Here’s How To Implement a Skills First Approach To Workforce Development

The American workforce is on the cusp of massive disruption, with 40 percent of employees actively looking to change jobs in what economists are calling “The Great Resignation.” This presents business leaders with two unique dilemmas: first, how to manage churn within their own organizations; and second, how to effectively hire new talent, while developing their existing workforce.

The traditional methods of matching people to work are not up to the task. Many hiring practices are outdated and inefficient, with layers of bureaucracy, lots of administration, and old assumptions about who is qualified to take on what challenges. At the same time, legacy workforce development efforts are not equipped to meet the new level of need. As a result, businesses are missing out on potential talent, and people are missing out on jobs or experiences that would make a powerful difference in their lives.

By the end of 2020, 80 percent of U.S. employers had difficulty filling openings because of current skills gaps. The World Economic Forum estimates that 42 percent of jobs will require different skills in the next three years, and over 1 billion workers will need reskilling by 2030. Replacing talent – or preventing its loss – is the number one challenge many organizations are facing in the near term. Underlying that challenge is a bigger problem: the lack of an adaptable, engaged workforce with the skills needed for a changing world. This presents a serious risk to the whole population in a rapidly changing, complex world.

For both businesses and workers, agility – the ability to adapt and respond quickly to whatever comes next – is essential. Skills-first strategy is a promising, emerging trend aimed at increasing agility. A skills-first approach requires rethinking the premise of talent and turning the traditional talent model on its head. Demonstrated skills are valued over job histories and degrees. Rich, varied career journeys are prioritized over unilateral, pre-defined paths. And rewards and recognition are influenced by skills and contributions, not just job level, tenure or location.

There is no quick and easy way to make the move to a skills-first strategy. But, once you take a skills-first perspective, the implications are far reaching, touching everything from recruiting and development to learning and rewards. As the Chief Learning Officer at Workday, I’m finding myself “unlearning” many of my assumptions. But I’m also inspired by this new approach, which opens up new avenues for solving today’s business challenges.

Whether you’re a company leader or in an organizational talent role, here’s how you can get started with a skills-first talent strategy:

  • Establish a unified skills language

Most organizations use confused and inconsistent terminology around skills. This makes it difficult for employers to identify which workers have the skills needed to fill open roles, and workers struggle to understand which skills they should develop to advance their careers.We suggest simplifying and streamlining so that everyone is on the same page. For example, at Workday, we are moving to a three-part shared language around skills: Core Skills, Job Skills, and Unique Skills. In other words: What is needed to be successful at this company? What is needed to do this job? What else does an employee (or potential employee, contractor, or freelancer) have to offer?

  • Consider your company culture

What aspects or attributes of your company culture support the shift to skills first? What might get in the way? What is required to operate with a skills-first strategy across the enterprise? You will need to build on structures and behaviors that foster connections across silos, candid communication and conversation, and psychological safety. These will help you to empower workers as you determine which skills are needed to accomplish business strategy and goals, identify who has those skills, and fill in gaps by moving, developing, or bringing in new people.

  • Leverage innovative technology

With products that are seamlessly connected, technology can drive key business outcomes: getting work done, reskilling and upskilling, driving performance, and creating opportunities for career growth. For example, Workday can match an employee’s skills to the skills required for an internal job or gig available in Workday Talent Marketplace. We can also make personalized skill learning recommendations in Career Hub, a centralized space where employees can use tools and resources to develop in their careers.

Skills are the fundamental currency of the changing world as we prepare for the future of work. A skills-first approach opens the door to exciting, dynamic careers for current and future employees, which further promotes ongoing learning and engagement – just what organizations need to ensure they attract and keep the right talent.

By Chris Ernst

Source: Here’s how to implement a skills-first approach to workforce development – CEO Magazine North America

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How Taking A Step Back Can Lead To Business Growth

For most business owners, the saying “one step forward, two steps back” sounds miserable, but in many cases, taking a step backward can propel you forward and actually change your life for the better.

