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How Fast Is Your ‘B’ Team?
Tapping the Talent
Here’s an example. A few years ago, Sears, one of the largest retailers in the U.S., was trying to create a clear understanding of its transformation strategy across the nation. The visualization of the big picture of the business, the economic drivers and the desired customer experience had all been crafted by the A team.
As an experiment, the CEO decided to see how a group of newly hired customer-facing associates would interpret the visuals and the concepts they illustrated. He wanted to find out if they could see what needed to be done in the business and their role in bringing it to life.
The CEO sat at the back of the room as 10 new associates began to discuss what needed to happen in the business. For the first 15 minutes, the CEO couldn’t write fast enough as he jotted down all the things that the group was missing. They didn’t make the right connections between the competition and the strategy; they interpreted some of the data in a way that was different from how the leaders interpreted it; their depth of conversation and vocabulary stopped far short of what the CEO needed to hear.
And then, for the next 20 minutes, he slowly began to cross off those items one by one as the new employees reached the exact same conclusions as the A team, but in different ways. He was stunned to find this group of new employees had come up with the same things that needed to be done to turn the business around.
However, the most amazing thing happened in the final 10 minutes. After his two-step process — writing down what they missed, then checking off that they really did get it — this CEO of a multibillion-dollar company began to take notes. He began writing furiously. I don’t mean just one or two ideas, but pages of notes based on the conversation of these new junior associates (who weren’t even in the “C” team yet). They began discussing the business-critical changes that had to occur in the retail business as a whole and at Sears in particular.
The Next Generation of HR: Whatâ€™s Wrong? Whatâ€™s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
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