WHAT ARE TOM’S TRUTH BOMBS?
Tom's Truth Bombs: 10 key thoughts on business, talent, and growing teams
We all want a service provider we can trust to work with us to reach the best possible solution for a project. When we bring an outsider in to consult we want to see workable, practical and cost effective solutions. We want to know that the advice we are getting is tested and proven on the “Business Battleground” - and is the right fit for our business.
WithYouWithMe Chief Customer Officer Tom Larter has been handling Sales and Customer relations since the company was born. I sat him down the other day and picked his brains on the ten most common “Truth Bombs” he finds himself delivering to customers and stakeholders.
We call them Truth Bombs because if you haven’t heard them before they are like a lightbulb moment with TNT explosive– they tend to make quite an impression!
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – ONE
YOU DON’T HAVE A TALENT SHORTAGE– YOU HAVE A SKILL SHORTAGE
“I borrowed this one from an advisor, but it really resonates” says Tom.
You’ve spent a lot of time and resources hiring the right talented people with the right skills then and the right culture fit now. Sadly, you’re facing the impact of technology changing your jobs and demanding more of the business. You will never be able to hire net new talent as fast as skills change. You also don’t want a reputation as a company with high staff turnover rates from a ‘fire and hire’ mentality.
Building skills every week and investing in your people will help you solve your talent shortage faster than you think. Identifying employee raw potential and matching to skills your business needs is a great strategy.
Your people have always been talented – and it’s likely they have hidden skills and aptitudes that you have never seen in the workplace. You just need to unlock their hidden potential and bring their skills up to date.
A WithYouWithMe Potential assessment and follow-on Bootcamp is one way you can quickly and efficiently upgrade the skills of your talented team. One hour per day over five days Instructor Led Training on any of our Pipeline subjects – Data, Cyber Security, Process Automation, Project Management, IT, and Cloud - with new products being added all the time.
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – TWO
FOCUS ON SKILLS OVER CONTROLS
“This one was coined by our CEO and makes so much sense that you won’t know where you went wrong”. TL
Your Business Data is the lifeblood of your business. You need to know that it is accurate, relevant, up to date and secure. You’d rather lock all that vital information away in a safe but sadly – you have to let your employees see and use it – greatly increasing the possibility that somebody is going to really mess something up. As much as you might like to you don’t have time to stand over their shoulders and watch every step they take. If you are going to do that you might as well do their job for them.
It’s tempting to lock your employees down to tightly with controls because its easier to teach people how to follow the rules than to change their ways of working. Rule bound teams can give the illusion of being safer but ultimately they slow the business down.
Here’s why rules and controls don’t work.
The impact of technology does present risks to security and privacy - we know this. Technology also presents a large upside for growth and optimisation of your workforce. Giving your employees the skills to use new tools, systems, and data more competently and accurately empowers them to move fast. Everyone wants their job to be easier and everyone hates process.
Control heavy organisational Big Data management is a classic example. Excessive organisational controls around data slow down time to decisions, increase both time to customer response and time to insight – slowing down the whole business. Digitally skilled workforces reduce time to decisions, speed up response to customers and supercharge the ability of the team to respond to insight.
Your employees need to be able to mix things up, compare things and inject new datasets into the table without having to go through 5 layers of process.
The answer is to enable your employees with the skills to explore ideas effectively and enact solutions for themselves. Sure – they’re going to make mistakes – but they’ll also know how to drive business growth without having to wait for your personal involvement.
The best way to protect the integrity of your data is to ensure that the people using it are as highly skilled as possible.
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – THREE
IT MAY NOT BE AS TECHNICAL AS YOU THINK
As soon as you start researching products for a digital upgrade it’s likely you are going to be bombarded with all of the “latest and greatest” new ideas and software developments. Let’s face it - artificial intelligence, machine learning and process automation are exciting and powerful cutting edge tools. Most human beings want to be able to say that they are using the latest and the greatest. In many cases though applying these exciting new tools to your business pain point might be like bringing a cannon to a boxing match – massive overkill.
Ask yourself first if your workforce is using your existing tools to their maximum potential. If the answer is “probably not” – then your cost effective solution is likely to be training your people to maximise the potential of the digital tools they already have. If your people are not comfortable using the everyday tools – they are unlikely to fall in love with the more complex ones.
Try the simple solution with the tools that you have at hand before you spend capital on tools that you may not necessarily need.