As an entrepreneur, you have responsibilities outside work. These might include providing for your family’s needs, teaching your children values and growing your relationships. It’s a lot to manage, especially when you’re bogged down fixing issues in your business or exhausted from overwork.

If your business demands so much time that it becomes the obstacle that keeps you from doing the things you’ve always said you wanted to do, it can leave you feeling defeated and depleted, no matter how “successful” you are.

Business owners who feel stuck in their business must first create systems. These systems not only benefit you and your family. They benefit the people in your business and can fuel the growth of your business like wildfire when implemented properly.

My company recently walked a client through this process. I hope following this process will be transformative for your business and life, as well.

The client and his family lived a life that from the outside would seem normal. They would take a vacation once per year and go out to dinner once or twice per week. They would spend as much time together as they could, but something was missing, causing him and his family to suffer because of it.

As a business owner, you can likely relate to this story. Things are going well enough — but not great. It’s not what you envisioned your life looking or feeling like.

Our client was a reliable and diligent business owner. He showed up when he said he would. His attention to quality fed his business so he got most of his business through word of mouth. In fact, he would have to turn business away because he was too busy. So, where’s the problem?

The problem was that he was the business. He had a couple helpers working for him, but it was just one small crew. If he couldn’t schedule something on his personal calendar, it couldn’t get done.

He came to us looking to outsource his accounting. It was his first step to buy time back. financial

Over a few calls, he opened up about how much he hated his current business situation, so I asked him, “Why don’t you do what you did with your accounting and unload more of the workload and responsibilities in other parts of your business?”

The first step is always the hardest, because oftentimes, it’s a step back. Most business owners know that if they can start delegating in more areas of their business, they will be able to do what they want. They can live a life of financial freedom and time freedom. They can create more memories with their family and take back control of their life.

After some review, I explained to our client that he would easily qualify for equipment financing with little upfront capital. This would mean he could hire another crew, doubling his ability to serve his customers.

The key to duplicating yourself is duplicating the systems and processes that allow for quality of work to remain high. For most, this is the biggest step back. You see margins drop and your time expenditure temporarily increases. It is predictably more chaotic and uncomfortable.

On the other side of that hard work, though, is a fully operating replica of your workmanship without you doing the work. For people like the client above, this means not having to turn down jobs or work overtime. You can then duplicate your craftsmanship as needed to service growing business inquiries.

To do so, there are a couple of steps you can take in your business to help ensure it stays healthy as you grow. First is ensuring you have a personal runway: Lower margins will mean less available money for you as the owner. Be ready for this with your own finances by not making any large personal purchases that will overextend you before scaling. This should be obvious but can get you into trouble if you’re expecting to be able to pay yourself more in the beginning of the scaling process.

If you’re financing equipment and hiring more crews, your monthly expenses will increase drastically. Be prepared for this by ensuring you have a full pipeline. Make sure you allocate some of your budget to ramp up your marketing, and pay attention to the number of projects you earn from word-of-mouth referrals so you can estimate how many leads you’ll get per project your first team accomplishes.

Also, ensuring you have a lead generation system in place that you can dial up or dial back is key. Not just relying on word of mouth but having an avenue of getting leads through paid ads and understanding how much those leads generally cost and how many convert to customers will also allow you to have more security in scaling. It will feel less risky and you’ll have a feeling of investing your money into your future instead of risking the future of your company trying to build it bigger.

Eventually, you will be able to fully step back and own the business instead of being owned by the business. But how?

Create leaders from within your organization. Train them to take ownership of their work by incentivizing with bonuses tied to profit earned and created. Create bullet-proof standard operating procedures that allow high-quality work to be replicated on every job. Invest in your team members’ success so they’ll invest in yours.

What happened with our client? Within 18 months, he has four crews and only has to work 20 hours a week doing the creative stuff he prefers. The best part? It’s attainable for you, too, if you are willing to take the leap of stepping back to skyrocket your business growth.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Cofounder Easier Accounting & Real Business Owners. 20+ years of experience growing & running multiple businesses. Author & public speaker.

