Talent: making people your competitive advantage

| May 24, 2011

Talent Title: Talent: making people your competitive advantage

Author: Edward E. Lawler III

Publisher: Jossey-Bass

Call #: EBOOK

From the Publisher:

The source of competitive advantage has shifted in many organizations from reliability to innovation and flexibility. But what does it take for an organization that innovates to then manage effectively? In this follow-up to Built to Change, Ed Lawler argues that it is a combination of the right structure and the right people. First, organizations must decide what structure they are: are you a high-involvement organization that has products and services that require a high level of coordination and cooperation among employees? Or do you have a more global competitor structure in which you are constantly bringing in new talent and technological expertise? Are you a mixture of both? Lawler outlines the unique human capital strategy for each approach, shows what it looks like in action, and provides the foundation and tools for creating competitive and innovative organizations.

About the Author:

Edward E. Lawler III joined the faculty of Yale University after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1964. Three years later he was promoted to Associate Professor.

He moved to the University of Michigan in 1972 as Professor of Psychology and also became Program Director in the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research. In 1978, he became a Professor in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. That same year, he founded and became Director of the University’s Center for Effective Organizations. He was named Professor of Research at the University of Southern California in 1982 and Distinguished Professor of Business in 1999.

Lawler has been honored as a major contributor to theory, research, and practice in the fields of human resources management, compensation, organizational development, corporate governance, and organizational effectiveness. He is the author and co-author of over thirty-eight books and more than three hundred articles, which have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, MIT-Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, USA Today, Strategy and Business, the Financial Times, and more than thirty other magazines, journals, and newspapers.

His most recent books include Rewarding Excellence (Jossey-Bass, 2000), Corporate Boards: New Strategies for Adding Value at the Top (Jossey-Bass, 2001), Organizing for High Performance (Jossey-Bass, 2001), Treat People Right (Jossey-Bass, 2003), Human Resources Business Process Outsourcing (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Achieving Strategic Excellence: An Assessment of Human Resource Organizations (Stanford Press, 2006), Built to Change (Jossey-Bass, 2006), The New American Workplace (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006), and America at Work (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006), Talent: Making People Your Competitive Advantage (Jossey-Bass, 2008), and Achieving Excellence in HR Management: An Assessment of Human Resource Organizations (Stanford Press, 2009) and Management Reset (Jossey-Bass, 2011).

Business Week has proclaimed Lawler one of the top six gurus in the field of management, and Human Resource Executive called him one of HR’s most influential people. Workforce magazine identified him as one of the twenty-five visionaries who have shaped today’s workplace over the past century. He has been a consultant to many corporations, including the majority of the Fortune 100, as well as governments at all levels.

On the Web:

Review

Voted “Best Book of 2008” in Human Capital, Strategy + Business“Some boards do have committees on human resources, but they typically focus on CEO and executive compensation and perhaps succession planning at the executive level, not on the overall talent strategy and effectiveness of the organization…What is needed is a human capital committee that addresses succession planning for senior management positions and the evaluation of the CEO and the top management team.”–as excerpted from TALENT by Edward E. Lawler, III in Directors & Boards

“There was one chapter in Talent that I found to be really new and interesting. That was the chapter about corporate boards and talent management. Often when we think about boards of directors we think about a room of former CEOs and finance guys who go over number and compliance issues. That’s pretty much what Lawler has found in his research as well. But if a company wants to really use its people as its competitive advantage, then these boards of directors have to be informed on the talent management issues within the company. Not only that, but at least some of these board members should have some HR expertise–which according to Lawler’s research, is a pretty rare occurrence.”–Workforce Management

“In his book–for those who wish to proceed with HC-centricity–Lawler describes the steps involved in building talent-based organizations. Through generous case studies of companies from Whole Foods to BMW to Siebel Systems, Lawler outlines ways of achieving HC-centric management through approaches he labels ‘high involvement’ or ‘global competitor.”–HR Magazine

“Lawler presents visionary information and examples that any organization can take pieces from. As a whole, Talent is a thought-provoking read. More importantly it is a practical book. Anytime the reader starts to say to him or herself “yeah right, that would never work” Lawler responds with an acknowledgment of the practicalities and support for optimism. If Lawler’s prediction that more companies will turn towards HC-centric organizations then it would be wise to read this book now.” –The Employment File, 6/10/2008

“A lot of people know a little about Talent. Ed Lawler knows a lot! In fact, he may know more about this topic than anyone I know!”

“There is no better person to provide advice on Talent than Ed Lawler!”

“The world’s authority on HR systems – he shows you how to change the people equation in your company!” – Marshall Goldsmith is the New York Times best selling author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – the Harold Longman Award Best Business Book of 2007.