This mismatch of change approaches for our current complex context results in failure of our change efforts. Indeed many experts estimate that 70% of all change projects fail to achieve their desired outcomes.  In this context there is no place for the old linear models of unfreeze-change-refreeze, instead we need different and effective approaches. This shift requires us to let go of following a step-by-step recipe the way of an amateur cook and be more able to act like a master chef altering a recipe depending on the changing context (available ingredients, the season, needs of the customer, etc.).

The good news is there is growing evidence emerging from academics and change leaders around the world that gives us useful ways to make change happen that is successful, sustainable and puts us into the 30% category of successful change efforts. In a departure from traditional approaches to change a few key principles and practices have been consistently identified as important enablers of successful change. What they all have in common may surprise you.  Essentially they focus away from linear, plan-based methods and instead focus on people and stakeholders and on developing leadership, true engagement, relationships, trust, influence, alignment and collaboration. Dr. Peter Fuda, an international authority on transformation, suggests that a robust change process is a people thing and a community thing and not an intellectual thing. He goes on to say that successful change is 10% technical competence (phases, steps, expertise) and 90% emotional intelligence. While there is still a need for some process, unprecedented change requires a much greater focus on people in order to build a solid foundation for change. Capturing the minds and hearts of intelligent people comes down to a few simple (yet not easy) things. There is a strong link, supported by recent research, between successful change and these people-driven approaches.

Create relevant and shared purpose for the change
  • Provide a powerful why and story that captures the goal and what people want. Help people see it and feel it.
  • Make it a community priority.
Build energy and readiness for change
·        Work with people, start small and grow a community for the change.
  • Build trust by involving people. Give people a stake in it and a hand in shaping the future. The more complex the change the more involvement is required.
  • Go local. Contact and trust your community - those who need to adopt the change. Know where people are at by monitoring and understanding levels of support and doubt.
  • Connect and influence.  It's the community being built as a result of our change efforts that will determine if the change is successful, relevant and sustainable. 
Get started
  • Make it less onerous and focus on elements that will make the greatest difference.
·        Start with early adopters who will model the new way and begin to build momentum.
  • Change habits. Habits are the building blocks of behavioural change. All change is behavioural change. 
Provide support and learn together
  • Learn together, leverage learning in the community and adjust based on lessons learned.
  • Remember this is not a one-time execution but a journey.

Achieve and monitor Results
  • Make progress visible starting with the small early wins.
  • Go for progress and not perfection.
Develop ourselves as change agents
  • Develop and practice new relational skills. We need more than our expertise, knowledge and analytical abilities. 
In a VUCA world where change is constant and complex, where we are all required now to bring about positive change, and where there is a gap between our current change approaches and what works, the only viable solution is to up your change-ability. Attend our session on November 15th to get started and learn how to facilitate relevant change that improves our organizations and our world.

Rhonda St. Croix is a leadership
coach specializing in change
leadership. She works with leaders
and teams to apply new change
thinking to create positive change. She
is change adviser at the Royal
College of Physicians and Surgeons
of Canada.

[1] This metaphor comes from Dr Peter Fuda, international authority on transformational change