Source: How Taking A Step Back Can Lead To Business Growth

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How to Turn Your Company’s Purpose Into Action

The best advice is easy to understand, but difficult to execute, according to Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach and author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

In a virtual keynote address to Inc. 5000 honorees this week, Goldsmith explained that while coaching leaders at companies such as Ford, Pfizer, and the Mayo Clinic, he learned that it’s easy to dismiss the simplest of leadership strategies because they sound too easy. But it’s often the simple strategies that make the biggest difference for founders because they’re easier to commit to long-term.

“You’re a CEO, you’re a very busy person, you don’t have a lot of time. If I gave you stuff that sucks up too much of your time, you’re not gonna do it anyway,” Goldsmith says, adding that this tried-and-true method is still one worth teaching today because of its proven success.

Here, Goldsmith shares a simple method to becoming a more effective leader.

1. Get in the habit of asking for input.

Goldsmith argues that leaders don’t ask one simple question enough: How can I be better? Leaders should get in the habit of asking how they can be a better manager, team player, and salesperson. Many times, your employees and peers will point things out to you that aren’t even on your radar.

Something he learned from management consultant Peter Drucker stood out to Goldsmith when it comes to asking for feedback. “He said, ‘The leader of the past will have to [explain] to leaders of the future when they ask why we manage knowledge workers when they know more than we do,” Goldsmith says. In other words, never stop learning from your employees and peers.

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2. Listen to the input–don’t debate it.

Once you ask for input, Goldsmith says to fight every urge to give your opinion and to instead listen intently. Whatever feedback you get, take notes, say thank you, don’t judge, and don’t make too many promises. Instead, Goldsmith suggests you say, “I’m going to involve you and the others involved and follow up with you.”

One important thing for leaders to keep in mind is that leadership is not a popularity contest, and therefore you shouldn’t feel obligated to satisfy everyone. “You never promised as a leader to do everything people suggest,” Goldsmith says. “You promised to ask and listen.

3. Follow up.

This is where you act on what you promised. The key to making change, according to Goldsmith, is that you have to follow up and stick with it.

“You don’t get better when you listen to a speech. You don’t get better because you read a book,” he says. “You have to work at it, follow up and stick with it.”

By: Teresa Xie, Editorial intern, Inc.@resate_z

Source: How to Turn Your Company’s Purpose Into Action | Inc.com

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How To Get Your Team To Stop Asking You Every Little Question

You’re finally in the flow, typing away and making progress on that strategy document. And then a team member IMs you a question. And then another one pops up. Before you know it, your afternoon is gone and you’ve made no progress. Sound familiar?

In order to make time for reflective thinking, managers need to facilitate their team members’ independence. This is especially important if your team is not physically together, because “quick questions” sent through team chat channels can otherwise be endless.

Start by analyzing the problem. What are the reasons your team members feel they need your input? Is it because they don’t have the confidence to make decisions on their own? Because they fear reprisals if they make the “wrong” decision? Because they are unqualified or inexperienced? Categorizing the types of issues can be helpful to recognizing patterns and taking corrective action.

Once you understand what they’re coming to you about, then you need to determine why, and what role you play in that. Does your behavior enable, or even encourage, your staff to bring you every little “speed bump” in their day? Does it lead them to believe that you are the only one who is authorized to solve problems or make decisions? Does the way you interact with them cause them to lack confidence in their own judgment or make the limits of their authority unclear to them? Do they have good reason to fear making a mistake?

Below are ideas you can implement in four specific categories that will empower your employees while promoting your own productivity.

1. Put an emphasis on attention management.

Start by identifying whether an “open-door policy” is something that is stated or promoted in your organization. If so, make it explicit with a clear definition. Of course it’s important for leaders to be available to their teams. But “being available” shouldn’t come at the cost of everyone’s work being interrupted unpredictably, all throughout the day. An open-door policy was never intended to mean that anyone is available to be interrupted at any time for any reason.

A better implementation is to be clear that everyone in your organization should be considered accessible, but not necessarily constantly available. Individual team members need to provide signals about when they are available to be interrupted, and when they aren’t. And the culture needs to support this undistracted work time.

