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Leveraging Internal Talent for Continuous Improvement

exeqfind | 21.06.2013

Oftentimes when we are meeting with clients in the process of taking on a new search assignment, we observe what appears to be conditioned behavior around how executive management relates to their organizational growth or lack thereof.  I was sharing this observation over lunch with a close friend and respected consultant – Ed Bojorquez the other day and I found his response to be enlightening.  It turns out our lunch meeting turned up a great idea.  Ed has agreed to share his passion for proc

Oftentimes when we are meeting with clients in the process of taking on a new search assignment, we observe what appears to be conditioned behavior around how executive management relates to their organizational growth or lack thereof.  I was sharing this observation over lunch with a close friend and respected consultant – Ed Bojorquez the other day and I found his response to be enlightening.  It turns out our lunch meeting turned up a great idea.  Ed has agreed to share his passion for process improvement and continuous improvement disciplines via our blog.  Perhaps you should invite Ed to lunch sometime too?

Here’s what Ed had to say about my observation… Globalization and often unpredictable market forces seem to have most executives focused externally, whereas in many cases there are often solutions to be found internally through proper talent management.

This concept was underscored in a recent industry article featuring an interview with a top executive speaking about the positive transformation taking place in his company as a result of deploying a structured policy for a small segment in some of their most challenged business units.   One of the unforeseen impacts of this undergoing change was that there was a marked impact on talent moving up and not out of their organization.   They were able to pinpoint that this was the result of growth experienced by the way they re-focused their change philosophy on a specific segment of their global organization.  Their experiment resulted in shrinking working capital, expanded margins and market penetration even in legacy brands…  and, by the way, they achieved this not by cost-cutting initiatives, forced lay-offs, and/or traditional short term cash generation schemes; it was achieved by a simple focus on Human Development, Quality, Lead Time and Productivity based on proven lean beliefs .

Many organizations overlook the potential of their internal forces and focus on external conditions of ever changing market demands and threats. Often they react and lose control of growth opportunities that could derive from internal talent at all levels of their organization.  Traditionally, layers, structures and departments are created to oversee talent development in complex organizations.  In my experience with global companies including operations in the NAFTA region, I was often part of mentoring and high growth potential identification based on individual behaviors.  Some of these traits were based on heroic tallies we recalled from whenever we had a crunch to make budget numbers.  We found these issues to be universal to organizations in Canada, the US and Mexico.   Sound familiar?

In traditional organizations it is often difficult to see what adds value and what flows in their internal infrastructures.  In the shop floor, office, service desks, clinics, store, etc.,  we are focused on department or area performance as opposed to performance to real demand and improved cycles.  Few enterprises as the one mentioned above realize that overall improvement can be measured by focusing continuing reducing cycle times to service real demand.  This demand is also the result of focus on continuously paying attention to the voice of the customer.  When we move the focus of front line associates as the direct service line to the customer, we improve flow and react to real demand which results in cycle time improvements.   This is called a “bottoms-up approach”.

To support value added requirements to the customer i.e superior quality, lead times and cost, the traditional organizational pyramid has to flip so the value added effort is provided to customers in a direct fashion.  In this environment, internal talent is solving problems on a daily basis with a clear focus.  They are empowered to constantly remove non-value added impact, promoting savings and ideas that generate growth.   Is this familiar in your environment?

Ed Bojorquez brings 27 years of experience in diverse roles and markets to his role as a senior consultant at Simpler.  His expertise includes product and process engineering, supplier development, global logistics and general business management in commercial, industrial, aerospace and automotive components and medical device markets in the US and Mexico.   Ed can be reached at (336) 601-9905

Warren Carter is an executive search consultant and practice leader of ExeQfind and can be reached at (619) 921-1795 

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