Fluid Talent and the SWAT team concept


This is an interesting article: The Industries That Are Being Disrupted the Most by Digital.

The idea that you bring in someone in a catalytic role to drive the change, and then hand over to hybrid managers, or emerging new positions, as the organisation matures.

One of the ideas that I had been discussing with ex-colleagues is the concept of a roving SWAT team or individuals, whose job is to look strategically at an organisation and focus on solving specific problems that are diagnosed. One of the KPIs is redundancy – a measure of their success is that new initiatives are sustainable and handed over smoothly to existing or newly appointed teams. Then they are off to solve the next problem.

The advantage of this is that you maximize individual capabilities. We expect employees to be all-rounders and perfect, when that is not the case. Employees who excel at catalytic roles are always on the hunt for the next problem to solve, and don’t necessarily handle routine and the day-to-day grind well. Or they can handle it, but get bored very easily, which makes retention of such top talent difficult. But you also need employees who are good at the day-to-day grind, to keep the business running, who may not be the best visionaries, but they put food on the table.

Having such an approach also reduces strain on teams who are often tasked with dual objectives of keeping the business going and innovating at the same time.

In the new economy, we have to deal with the concept of fluid talent, that increasingly you will have multi-talented employees who have skillsets that allow them to be applied in different contexts that cannot be bound by one title. This is where adaptability and learning agility are most critical in an employee.

If you’ve read all the way here, ask me about employee kites and kite-handlers when we next meet.


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