In a virtual situation, encourage the team to practice attention management by periodically closing their email client, putting their phone on silent and out of sight, and setting their chat tools to “do not disturb.” You should model this behavior, because if you never do it, your team won’t either, no matter what you say.

In the office, indicate your do-not-disturb times with some sort of signal, and empower your team to do the same: You could use a do-not-disturb sign, a cubicle flag, or headphones, for example. Everyone should know what the signals are and what they mean. Then be judicious about putting them up to create undistracted work time, and taking them down when you’re willing to allow interruptions.

These scenarios might seem impossible at your organization. In that case, you need to look at the way communication flows. Put a focus on creating a culture that supports asynchronous communication, where the conversation isn’t always “live” but people can chime in when it’s best for their work flow. My favorite team collaboration tool, Twist, offers a great guide for how to do that.

2. Promote self-confidence in your staff.

Set boundaries for your employees, making sure they understand the responsibilities of their role, the types of decisions they can and should make on their own, and the general limits of their authority. Then, encourage them to find their own solutions to day-to-day problems. Instead of answering questions, try using the phrase, “I trust your judgment.” The more successful your direct reports are in solving their problems on their own, the more their confidence will grow. This is a great way to develop your team members while also increasing your own opportunities for undistracted work time.

One thing that can interfere with your team’s autonomy is if you’re the kind of manager who likes having a lot of control, and being involved in every decision. This kind of micromanaging is a burden on you and stifles your team’s growth. You can’t do everyone’s job for them, nor should you. Empower your team members to make their own decisions. If you are unsure whether you are micromanaging, ask a trusted peer or former employee to give you honest feedback.

3. Embrace the tough decisions.

If there are employees whose judgment you don’t trust, try to understand why, so you can find remedies. Do the employees have a gap in their skill sets? Would additional training help? Is the person new to the organization? Perhaps more time is needed to “learn the ropes.” Maybe finding a mentor or “buddy” on the team would be helpful. But set a time limit on this.

Occasionally, you may find you’ve made a hiring mistake. The hardest questions to face are whether you have the right person in the wrong role, or whether the person isn’t a good fit for the organization. Don’t drag your feet here. Make it a win for you and the employee by helping the person find another role at your organization, or a new job somewhere else. This will enable you to cut your losses, as well as help develop your company’s reputation as a good place to work.

4. Create a safe environment to make mistakes.

If there are serious, unpleasant consequences to honest mistakes, your organization has a “CYA culture,” where people aren’t coming to you because they want your input, they’re just looking for a way to shift any future blame. This will stifle growth and prevent your organization from being adaptable. Remember the old adage, “Praise in public, correct in private.” Speak to team members privately when one of their solutions does not provide the best outcome. Emphasize the idea that mistakes are opportunities to learn.

Hold team members accountable to their decisions by using mistakes as teaching opportunities. Call attention to the lesson learned, and make sure it sticks, but if the decision was ethical and made in good faith, be supportive and empathetic.

By implementing these four strategies, you’ll be able to minimize interruptions from your direct reports, and you’ll create more opportunities to focus on the thoughtful work your leadership position demands. In the process, you’ll inspire confidence, innovation, and creativity in your team members. When you empower your team to work more independently, you improve as a leader and ultimately, you contribute more to the success of the organization.

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Critics:
Team management is the ability of an individual or an organization to administer and coordinate a group of individuals to perform a task. Team management involves teamwork, communication, objective setting and performance appraisals. Moreover, team management is the capability to identify problems and resolve conflicts within a team. There are various methods and leadership styles a team manager can take to increase personnel productivity and build an effective team. In the workplace teams can come in many shapes and sizes who all work together and depend on one another.
They communicate and all strive to accomplish a specific goal. Management teams are a type of team that performs duties such as managing and advising other employees and teams that work with them. Whereas work, parallel, and project teams hold the responsibility of direct accomplishment of a goal, management teams are responsible for providing general direction and assistance to those teams.

