Capability management and classy exits

On Wednesday InfoBasis ran one of our executive forums at Raymond Blanc’s Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, near Oxford.

It was a great day, with probably the classiest set of emergency fire instructions I have ever had to issue.

The theme of the day was capability management, and setting the scene for us we had Angela Baron of the CIPD. Angela’s cited a wealth of impressive research pointing out that improving human performance in line with business objectives is (of course) about Ability, Motivation and Opportunity (the AMO model).

To give your people this AMO takes two key factors: line manager involvement, and organisational commitment. Unless line managers see people management as a crucial part of their job, and unless the executives are providing the right environment for this, any initiative to boost skills in line with performance will fail.

Angela also stressed, of course, that willingness is not enough, people need the tools to make an impact on AMO, including sensible, believable data about their employees.

Human capital consultant Jon Ingham also spoke, giving us the memorable quote for the day:

“The pig doesn’t get any fatter by measuring it.”

Which struck a chord: measurement may be useful, but without action, it’s pointless. But Jon also raised an interesting point: it’s possible not only to shift the skills base of an organisation to fit business strategy, but to re-consider where the business should be heading, on the basis of its skills base.

Finally, Chris Webb of Flagship Training. Well, Chris is an InfoBasis client so I would be bound to say that he did a good job. In fact he gave an excellent presentation and I won’t spoil his thunder for future events or pre-empt the inevitable case study that will follow, but he did say that Flagship has made significant cost savings from taking a good look at its competencies. (He mentioned a return on investment figure in excess of 100% . Well in excess.)

Oh, and those classy emergency fire instructions? Well, you know that the emergency evacuation drill from any event is usually something like this:

“If there’s a fire, leave by the metal spiral staircase at the back, and we’ll meet by the wheelie bins at the back of MacDonald’s.”

Not at le Manoir. Here it was rather different:

“If there’s a fire, we’ll walk across the gravel driveway and assemble on the croquet lawn, where we will be served champagne.”

Okay, I made the champagne bit up, but it’s still a wonderful venue. And they do a decent lunch, too.

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