I had the opportunity to watch this movie again (having not seen it for more than ten years) and I enjoyed it just as much the second time. If you have not seen the movie, this analogy might be a little hard to grasp, so you may want to rent it before you continue reading. About a day or so after I watched it, I interviewed a candidate for a finance position. As he replied to my questions with his well-rehearsed answers, it occurred to me that he could benefit from the lessons of this movie. If I had to sum up the movie in one word, it would probably be "heart." The athlete (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) had the same skill set throughout the movie, but the press pretty much ignored him, regardless of his accomplishments - for one reason and one reason only. He didn't show any "heart." When he finally showcased his "human" side, he formed a connection with the crowd and reporters, then he suddenly received the recognition he deserved all along. I realized that this has been a universal theme among many of the candidates that I interview. Often, they are so focused on presenting themselves professionally or getting the right answer to the question, that they fail to display any personal attributes or positive energy that would make them stand out among their peers. Likeability and passion go a long way on an interview. While plenty of candidates may have similar credentials, what can differentiate you from the mob of other applicants is your ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally who you are as a person and a potential employee. I will give you an example: I was interviewing candidates for a trading assistant position at a billion-dollar hedge fund. This was a great entry-level opportunity for a recent college graduate, and the competition was fierce. After reviewing hundreds and hundreds of resumes, and completing phone screens with a select group, we narrowed it down to 10 candidates. They all presented well in the interview and had similar backgrounds: impressive schools, financial services internships, extracurricular activities, and stellar grades. However, the one candidate who stood out made a concerted effort to show some heart. Throughout the interview, his energy and the intonation in his voice were very positive, and when he spoke about his experience he made direct eye contact. He often smiled while he spoke about his internships, classes, and so on, and it intimated that he had taken away something positive from every professional experience. At the end of the interview, he thanked me for my time and said "I know that you must be interviewing many candidates for this role and they may have gone to better schools or had higher grades, but I am 100% certain that no one will work harder than I will to learn and add value to the team." He then gave me a very brief example of his strong work ethic and the interview ended with a firm handshake, warm smile, and his sincere thank you for my time. His personal attributes and positive energy are what differentiated him from candidates with similar backgrounds. Before an interview, it is imperative that you practice, practice, and practice some more to be ready for the most common interview questions. (A free recruiter-designed interview simulator is available on PrepareForYourNextInterview.com). But the moral of this story and my Jerry Maguire reference is that, once you have the content "down," make sure that your energy and personality come through as well. As a recruiter, I cannot emphasize enough how much these "soft skills" factor into the final hiring decision. So, remember this advice for every interview: your delivery is as important as the content, so focus on both! Author: Elisa ShefticPhoto Credit: Shutterstock
The world has changed considerably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve been going through so many changes, on various levels. Still, change is hard for so many reasons and people respond to it quite differently. The change management tips to know are about people, technology, self-awareness, and sustainability.
For enterprise-level systems or technology change projects, there are so many moving parts. Companies could forget to engage their most valuable resources, the people who will be impacted by the change. In that case, there’s confusion about why the change is valuable and how the change affects the day-to-day work.
When change is communicated properly and messaged in a clear way, it can be empowering. The stakeholders understand the purpose of the change and directly how it will influence them. This could be managed by conducting a stakeholder impact and analysis, creating a stakeholder engagement committee, and nominating change champions throughout the company.
Naturally, technology is continually changing, and change is still hard for most people. Although the business knows some changes (such as year-end upgrades) are required, it will still make some groups anxious and put them on edge. Having a strong change management process is critical to ensure the change is successful.
Identify the change details such as the purpose, impact, timing, etc. Communicate this information to make sure the business has a clear understanding. Then get the key stakeholders to approve the change. Once the change has been implemented, you want to review to make sure the desired results were achieved. Make sure you report the results (successes) to the organization. With each successful change, it will make the organization more comfortable with the next change.
Experiencing change, it’s not just for everyone else. Many times, you will experience change, as well as manage it. And it’s not as easy as we preach. We all have our own things that we hold on to and it’s somewhat surprising when you find yourself in the resistance category. Not only is it surprising, but it’s also difficult to recognize in ourselves.
Are you avoiding attendance to a training session? Are you leaving out pertinent information to messages? Or—my favorite—are you having trouble making definitive decisions related to the change? These are only a few signs of change resistance but taking a few moments to reflect on our own behavior will alert us to any of our own resistance and then we can take steps to figure out what we need to move forward.
Many times, resistance is centered around losing control of something we have invested in emotionally. Recognizing this fear helps us deal with our emotions constructively, find ways to honor our investment, and then enter into a new change mindset that is open to new emotional investments.
Building on the change—the change work isn’t done when everyone celebrates the “go live” day. To get the full value of the investment and have the change stick, an organization must plan and execute for ongoing commitment, consistency, and keeping value creation in focus. Among companies that report successful completion of change initiatives, most will report 1-2 years later that the success wasn’t sustained, or it looks measurably different from what was first celebrated. Why is that? If people don’t see and experience the promised value of changes, they have no reason not to go back to what they were familiar with before. If the new way isn’t line of sight, relatable, and delivers consistently better results for ALL the stakeholders involved, then disappointment will lead to confusion, followed quickly by abandonment.
