Technology will never be optimized without talent — here’s why

BY Amy Gallo – HARVARD BUSINESS REPORT – Image by Thomas Leuthard

In the early days of my company, we were a team of dedicated, talented professionals who worked long hours and often treaded unfamiliar territory toward a shared goal of ‘winning the business by winning for the worker’. In other words, we wanted to ‘do well while doing good’. It was during a long night of preparing for a client presentation that the thought troubled me that my team, while dedicated, talented and ambitious, were also sacrificing personal and family time in order to enjoy the ‘ride’ we were on! It was fun, no doubt. But, as with most fun, a price of personal balance was being paid. What could I do about it?

We – a small woman-owned company, were competing vigorously as simply a staffing company against some mega giants in our industry. We needed a solution to competition, and so began the process of creating efficiencies internally that allowed us to compete for small segments of business while offering comparable pricing. These internally designed technologies and processes quickly expanded our offerings beyond staffing, into workforce solutions. Very soon we believed we had developed some of the most dynamic workforce solutions technology in our industry. We were endless in our passion to see it delivered into companies, along with our management solutions and delivery teams. As I considered further, I realized that the support to our technology we were offering our clients was the same support my own employee teams deserved.

Often, when my brother and I talked with clients about our suite of technologies designed to support workforce solutions with user ease, we referenced an analogy of a race car to the driver. No matter how well designed and proficient a race car is, it will not win its way around the track without a skilled and passionate driver. In other words, technology remains in the ‘tool’ category without the talent to support its maximization. Without a skilled, thoughtful and healthy driver, a wreck is invited.

When we spoke to clients about the ‘drivers’ of our ‘race cars’, we explained the principals behind successful deployment:

T: Talent – We had to make sure that people, as well as process were the focus. Process is always the fuel that talent uses to keep the engine of the race car (technology) running. Optimum process is like optimum fuel – whatever form. But it’s always the talent who drive the processes and technologies to deliver winning results. Processes and technologies must always be clearly understood and expertly utilized for optimum outcomes.

E: Empowerment – Optimum performance does not happen by simply educating people on specific areas of need. Full circle clarity on all levels, skill and the empowerment to make decisions – which means the freedom to make decisions, sometimes with trial and error to success (…and , always with risk mitigation) – are critical to delivering technology supported solutions that act and feel seamless in a client environment.

C: Circular Communication – Full circle clarity does not happen without Circular Communication; and circular communication is simply filling in all the gaps of information for all stakeholders, so that everyone who needs to ask gets to ask, and everyone who needs to know, knows. Sometimes this is more complex or subjective than one may initially think. Often, the more answers we get lead us to more questions. It’s true, though, that getting the best answers available to all the known questions is foundational to delivering on time schedules, deliverables, and with trust in the partnership.

H: Healthy Habits and Happy Hearts – No matter how fulfilling the work is, nor how great the worker is at it, without healthy bodies, nothing feels complete. Just as we work for healthy solutions and outcomes in our work life, so must we deliver the same service to our bodies, minds and spirit. Its not just about the athleticism of our health, either. It’s also about making sure we are placing healthy foods into our communities so that we may practice healthy eating along with healthy exercise. After all, our bodies are our ultimate vehicles, and healthy habits enable us to enjoy healthy hearts. Hearts are the engines that support everything we drive our bodies to do.

Here’s the Truth – Technology will never be optimized without Talent that’s also operating at a maximum level.

Just as this is good for me to know as a business builder, it’s important for you to know at whatever stage you are in, in your life. Whether you design systems, procure solutions or simply use your cell phone to drive you successfully through your day, be savvy. Understand the truth behind what technology is designed to do: Make life better livable.