Tag Archives: ” Ed Michaels

The Ongoing War for Talent, because The Right Talent is So Critical for Success

After presenting my synopsis of The Rare Find by George Anders, I decided to take another look at my handout for the book The War For Talent by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, and Beth Axelrod, which I presented quite a few years ago.  If you are in the  “finding the best talent” game (and who isn’t?!), both of these books are worth a look.

Here is a portion of a key section from the book The War for Talent, on “the new reality”:

The Old Ethics

The New Ethics

We invest in all our people equally Some people are more talented than others, and we invest in them accordingly
We give best performers a little more money that average performers We give best performers a lot more money
I know Charlie’s a C player but we have to be fair to him – he’s been here fifteen years We have to be fair to the twenty people working under Charlie
Managers don’t need pats on the back Managers, like everyone else, need to know they are valued
Undifferentiated praise motivates the masses Differentiation drives individual and company performance

Finding, nurturing, improving talent.  This is the name of the game.  Companies and organizations are not buildings and computer and phone systems.  They are people!  Get the people right, get the right people, get the right people doing the right things, and the company will flourish.  Get the wrong people…  well, you know where that leads.


You can purchase my synopsis of The Rare Find, with audio + handout, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.  (You can also purchase my synopsis for The War for Talent at our site, but, warning — the audio quality is not as good on our earlier synopses.  Please read the faqs about our audio quality history).

Losing the War of Talent, a Telling Leading Indicator – The Challenge for RIM (BlackBerry)

As in ancient times, talent has become the coin of the realm.  Companies that multiply their human talents will prosper.  Companies that don’t will struggle.
Talented People are scarce. 
Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, Beth Axelrod:  The War for Talent


So, here’s the problem.  People want to work with, and for, a winner.  People do not want to work for a loser.  And, people want to work for a winner more than they want to help revive a once-more-healthy company.

So, if you want to look at a most revealing leading indicator, look at this:  where do people want to work?  And the answer can be found in the simple observation of:  where do the best graduates of the most recent graduating class want to work?

With this question in mind, I think it is safe to say that RIM (BlackBerry) is in serious trouble.  It is no longer the place to work.  And when it is no longer the place to work, difficult days will only continue.  Because the best innovations, the best new products, the best process improvements, come from the best, most talented employees.  And the most talented employees frequently come from the best crop of “new talent.”

This is the conclusion affirmed in the article Tech talent turns away from RIM by Iain Marlow.  Here’s a key excerpt

…times have changed, and although this region is still rich with talent, many of the brightest no longer aspire to work at the company that helped put Waterloo on the global map (Research In Motion Ltd – maker of the BlackBerry). “It was definitely a really great place to have your first internship,” says Mr. Mir, now a 20-year-old intern at LinkedIn Corp. in Mountain View, Calif. “But you don’t see a lot of the strong students ending up wanting to go to RIM full time, which is sad.”
The talent, in other words, is following the customers, millions of whom have shunned the company’s once-dominant BlackBerry in favour of smartphones made by Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., and a host of other wireless-industry rivals.

The article is worth reading to see  an example of what a company can do to go “wrong.”  But the reality is that because of the successes of Apple (especially the iPhone’s success), LinkedIn, and other companies,coupled with the troubles at RIM, the best graduates now want to work for the Apples of the modern world, not RIM.  And where the talent goes, a better future is likely to be built.