Strategic Human Capital Insights

Do You Really Need an Employee Handbook?

Posted by Joanne Flynn

1/23/19 10:00 AM

It may be underestimated, but it is certainly strategic!

This question predictably comes up when I speak with company management, often because the Employee Handbook is seen as moderately useful but not on the top of management’s priority list. 

Why’s that? Because often the Employee Handbook:

  • Isn’t current
  • Doesn’t cover the full range of issues
  • Isn’t specific enough to be meaningful
  • Isn’t given to new employees
  • Isn’t used by management

However, one thing is for certain, when something goes wrong in an organization, the following happens:

  • From the manager’s perspective: Managers look to the Employee Handbook for guidance and protection from liability.

  • From the employee's perspective: Employees look to the Employee Handbook for guidance, protection from liability or loopholes created by omission or ambiguity.
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Topics: Change Management, Leadership, human capital, human asset management, human asset management strategy

Is Being Loyal to an Employee a Good Thing?

Posted by Joanne Flynn

10/10/18 10:30 AM

Both employee and manager loyalty has always been considered a good thing. So what’s changed? When does being loyal long-term, at all costs, go from a virtue to a liability?

The concept of "change" has changed everything. When companies grew at normal rates, and change was incremental and predictable, manager and employee loyalty could keep pace with each other and with the direction of the organization. Now, however, when organizations are growing fast and adapting to new technology, new processes and methods, increased customer demands, and additional new employees, the predictable static environment that many employees are comfortable with, have morphed into chaotic, change-driven, unpredictable frontiers where the old rules and controls have evaporated. Increasing, the latter describes today’s work reality. 

Here are some important questions to consider when thinking about manager loyalty:

  • What does it mean for the employee who is attached to the old rules and controls and is having real issues adapting to the new work reality? 
  • What does it mean for new employees who don’t know the old rules and controls and don’t really need to work under those constraints since that work environment has shifted?
  • What does it mean for the manager who must manage these two conflicting and competing employee needs?
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Topics: Change Management, Leadership, human capital, human asset management, human asset management strategy

Are You Ready to Take the Organization Chart Challenge?

Posted by Joanne Flynn

6/9/18 10:00 AM

Have you ever thought, heard or said the following?

  • Organization charts aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on?
  • Here is the organization chart, but, let me tell you how it really works!
  • Why do we need organization charts anyway – they only reinforce bureaucracy which is counterproductive?
  • We can’t figure out how to put together an organization chart that makes any sense


Why Should We Even Bother?
Why do organizations spend so much time putting organization charts together and why do they rarely display how the organization really works?  Because we desperately need to rationalize how the organization works, recognize how work gets done and define how accountability is managed.  Without a visual depiction or starting point, we are disorganized around chaos where people are busy (but busy doing what and for whom?) and where accountability is elusive because no one really knows who is responsible.  This, in fact, describes a state of disorganized chaos which is hardly an efficient and effective way to run a business and is frustrating for everyone involved, both managers and employees.

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Topics: Leadership, Organizational Effectiveness, Organizational Alignment

The Multifunctional Approach to Transformative Leadership

Posted by Joanne Flynn

7/21/15 2:30 PM

The Business Impact of Transformation Initiatives

The research tells us that 90% of change / transformation initiatives fail.  Failure can be very simply measured relative to the following 3 criteria.  Was the initiative:

         On Time?
         On Budget?
         With Quality?

So while transformation initiatives may get done, unless they meet these three criteria, we must question their success.  A bigger organizational question must be considered.  What is the strategic business impact of transformation failure or delay for organizational business sustainability?

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Topics: Leadership

Delivering Strategic Leadership: Turbo Charge Your Change Process

Posted by Joanne Flynn

6/9/15 3:30 PM

In this continuously changing world, would you rehire your current leadership team?

If the world of work is changing, we can’t ignore how the role of the leader fits into this change and is evolving itself.  The leadership of yesterday and today may not have the necessary knowledge and skill sets to drive the business into the future.  It doesn’t mean leadership can’t.  It does mean that they will most likely need to be developed to use a new set of core competencies.  The role of the leader is CRITICAL to the organization and its success. This role requires a person who is both outwardly focused and inwardly responsive. Some required key competencies for the future are:

  • Vision
  • Risk Assessment
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication

Here are some questions to consider as you evaluate your current leaders to see if they are "upskilled" to meet tomorrow’s business challenges.