Yet it doesn’t have to happen this way. Understanding that change is a process, not an event, and putting into place “scaffolding” that supports the right conditions for the change to take hold and visibly produce value makes all the difference. Every change project is an opportunity to build the capacity for adaptability and responsiveness within an organization because there will be more changes to come in the future. Organization leaders and project sponsors who make clear the importance of the change and remain present not just for accountability but also for engaging in sense-making conversations create confidence that the change is driven by a ”why” and not just a “what.” When people connect these dots together, they see a way to collaborate and win as a team, and who doesn’t enjoy winning?
As you can imagine, there are many leadership areas in which CDAOs focus on collaboration with HR, recruiting, and technology. In their role as the leader of the data analytics (DA) practice and as executive general manager for the firm, current concerns for CDAOs revolve around recruiting, management, and retention of DA talent.
With more firms adopting the center of excellence (COE) and practice model (often Agile at Scale practice models) for data analytics (DA), success begins with designing and implementing a world-class talent architecture.
Let's Start At The Beginning: Why Do We Need Talent Architecture?
Just as a building plan defines the elements of a house to be built, a talent architecture (TA) clearly explains the elements of the jobs to be done. TA is leveraged to understand what skills and competencies are to be recruited, how they should be managed, and what expectations new hires (and current team members) should have regarding job performance, competencies, career progress, and compensation. A finely tuned talent architecture will achieve these goals and set the practice up for organizational, business, and team member success.
An Impactful DA Talent Architecture Has Two Prime Elements With Multiple Powerful Benefits
- Fit for Purpose Job Descriptions: To provide robust, well-defined job descriptions that clearly define role profiles within your organization. These profiles describe the boundaries of the role, years of experience required, and technical/business qualifications. This is important for honing your recruiting strategy and spelling out the expectations for the existing team of each role—what the role is, what it does, and what spells success.
- Career Path and Salary Range: The talent architecture creates spans and layers within each job function that makes it clear to existing staff what it takes to get to the next level, the expectations of those occupying each role, and the salary band for that particular job. When you design the spans and layers, HR will coach the CDAO to be people agnostic and not to think about the existing team but rather what roles are needed for the function and how they will calibrate to the market and best practices and the desired end state organization.
- Credibility and Professionalism: Ensures DA roles are filled with actual data analytics professionals. The talent architecture helps create credibility for the organization's role and the team, with all stakeholders aware that the position is part of an endorsed competency center of excellence. Historically, there were issues with hiring managers slamming people with connected skills (but not the required ones) into a job, only to have them leave or to create sub-optimal results for that particular role. [We all know folks in roles where we scratch our heads wondering how they got there based on required qualifications. Talent architecture helps avoid this syndrome.]
- Business Competitiveness: Roles are clearly defined and are priced to the market via regular surveys. Calibrating to the market allows adjustment within your compensation strategy to attract and retain talent. The salary banding should be reasonably broad to allow for flexibility for advanced, hard-to-find talent/skill sets in data science, engineering, and AI.
- Career Path: Team members know where they stand with a defined career path—'I know who I am, where I am, and where I can go.' Everything is published and why people hold their roles becomes less of a mystery.
- Organizational Transparency: Clarity of job functions and associated levels creates and builds trust with the professionals on the team and rational thinking and understanding of the function by management. I find the higher the trust amongst the team, the lower the turnover!
- Teamwork and Collaboration: Workflows and handoffs are known with understood roles and responsibilities. Very often, there is confusion between data scientists and data engineering regarding the handoffs and who is building what aspects of the tooling. TA brings that clarity and helps engender collaboration with clearer handoffs and job scopes.
An Example Of A Talent Architecture
A talent architecture is a living, breathing system of job families and functions calibrated in content and compensation with a market study. This architecture defines all subject areas, job functions, and categories within an overarching job family. There can be many job functions within this architecture, each with a role profile having the following essentials:
- Role Title
- Role Description and Key Responsibilities: The essence of what the role does. These activities should be stated if the role leads people, uses platforms, and supports the business.
- Competency Level: The level of knowledge that the holder of the role should possess, for example, from Knowledge ofto Competent to Expert level capabilities. These levels often help by translating to salary bands, and specific skill sets help define a role profile. For example, the number of years of experience in machine learning in data science can be a differentiator between the salary paid for the role and the level.
Illustrative: (There are more jobs than these two)
Executive Data Scientist
Data Science Manager
(Including COE/Practice skills, Organization and Leadership skills, and Technical skills)
Rated by knowledge level. For example:
Rated by knowledge level. For example:
Tips On Designing A Talent Architecture Governance And Management
- In alignment with CDAOs and their Drs, HR owns and governs the talent architecture.
- Hiring managers can customize business focus but not competencies. In other words, hiring managers don't get to change the job family at will. They must leverage the governance model to update the roles based on the desired end state and market calibration.
- The dedicated technology team works with HR to make the role profiles and full TA available to enterprise recruiting and LOB teams.
- People analytics teams should be formulated to understand the key insights that can benefit talent planning from the talent architecture.
- LOB leaders/clients are sponsors of data analytics projects. They can be part of the hiring process and give input into the business scope of the role.
- Third-party consultants and best-practice firms should be leveraged to guide any necessary calibrations to the talent architecture. Get in touch with me if anyone wants recommendations for these providers based on my experience.
I hope this paints a picture of some of the critical elements of talent architecture and how CDAOs help with its design. This post should also paint a picture of some of the future of work (FOW) leadership dimensions CDAOs are involved in. As always, the devil is in the details, but I believe I've left much here for you to ponder. Please send your thoughts, comments, and suggestions.
Stay tuned for future posts on What it means to be a CDAO, the critical elements of the job, and the success factors.