We return to the challenge offered by Hernando De Soto: How do we transform the invisible in a society to the visible, so that this society might more fully use its rich sources of capital and realize its full potential? De Soto’s analysis of the mystery of unrealized capital in third world countries applies to the mystery of human capital in Western organizations. While leaders of Western organizations are members of the so-called “fully developed” world when it comes to land, buildings and technology, they are members of an “underdeveloped” world in the appreciation of human capital.
In this series of essays we offer two tangible consultative strategies for more fully releasing human capital: the Human Resource Bank and Appreciative Benchmarking. While these two strategies can impact in a dramatic way on the functioning of an organization, these are much less important than the philosophy underlying these strategies. This philosophy concerns appreciation and, more specifically, recognition that effective leadership in contemporary times requires attention to the hidden, as well as highly visible, talents of men and women with whom the leader works.
These talents must be fully appreciated and released if these leaders are to respond successfully to the complexity, unpredictability and turbulence of the Twenty First Century and if their organizations are to realize their full potential. We would suggest that effective organizational consultation includes assisting leaders to generate information from inside their own organization as well as from other organizations. This information enables these leaders to more fully appreciate and utilize the current and potential human resources within their organization.
The Human Resource Bank: Gathering Information from Inside the Organization
Effective leadership in a contemporary organization requires that one not only be aware of the shifting needs of the people being served in the outside world, but also the shifting needs and resources of those who work inside the organization. Today, we talk of the internal customers in our organizations. Successful managers know who their internal customers are and how best to serve them. The successful manager of a finance department, for instance, knows what type of financial information the production department needs. The successful manager of production, in turn, knows what timelines she needs to follow in order to satisfy a sales department that has promised its customer a product in four weeks.