The Constant Tension…

If you are like most people in the learning and talent management space…you may have experienced this situation.

You are in an organization with a Corporate (Corp) learning and talent management group, probably responsible for cross-corporate initiatives and a number of Business Unit (BU) learning and talent management groups, probably responsible for being responsive to the business needs of the BU. If you have been in either of these groups within your corporation you notice the constant tension between the two. Let’s see if any of these statements apply to your company…

– We have to be faster than Corp, they are too slow and not focused on what the business needs…

– There goes the BU again…off on their own without working with us…

– They are not team players…Yes that is used equally by Corp and BU…

What is even funnier is that these type of reactions are so ingrained in these two organizations…that if you move between them in an organization…you take on that persona. It is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde action…really kind of scary.

Even in my own experience I have reacted the same way I am sad to say. It is ssssoooo easy to fall into that trap and the repercussions are extremely hard to get away from in the long run. The perceptions of you from these kinds of activities are lasting perceptions…

So what do you do to break this vicious cycle? In my current organization, my team has the roles and responsibilities for learning and talent management for our BU, for Corporate and for some of those responsibilities within the other BU. Recently as we had the same discussions internally…one way I addressed it was to have a 3-way discussion and allow my colleagues to share their perceptions about me and not try to defend my actions. We have tried to create a culture of feedback that includes telling people how you feel and being more self-aware about how w. e impact each other. It has been a healthy dialog and while it hasn’t created nirvana…it has been a step in the right direction.

I do have to say that this is like walking a tightrope though. To get where we are has involved constant dialog that is honest and a focus on understanding each other’s priorities and where necessary…influencing these decisions where I can.

Is there a magic potion and a silver bullet to working this constant tension? Just one…open and honest dialog to understand each other. So put together all of your best relationship management skills and see what happens…

Cheers,
Keith

Dr. J. Keith Dunbar is a Global Talent Management Leader…Creator of Talent, Leadership Capability, and Culture Change…He can be found connecting and sharing knowledge on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Twitter: JKeithDunbar
LinkedIn: J. Keith Dunbar
Google+: J. Keith Dunbar
Blog: DNA of Human Capital

The opinions or views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent the views of the SAIC.

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