Talent Circles

Friday, July 13, 2012

Business Talent Networks: The Coming-of-New-Economic-Age Story

In the quirky yet poignant coming-of-age movie Moonrise Kingdom, every single frame of film is like a lovely picture-box where the forced perspective of people and imagery is slanted outward toward the viewing audience, inviting you into every second of every scene. It’s fascinating really. Thousands of film frames, these celluloid picture-boxes, collaborating one after the other to deliver a unified story for all to experience and hopefully enjoy.

But today our intertwined personal and professional lives are fast-forward fragments of these forced perspective stills. We live in snapshots of jobless recoveries and economic downturns and employee dissatisfaction and too many unqualified applicants and business uncertainties and one size fits all no matter how much some blather on incessantly about adaptability and globalization...

These pictures aren’t quirky or poignant or pretty. They’re literal clichés from today’s world of work that doesn’t show much for tomorrow other than flat two-dimensional black and white stills. However, consider this from a recent BusinessWeek article:

From March 2011 to March 2012, [John Deere] customers ordered more than 7,800 different configurations of the 8R. On average, each configuration was built only 1.5 times. More than half the 8Rs were built just once, for a single customer. Thus, the global tractor: One size does not fit all, from Kansas to Kazakhstan.

Yes, John Deere. The riding mower and tractor company somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. The $32 billion dollar global riding mower and tractor company somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, that nowhere being somewhere my wife and her much of family are from. The Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa right smack dab on the banks of great Mississippi River, America’s heartland, where we’re going soon for a family vacation. Moline, Illinois, to be exactly where John Deere is headquartered. (The picture is my oldest daughter wearing a pink John Deere hat a few years ago.)

Again, that’s 7,800 different configurations on big hardware where each configuration was built only 1.5 times. A true America icon still shining brightly after 175 years, adaptable and global and growing and hiring. This is not the hip and fresh gig from Silicon Valley and the Bay Area and the startup capital of the world, San Francisco. But it’s just as important to the U.S. economy as well as the entire world.

If a large historic business institution can create lovely picture-boxes of innovation and growth, then so can other companies. We don’t have to be stuck with fragmented and bland world-of-work imagery. We can actually create business talent networks of executive management, employees, alumni and applicants who can come together and collaborate, sharing a dizzying array of configurations that give forced perspective a whole new, well, perspective. These vibrant images becoming one fascinating coming-of-new-economic-age story for all to experience, enjoy and thrive in, from the Heartland to hereafter.

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