Who’s Who in the Zoo

by Matt Poepsel, PhD

Now, if you go to the zoo, you might see something like this lions, tigers, bears, what is that thing, like a puffin or something, whatever it is. And when I was coming up in the ranks, and I was starting to work on sales, they would play the same game called who’s who in the zoo. And what they were talking about in that example was the different types of people involved in getting a solution designed and getting it purchased and getting it installed, and all these types of things.

So I always stuck with me who’s who in the zoo, not just because it’s catchy, but it’s helpful to think about different types of people and in our organizations, we see different types of roles as well when it pertains to talent optimization. So as an example, we’re gonna see executives, very common see HR leaders, obviously, we might call them things like People Operations, or chief people, officer, chief culture officer, whatever, but the talent professionals who are plays such a critical role in making talent optimization possible. But let’s not overlook the team leaders. These are the line of business people who are managing teams can be managers of managers, and then individual employees who for some reason here is pilot. I don’t know why.

But this type of diagram is incomplete. Because I like to think of it like this talent optimization is a collective effort. And there’s really interactions between all of the different types of people or who’s who in the zoo in this example. So first, let’s take a look at on the left hand side, you might see an executive who sets the strategy, we talk a lot about business strategy, well, the team leaders are going to have a component of that strategy. And they need to tailor their piece of it for use with their teams. Or on the far right side, maybe you see an HR leader who says I want to understand and put my finger on the pulse of what’s going on from the individual employees perspective, they might set up and diagnose some type of an employee engagement or employee and experience survey, lots of different combinations across all of these different types of people. And that’s why we say for talent, optimization work, everybody has to play a role. If we say you know what our team leaders aren’t bought in?

Well, it’s going to fail in terms of its implementation. If the executives aren’t bought in, then it’s not going to have the momentum behind it. It needs. Obviously, we need to need our HR teams to run with us and the individual employees have a role to play. Sometimes they feel like they’re on the receiving end of it. But they absolutely we believe in having leaders at every level, they definitely have a role to play as well in terms of how they interact and engage with talent optimization.

Now there’s one key zoom member, if you will, who’s missing here and that’s telling optimization consultant, apparently, she’s doing some diagnosed work. But a town optimization consultant can help to provide guidance to any and all of these audiences, all these different types of people based on their specific business context, their needs, their own localized goals. Sometimes the talent optimization consultant is exactly what you need to either learn how to implement on optimization or break through to that next level. So it is a collective effort, whether we’re working just with people who are inside the organization, working with town optimization consultants, it’s going to take all of us if we’re going to help our organizations be at their best.