Definition of Insanity: Navigating this Crisis Without the Discipline of Talent Optimization

The Department of Labor recently announced that jobless claims rose ten times the weekly average of 345,000 to 3.3 million from March 15th to March 21st. Projections of future jobless claims range from 4.5 – 8.6 million. The Federal Reserve estimates 47 million jobs could be lost next quarter. From the high of 131.8 million U.S. full time employees in December of 2019, that could mean a near-term 34% unemployment rate (up from 3.5% in February 2020). The Great Depression was 25% unemployment.


Times like these separate great leaders from good managers and present as many opportunities as problems.


Business as usual won’t work. Now more than ever executive leadership teams need to be absolutely clear and aligned on short-term and long-term strategies. There can be no wasted effort or internal friction from executive misalignment. Resources are constrained and demand for products and services are impacted, in some segments, significantly. In their October 2009 article Charles Ormiston and Darrell Rigby of Bain & Company suggested asking the following three strategic questions, that remain as relevant today as they did then.

Key questions:

  1. How is the [economic] slowdown affecting the industry I compete in?

  2. What is my company's strategic position within that industry?

  3. And what level of financial resources can my company draw on?

In his book, Good to Great Jim Collins describes a Hedgehog strategy. Simply put this means going back to focus on the one thing your organization does better than anyone else and do that one thing extremely well. Stop doing the things that are not core to your business, take you off mission and produce mediocre results. Getting back to your hedgehog strategy will focus your core talent needs and better define where you can afford to trim and where you can take the opportunity to invest in newly available talent.


Talent optimization is a four-part discipline you can use to align your business strategy with your people strategy for optimal business results. Through the discipline of Design and The PI Strategy Assessment™, executive teams can achieve strategic alignment and focus, identify fit between the leadership team and the chosen business strategy; uncover gaps and take action. Workplace Synergistics can help.


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