Team building activities

Team-building activities are a series of simple exercises involving teamwork and communication. The main objectives of team building activities are to increase trust amongst team members and allow team members to better understand one another. When choosing or designing team-building activities it is best to determine if your team needs an event or an experience. Generally an event is fun, quick and easily done by non-professionals. Team building experiences provide richer, more meaningful results. Experiences should be facilitated by a professional on an annual basis for teams that are growing, or changing.

What makes teams effective

Team effectiveness occurs when the team has appropriate goals to complete and the confidence to accomplish those goals. Communication is also a large part of effectiveness in a team because in order to accomplish tasks, the members must negotiate ideas and information. Another aspect of effectiveness is reliability and trust. When overcoming the “storming” phase of Bruce Tuckman’s stages of group development, trust is established, and it leads to higher levels of team cohesion and effectiveness.

If there is a conflict, effectiveness allows cohesion and the ability to overcome conflict. Specifically in management teams, more weight falls on their shoulders because they have to direct and lead other teams. Being effective is a main priority for the team or teams involved. Unlike non-managerial teams, in which the focus is on a set of team tasks, management teams are effective only insofar as they are accomplishing a high level of performance by a significant business unit or an entire firm.Having support from higher-up position leaders can give teams insight on how to act and make decisions, which improves their effectiveness as well.

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How The Power Of Predictive Analytics Can Transform Business

Tableau analytics visual

With the acceleration of digital transformation in business, most CTOs, CIOs, and even middle management or analysts are now asking, “What’s next with data?” and what ongoing role will technology play in both digital and data transformations. Other questions that keep these individuals up at night include:

  • How can people throughout all organizational levels be more empowered to use data and help others make better decisions?
  • What prevents people from more deeply exploring and using data?
  • In what ways can analytics tools and methods help more people use data in the daily routine of business—asking questions, exploring hypotheses, and testing ideas?

With this in mind, plus observations and discussions with many Tableau customers and partners, it seems that today’s circumstances, behaviors, and needs make it the right time for predictive data analytics to help businesses and their people solve problems effectively.

Current realities and barriers to scale smarter decision-making with AI 

With growing, diverse data sets being collected, the analytics use cases to transform data into valuable insights are growing just as fast. Today, a wide range of tools and focused teams specialize in uncovering data insights to inform decision-making, but where organizations struggle is striking the right balance between activating highly technical data experts and business teams with deep domain experience.

Until now, using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other statistical methods to solve business problems was mostly the domain of data scientists. Many organizations have small data science teams focused on specific, mission-critical, and highly scalable problems, but those teams usually have a long project list to handle.

At the same time though, there are a large number of business decisions that rely on experience, knowledge, and data—and that would greatly benefit from applying more advanced analysis techniques. People with domain knowledge and proximity to the business data could benefit greatly, if they had access to these techniques.

Instead, there’s currently a back-and-forth process of relying on data scientists and ML practitioners to build and deploy custom models—a cycle that lacks agility and the ability to iterate quickly. By the end, the data that the model was trained on could be stale and the process starts again. But organizations depend on business users to make key decisions daily that don’t rise to the priority level of their central data science team.

The opportunity to solve data science challenges

This is where there’s an opportunity to democratize data science capabilities, minimizing the trade-offs between extreme precision and control versus the time to insight—and the ability to take action on these insights. If we can give people tools or enhanced features to better apply predictive analytics techniques to business problems, data scientists can gain time back to focus on more complex problems. With this approach, business leaders can enable more teams to make data-driven decisions while continuing to keep up with the pace of business. Additional benefits gained from democratizing data science in this way include:

  • Reducing data exploration and prep work
  • Empowering analyst experts to deliver data science outputs at lower costs
  • Increasing the likelihood of producing successful models with more exploration of use cases by domain experts
  • Extending, automating, and accelerating analysis for business groups and domain experts
  • Reducing time and costs spent on deploying and integrating models
  • Promoting responsible use of data and AI with improved transparency and receiving guidance on how to minimize or address bias

Business scenarios that benefit from predictive analytics 

There are several business scenarios where predictive capabilities can be immensely useful.

