Friday, February 10, 2006

Using a Labor Supply Chain to Build Teams By Personality

In previous blogs I've discussed how supply chain principles could and are being applied to a labor pool. At an event this week in Greenwich, Connecticut I along with several of my colleagues participated in a roundtable discussion on this topic with IT analysts and university professors that study supply chains. After taking them through the strategy and implementation some interesting comments and suggestions came up that I want to share.

If you haven't read my earlier blogs on this topic you may need to do so to understand how this fits in, but I'll try to summarize. Essentially, IBM is in the process of cataloging the skills and talents of its 190,000 IBM's Business Consulting Services division - so for example if and when a client needs a Russian and French speaking RFID expert that is familiar with the automotive industry in St. Petersburg on March 10th we can find that person in seconds. The backdone of this strategy is a common database or taxonomy that categorizes skills, language, job experience, etc. This is being done today and by the end of the year it will be completely up and running globally with 1 million employees and contractors.

Now here is what gets really interesting. What if we added a personality category. So not only could you search based on skills, but on if the employee gets along with others, is a leader or a follower or if the person is shy and typically likes to told what to do and left alone. Using something like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as the framework, employees could take the test and then be categorized. This data could be used to build teams for long term client engagements and to match client personalities with consultants. The other thought was to also add a customer sat rating, similar to the ratings for eBay sellers and buyers. (Here is an example of what the database could look like)

Obviously, privacy issues arise, but it's an interesting concept. One of the roundtable participants told a startling story about the nature of airline pilots. Today, airlines run personality profiles on pilots and co-pilots to make sure that they are compatible. Apparently, several times in the 80s planes crashed because the pilots refused to take orders from each other and preferred crashing to submission. I'd take giving up a little privacy over a crash and burn any day. What are your thoughts?

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