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A Revolution Is Brewing At Work

I predict that smart organizations will soon put their money where their mouths have long been. Talent management will become an integral part of their long-term strategies.
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"We no longer select people, they select us."

That's an English CEO, as quoted in a Financial Times article by their European editor, John Thornhill. He wrote about British historian Theodore Zeldin and his "radical proposals for French president Nicolas Sarkozy." In a nutshell, Zeldin argues that the hierarchical corporation is outmoded, and that organizations must put people at the centre of all their endeavours. "If we want the best people and we want to attract them, we have to say 'what do you want in your job?'"

New Radical Innovators let out a collective whoop of joy at seeing such a thing in print. New Radical Innovators are men and women who are, like other New Radicals, leveraging their career expertise to take on some of the world's toughest challenges. But they're doing it from inside their field or organization. These are not people who encourage their companies to make a difference by launching a community program or donating money to a worthy cause. These are true innovators -- their ideas are directly related to an organization's goals. And their work has an impact on the bottom line.

I second Zeldin's thoughts (and the New Radical whoop!). What's more, I predict that smart organizations will soon put their money where their mouths have long been. Talent management will become an integral part of their long-term strategies. They'll understand that New Radical resources exist at every level of the organization (not just among their top people). And that unleashing these Innovators will be critical both to their ability to attract and retain workers, and to their success as an organization.

Here are three simple rules organizations like yours can follow to encourage New Radical Innovation.

1. Count Us In
Think beyond the executive suite and traditional R&D departments. New Radical Innovators exist throughout your organization.

2. Create A Climate
Find ways to ensure that individuals can flourish and take risks. Innovation happens when people rebel against the status quo.

3. Encourage Cross-Fertilization
Breakthroughs happen when people from different divisions -- or silos -- have a chance to interact. It may feel like chaos or conflict, but it leads to creativity.

Should you still be questioning the power of this new thinking, consider this. A recent Rand Corporation study suggests that the U.S. military could be positioned as an organization that is doing good in the world, through relief efforts in countries that are coping with the aftermath of natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes. Clearly, New Radical Innovators are at work in places one might not expect. Which seems pretty revolutionary to me.