Sales and marketing departments can apply it to lead scoring, opportunity scoring, predicting time to close, and many other CRM-related cases. Manufacturers and retailers can use it to help with supply chain distribution and optimization, forecasting consumer demand, and exploring adding new products to their mix. Human resources can use it to assess the likelihood of candidates accepting an offer, and how they can adjust salary and benefits to meet a candidate’s values. And companies can use it to explore office space options and costs. These are just a few of the potential scenarios.

A solution to consider: Tableau Business Science

We are only at the beginning of exploring what predictive capabilities in the hands of people closely aligned with the business will unlock. AI and ML will continue to advance. More organizations, in a similar focus as Tableau, will also keep looking for techniques that can help people closest to the business see, understand, and use data in new ways to ask and answer questions, uncover insights, solve problems, and take action.

This spring Tableau introduced a new class of AI-powered analytics that gives predictive capabilities to people who are close to the business. In this next stage of expanded data exploration and use, we hope business leaders embrace data to help others make better decisions, and to provide transparent insight into the factors influencing those decisions.

When people can think with their data—when analysis is more about asking and answering questions than learning complex software or skills—that’s when human potential will be unleashed, leading to amazing outcomes. Learn more about Tableau Business Science, what this technology gives business teams, and the value it delivers to existing workflows.

Olivia Nix is a Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Tableau. She leads a team focused on the use of AI and ML in analytics and engagement, including how to use technology to enable more people in organizations to make data-driven decisions. Olivia has been at Tableau for four years where she has worked closely with development teams on new product launches. Prior to Tableau, Olivia worked as an analyst at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change (now C2ES) and Johnson Controls. She has her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Source: How The Power Of Predictive Analytics Can Transform Business

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Critics:

Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from data mining, predictive modelling, and machine learning that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future or otherwise unknown events.

In business, predictive models exploit patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify risks and opportunities. Models capture relationships among many factors to allow assessment of risk or potential associated with a particular set of conditions, guiding decision-making for candidate transactions.

The defining functional effect of these technical approaches is that predictive analytics provides a predictive score (probability) for each individual (customer, employee, healthcare patient, product SKU, vehicle, component, machine, or other organizational unit) in order to determine, inform, or influence organizational processes that pertain across large numbers of individuals, such as in marketing, credit risk assessment, fraud detection, manufacturing, healthcare, and government operations including law enforcement.

Predictive analytics is used in actuarial science,marketing,business management, sports/fantasy sports, insurance,policing, telecommunications,retail, travel, mobility, healthcare, child protection, pharmaceuticals,capacity planning, social networking and other fields.

One of the best-known applications is credit scoring,[1] which is used throughout business management. Scoring models process a customer’s credit history, loan application, customer data, etc., in order to rank-order individuals by their likelihood of making future credit payments on time.

Predictive analytics is an area of statistics that deals with extracting information from data and using it to predict trends and behavior patterns. The enhancement of predictive web analytics calculates statistical probabilities of future events online. Predictive analytics statistical techniques include data modeling, machine learning, AI, deep learning algorithms and data mining.Often the unknown event of interest is in the future, but predictive analytics can be applied to any type of unknown whether it be in the past, present or future.

For example, identifying suspects after a crime has been committed, or credit card fraud as it occurs.The core of predictive analytics relies on capturing relationships between explanatory variables and the predicted variables from past occurrences, and exploiting them to predict the unknown outcome. It is important to note, however, that the accuracy and usability of results will depend greatly on the level of data analysis and the quality of assumptions.

Predictive analytics is often defined as predicting at a more detailed level of granularity, i.e., generating predictive scores (probabilities) for each individual organizational element. This distinguishes it from forecasting. For example, “Predictive analytics—Technology that learns from experience (data) to predict the future behavior of individuals in order to drive better decisions.”In future industrial systems, the value of predictive analytics will be to predict and prevent potential issues to achieve near-zero break-down and further be integrated into prescriptive analytics for decision optimization.

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