Bolting horses and stable doors

Talk about a statement of the bleedin’ obvious.

Neil Roden, Group HR Director of RBS, that bastion of prudence and careful risk management, has announced on the Personnel Today website that ‘…ensuring the bank had the best people…was crucial to its success.’

He went on to say that the bank has been examining the behaviours needed from executives to achieve objectives and guess what they came up with. Risk management, collaboration and people management.

You have my permission to throw your hands in the air and gasp with amazement.

I know, I know. It’s a revelation to us all.

I wonder what Training Needs Analysis Mr Roden has undertaken to come up with such a brilliant executive development strategy?

Oh, I remember… it was a real life situation in which the bank virtually collapsed and had to be bailed out by you and I.

Now, I have a new, more radical approach to making sure businesses, whether it’s RBS or any of our businesses in EB, have the skills they need, before the sh… well, before there’s trouble.

How about this for an approach?

Make a careful assessment of your business now and then plan in regular assessments every six months or so, so that you create a domino effect; you are always looking to the future and as far as possible, anticipating the demands your business will be under.

Your assessment will include things like the strengths and weaknesses in your business, what makes it successful and what is going to keep it successful in the future. There’s a number of tools that can help you do this – The Balanced Scorecard by Kaplan and Norton is a neat way of taking a long-term view.

Then, when you’ve completed your bigger picture review you can think about the next level. What does your business need to keep it where it is or to get it to where you want it to be?

One of these things will be people… or, more accurately, the skills, knowledge and attributes needed by your people. Once you’ve decided what you need you can work out what you’ve got. There’ll be a gap and it’s your job to close that gap with people development to both protect your business and keep it moving in the direction you want it to go.

It’s called planning.

I wonder if Mr Roden had been through this process a year ago what he would have found in his business?

Risk management… Hmmm… We might have a bit of a gap there. I’ll tell Fred he needs to go on a risk management course.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that conversation!

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