John Wheeler has a great post where he shares some hard earned experience over at Fast Fission, describing three fatal flaws for workforce planning…which we mostly agree with….

  1. First Fatal Flaw: Reliance on Zealots.  Yes, it certainly can be fatal to be point sensitive on such a critical project…do NOT rely on just a few individuals who make things happen.  BUT, when I’ve seen this, often it’s because either the process is too analytical and locked behind closed doors…or because it’s just not a very good project.  Typically a good workforce planning process takes on a life of it’s own (our clients are beating the business off with a stick)…and remember that a good dose of passion (such as you might get from the occasional zealot) never goes astray!
  2. Second Fatal Flaw: Lack of Line Experience.  Yes, you gotta know the business – or at least learn the business, because that’s what it’s all about.  If you do not have line experience, focus hard on learning it, and on being able to speak the language.  We’ve seen people without direct line experience be fantastically successful, because they learned and focused on the business
  3. Third Fata Flaw: Lack of Skill in Data Analysis.  John says “Every workforce planning team must have core competencies in data analysis and statistics, understanding what information decision makers need, and how to effectively communicate to them” – but of course you can also have good access to these competencies if they aren’t in your team directly.  Certainly this one featured highly on our study on what makes a great workforce planner – but so too did the ability to leverage skills in others…which will also help you overcome that first flaw!

There is wisdom in John’s warnings, and learning from practitioners is unbelievably helpful in the journey to being a great workforce planner – we actively encourage you to get over and comment on John’s post sharing your own thoughts on what “fatal flaws” there are out there for up and coming workforce planners!

BUT, what you also learn from John’s advice, since you know he is still practicing, is that in workforce planning, you can survive and outgrow a “fatal” flaw if you have to.  But of course if you get the right advice on workforce planning in the first place, you won’t have to.

What flaws have you managed to overcome? Tags: