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A Clustered Future

by Dave Aron  |  November 21, 2012  |  4 Comments

At our symposia in Barcelona, Orlando and Gold Coast – I presented my maverick research called “Stop Hiring People; Start Hiring Clusters”. The core idea behind it is that companies should hire pre-formed teams who have learned to work together and have their own tools and work practices, but to hire that team as a permanent asset of the company. This is different to teams of consultants, in that the team is a permanent part of the company. It is different to conventional employment, in that the company doesn’t have a relationship with the individuals in the team, only with the cluster – based on outcomes. The cluster is entirely self-managing – in the extreme case hiring and firing its own members and apportioning remuneration amongst its members, without the knowledge of the company. (This extreme version will require various legal and regulatory changes to become a reality.)

I noticed that even more than other presentations I gave, people were highly engaged and animated. At the end of one session, I had a group of a dozen clients around me debating vociferously. What became clear is that everyone recognizes that current talent management approaches aren’t really working (and in fact probably aren’t really worthy of that name), and something new is needed. Crowdsourcing holds out hope, but probably isn’t the answer for all work – for example work requiring a great deal of internal contextual knowledge.

Get ready for a clustered future!


Tags: people-workforce-structure  

Dave Aron
VP & Gartner Fellow
9 years with Gartner
26 years in IT industry

Dave Aron is a vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner's CIO Research group, focusing on IT leadership issues. Mr. Aron is a thought leader on business and IT strategy, mergers and acquisitions, CEO-CFO-CIO interactions, benefits realization, governance….Read Full Bio

Thoughts on A Clustered Future

  1. Thank you for this wonderful article! It is extremely insightful. I wish that you’ll carry on posting your wisdom with us.

  2. In what ways is this fundamentally different then just hiring a company to do a project, or outsource a process?

  3. Dave Aron says:

    Sander – great question. The idea is that the cluster is a permanent asset of the company just like an employee (except you don’t manage the individuals). This means they get contextual knowledge of the company over time, and can be applied to all different tasks/ activities as appropriate. They should also be innovating all the time, since their short, medium and long-term incentives are well-aligned with the company’s.

  4. Yogesh Malik says:

    The only three true job interview questions are:
    1. Can you do the job?
    2. Will you love the job?
    3. Can we tolerate working with you?

    Getting at these three will save you much pain down the road.
    I guess new team is prepared now.

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