People today have more options than any generation in history in terms of how, when, where, and with whom to work, shop, share and learn according to Colin Coulson-Thomas speaking in Brussels at the annual HR Technology Summit: “New possibilities are being created all the time. Innovations are occurring in a variety of technologies. Whether or not the implications are trivial or profound depends upon what technology is applied to, for what purpose and how it is used.”
The author of “Winning Companies; Winning People” encouraged summit delegates to “Get real and think business benefits. The potential of many technologies is way ahead of many IT team’s ability to use them wisely. Just because something can be done does not mean that it should be done. Would customers benefit? Would the benefits be visible? Will more people buy from us because of it? Is it a differentiator or source of competitive advantage? Will it boost performance or save costs? Will we get bitten or loose out if we do not do it?”
Coulson-Thomas urged those with corporate budgets to “spend the money as if it were your own money. Ask the question, would you do this if it were your business? Relate your proposals and projects to key priorities. If new systems are going in, bend over backwards to fully understand them and ensure your colleagues and your organisation gain full advantage of any new potential that is being created. Too often a me-too approach is adopted, and huge sums are devoted to grandiose projects that contribute little to the bottom line and do not give competitive advantage.”
In contrast to costly mega projects Coulson-Thomas presented case studies to show how modestly priced support tools that enable average achievers to emulate the approaches of superstars can give quick paybacks: “They can boost performance, speed up responses, increase understanding, reduce stress, avoid risks, enable bespoke responses and cut compliance costs. They make it easy for people to do difficult jobs, free people from dependency upon particular locations and support mobile activities, relocation and outsourcing. Large returns on investment (ROI) can be obtained.”
In every area he examined: “There are a small number of top performers whose approaches can be captured. Support tools can enable all members of key work groups to adopt top performing behaviours, generating outstanding returns as everyone raises their game and the negative consequences of poor performance are reduced or eliminated by built in controls. Because winning behaviours are made explicit and better support is provided top performers can be freed to try out alternative solutions. Superstars can be enabled to push out the boundaries of achievement.”
Coulson-Thomas’ Winning Companies; Winning People research programme examines how people operate in areas such as building relationships, bidding, pricing, purchasing and exploiting know-how. Over 4,000 organisations have participated and some 2,000 of these have contributed to studies to identify critical success factors for key business development activities. The findings are remarkably consistent across sectors, professions, corporate nationalities and different sizes of organisation.
Areas examined range from communicating to visioning. Investigating teams distinguish the approaches of high performers or winners from the practices of low achieving losers to identify critical success factors and winning ways that can be built into processes and support tools. The results are summarised and examples of support tools given in ‘Winning Companies; Winning People; Making it easy for average performers to adopt winning ways’ by Colin Coulson-Thomas. The book and a series of related reports setting out critical success factors for key corporate activities can be obtained from Policy Publications.
According to Coulson-Thomas, “Critical success factors and winning approaches can be determined and built into processes and support tools. Even top performers are only very effective at less than half of the critical success factors identified for an area such as competitive bidding. The performance of every company examined so far could be increased by putting additional critical success factors in place.”
The second three day Annual HR Technology Summit was held at The Brussels Marriot Hotel. Delegates were senior executives, such as senior vice presidents, vice presidents and directors involved with technology for human resources. The summit was chaired by Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas who also spoke on adopting winning behaviours and state of the art technologies to obtain real benefits and maximise ROI.
Boardroom consultant Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas of Adaptation (adaptation.ltd.uk) is also Chairman of Bryok Systems and Cotoco, and a member of the academic team at the University of Greenwich. He has helped over 100 boards improve director, board and corporate performance, and reviewed the processes and practices for competing and winning of over 100 companies. He is the author of over 40 books and reports, and has spoken at over 200 national and international conferences in 40 countries.