People – Truly Our Most Valuable Resource

By Timm J. Esque

These are important and interesting times.  Technology is making it more and more possible for everyone to participate in global value creation and harder to for anyone who wants to prevent that from occurring.  When more of the world has the opportunity to participate, competition increases, but so does learning and collaboration.  We see the evidence of this in the extraordinary coordination of global supply chains, in the growing practice of open innovation and in the ways that producers and consumers are increasingly co-creating desired results.  But these times are calling for more than meeting customer needs.  It is apparent from current events that there are many challenges facing the world.  I am hopeful and optimistic that what we learn from both competition and collaboration will help us address the tough challenges we face as a planet.

The key to addressing these tough challenges is of course enabling the world’s diverse human resources – people.  Our ability to develop, manage and empower human resources for both public and private interests, will play a critical role in our future.  While the HRD function is not ultimately responsible for setting and ensuring achievement of organizational and societal goals, I believe it plays an important role.  We can, and must, consistently remind our leaders of what people are capable of when organizational systems and practices are designed to enable performance rather than to control it. top blackjack

Because of the increasing importance of these issues, I was extremely pleased to be invited by Director Jong Tae Lee of the Department of Labor to make a keynote speech at HRD Korea Conference 2011.  I had the pleasure of meeting Mr.Lee in San Francisco in 2007.  Along with my colleague, Dr. Carl Binder, we discussed many topics of performance improvement and management.  Dr. Binder and I hold great esteem for  the Korean people’s impressive 5000 years of history, but especially for the extraordinary accomplishments of the last 50 years.  We were quite aware that Mr.Lee represented the hardest working workforce in the world.  So we were honored and impressed that Mr.Lee would listen carefully and enthusiastically to what we had to say about human resource development, and ways to accomplish more with less effort. It was apparent that he is dedicated to seeking out the best new information for the Korean HRD profession to support the Korean workforce.

One of my goals of participating in the HRD Korea Conference is to increase awareness about two particular approaches to ensuring performance success.  One of these is called “performance thinking”, and particularly the Six Boxes Model of performance thinking.  This is the simplest and most powerful model I know of for conceptualizing, designing and ensuring successful human performance in any work job setting.  A critical component of ensuring successful performance is the day to day management of performers.  Historically, the solution has been to design and control performance.  But what is needed more than ever today is a way to ensure accountable performance while allowing enough freedom for constant innovation.  The framework for doing this is called Commitment-based Management (sometimes also called promise-based management).  It is just now emerging into the mainstream, but my colleagues and I have been practicing it since 1995.

Both Six Boxes and Commitment-based Management come from a particular perspective on organizational performance called Performance Technology.  This is a view that defines human performance as the value of worthy accomplishments, divided by the effort (cost) of achieving those accomplishments.  This definition can be a helpful reminder that success has so much more to do with rallying people around worthy goals and giving them tools to collaborate, than about defining how, where and when work shall be done (of course timing- schedule- can still be part of a worthy goal).  I am hoping that HRD Korea Conference participants will see how these ideas might be incorporated into their extraordinary history and record of success, as Korea continues demonstrating the power of people – our most valuable resource – in shaping our world. usa gambling casino locations

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