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – FOUR
HUMANS DICTATE HOW MACHINES OPERATE
WYWM believes in a future where humans dictate how machines will work – not the other way around. Build the digital skills of your team to prepare for the future of technology and show them a positive career trajectory.
Machines can not create, machines will never be able to make the intuitive leap of true genius. There will always be a problem that a machine can not solve where the only solution is found via the involvement of a human being.
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – FIVE
THE QUESTIONS YOU NEED ANSWERED MAY BE SIMPLER THAN YOU THINK
Straight from Tom’s mouth:
“Many of the most in demand skills in industry right now are not that technical. You don’t need a team of PHds. You don’t need a team of highly experienced technicians. You need critical thinkers, abstract reasoners and good communicators. You can train analysts and apply those skills in Data, Cyber, Automation, AI and much more. Ground your team in fundamental skills & industry leading tools and you will progress.”
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – SIX
HAVING NON TECHNICAL PEOPLE DRAFTING JOB DESCRIPTIONS FOR TECHNICAL ROLES IS SETTING YOURSELF UP TO FAIL
“More and more job descriptions are showing their irrelevance for talent attraction. People want to know how exciting the work is, what the team culture is like and what skills they will need every day.”
The pace of evolution of digital and technical skill sets is always going to be fast and iterative - and it’s only going to get faster. The only people who really know what technical skills are required for a task are the technicians themselves. Even the most motivated HR professional drafting the job description will be unlikely to have a clear understanding of which technical skills will be critical to the role and which will be optional extras.
Even the best intentioned and most transparent Hiring Manager will be naturally reluctant to admit that the new hire they made has the wrong skill set – so the tendency is to craft the job description to mitigate risk. Fishermen know that if they cast the net wide they will get more fish – but will they get the fish they need?
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – SEVEN
TEAM DESCRIPTIONS ARE BETTER THAN JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Instead of thinking about the best person with the right skills sets to achieve a task, think about which skills and dynamics will complement each other in the best way.
Mapping the skills, aptitude and potential of your team members is the best way to gain visibility on where your team members are likely to contribute to success and growth.
Good teams learn to work together – Superteams fit together from the start.
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – EIGHT
CREATE A TEAM WITH THE CAPACITY TO GROW INTO THE DIGITAL FUTURE OF WORK
Accept the fact that the new digital capability you purchased started the countdown to obsolescence on the day the design was completed. Are you focusing exclusively on your next digital upgrade when you should also be thinking about the second, third, eighth and tenth upgrade?
You can’t replace your team every time you upgrade your tech. You can’t afford the loss in production caused by a long post upgrade scramble to upskill. Your only real choice is to make that period as short, efficient and painless as possible for your team. You don’t want to be fighting resistance and confusion every time you introduce new tech into the workflow.
If you want a team that can move smoothly and happily through tech upgrades - skills training is the answer. If you want a team with the capacity to grow happily and smoothly into the digital future of your business- mapping potential and skills training is the answer.
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – NINE
TRAIN FOR SKILLS & CAPABILITY OVER COMPLIANCE
Are you training your team to do their job to meet regulatory requirements– or are you growing potential thought leaders in your business? Do you want future Masters or just a team of experienced Apprentices? If you only train your team to meet compliance regulations you are unlikely to be accessing all of their potential.
Apprentices work with a limited toolbox and have to be closely supervised. Masters make their own tools or repurpose any tool in the workshop to achieve an innovative and creative solution. When you only train for compliance you are only training apprentices with limited skill sets. When you train for skills and capability you are growing your business Masters.
TOM’S TOP TEN TRUTH BOMBS TO TEAM LEADS – TEN
DO YOU PROVIDE ACCESS TO LEARNING OR DO YOU HAVE A LEARNING CULTURE?
If you can build a Superteam with a Growth Mindset the pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow is going to look like pocket change.
Any Business owner or manager these days can tell themselves that their team has all the access they need to any learning they want via the internet – and it’s mostly true. We recommend you ask yourself few questions:
Are my people curious enough?
Do my people feel safe to spend “work time” learning and teaching others?
Do we recognise and celebrate new learning in our team?
Do my people feel they need permission to explore opportunities and take risks?
Does your culture connect what needs to be learnt to individual and business growth?
Does your training speak to long term business and personal career goals?
If you’ve answered “No” to any of these questions then we can help you build a Growth and Learning Mindset in your Team. Register and book a call at www.withyouwithme.com to unlock the Potential in your people.