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Topics: Leadership

Do you really think everyone CAN lead? 3 Critical Success Definitions

Posted by Joanne Flynn

3/11/15 9:30 AM

This question has been considered in organizational development theory and practice for decades.  There are as many opinions as there are people.  Some say yes.  Others say no. To begin to answer this question, three key concepts must be uniquely defined by every organization. 

Since every organization is different, the definition of the concepts can vary.  However the following three concepts must be clearly defined:

1. Definition of Leadership - The Benchmark 

How does the organization define the role of the leader?  What are the benchmark competencies required for the role, as it ideally relates to and aligns with the business strategy?  How are those competency requirements prioritized?  How are people evaluated against the organizational benchmark? 

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Topics: Leadership

I Have a Dream! 8 Leadership Lessons from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by Joanne Flynn

1/20/15 2:00 PM

This blog was written by Karen Bullard, Founder of Power of Purpose for Leaders

In honor of the first holiday of 2018 – Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, do you …

  • Remember when holidays were recognized and celebrated on the actual day?

  • Remember when holidays were not commercialized?

  • Remember when holidays were not associated with huge sales throughout the extended weekend? 
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Topics: Leadership

Part I: Leading for Organizational Agility, Resilliency and Effectiveness

Posted by Joanne Flynn

9/24/14 9:00 AM

The Upskilling Experience: 5 Milestones on the Upskill Treadmill


What is upskilling?

Organizations face continuous change as the ‘new normal’. To meet these changing business demands, every person in the organization must critically look at their current knowledge levels and skills sets and measure them against the current and anticipated required task benchmarks.  The frustration for an individual and an organization is that as soon as you get the required knowledge and skill sets, it is very likely that the benchmark will shift once again.  It is often reflected in the statements, “I’m dancing as fast as I can” or the famous treadmill analogy, ”I’m running faster and faster just to stay in place.”

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Topics: Leadership, Organizational Effectiveness

A Leader’s Journey through Operational Excellence Transformation

Posted by Joanne Flynn

9/17/14 8:56 AM

This is a guest blog post from Krupal Parchure, one of the senior advisory team members of Phoenix Strategic Performance.  Krupal Parchure is the Founder and Managing Partner of MQuadrant and the lead of the India Virtual Delivery Center for Phoenix Strategic Performance. The India Virtual Delivery Center creates project deliverables around operational, commercial, and transformational excellence, remotely, via cutting-edge, online technologies; thereby significantly reducing consulting fees and minimizing change management and transformational risks. 

Every leader today faces business situations where they need to apply a variety of frameworks, tools, and systems for sustainable improvement of key performance metrics. The situations might range across multiple disciplines, such as manufacturing, sales & marketing, research & development, etc., but the need for leadership aptitude and discipline stays the same. It all begins from a company’s vision, which gets transformed into a strategy, and ultimately gets broken down into programs and projects. The industry specific issues, scale, and technicalities will differ based on within what ecosystem a leader is operating, such as a start up, or a large corporation, or local government; but the underlying principles and the business acumen required for the successful execution of operational excellence projects stays the same, for the most part.

Learn more about the typical journey of a corporate leader through an operational excellence transformation.

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Topics: Leadership, Organizational Effectiveness

The Importance of Strategic Human Capital Planning

Posted by Joanne Flynn

9/2/14 12:30 PM

It’s never too early to start managing people, your most important asset.  Increase the ROI of your people investment.  Focus on improving financial results by unlocking human capital potential. 

We recently held a Lunch & Learn in partnership with the Arizona Technology Council on September 25, 2014.

Start-up and high-growth companies, by their very nature, are fast-paced and change continually.  Every person in every role will make a critical, strategic difference.  There is no room for error and no place to hide. During the Lunch & Learn with the Arizona Technology Council, attendees learned how to take a disciplined approach to strategic human capital planning focusing on business agility and unlocking the strength of your people.

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Topics: Phoenix Strategic Performance, DiSC Assessment, Leadership

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