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!