Archive for December, 2010

Ho Ho Holding Down the Federal Government Employee Wages


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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

The holiday season brings out the best in many people.  Traditionally, this is a time of giving and sharing.  But for Federal workers, they will unfortunately experience a different kind of sharing – the hardship felt by many Americans who are un- and under-employed.    Late last month, President Obama proposed a two-year wage freeze for some 2 million federal workers.  As Charles Riley wrote in his November 29, 2010 article for Money (Obama calls for federal wage freeze: President Obama’s proposal Monday to freeze federal worker pay would save $60 billion over 10 years):  ”The freeze… [is] an important step to help generate taxpayer support at a time when policymakers will need to make numerous difficult decisions about curbing the debt, one fiscal expert said.”

However, this proposal, impacting some 2 million workers, is just a drop in the bucket toward solving the debt crisis in America, achieving “… less than 1% of what’s ultimately needed.” So why bother? 
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Filed under: Expert Perspective - Rewards

Join the 2010 Private Equity Pay Survey Webinar TODAY December 14, 2010 at 11:00 AM


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To register for the December 14th Webinar addressing the results of the Private Equity firm human capital practices and compensation programs survey CLICK HERE    

or go to

The Holt Survey is now out during this critical time while Private Equity firms are preparing their budgets for 2011.  Key topics will include ownership structures, the transfer of ownership, staffing levels, and other key insights into the operations and rewards practices of Private Equity firms.  More simply put, results from the 2010 Holt Private Equity Survey presented in this webinar will help you gain insights as to “how” and “how much” other firms are rewarding talent in an uncertain economy based on their current and future business strategies.
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Filed under: Expert Perspective - Rewards

Leading From the Top


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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Rory Cellan-Jones’ November 14, 2010 article for the BBC (Can brain scans tell us who makes a good chief executive? Brain scans could reveal leadership ability) got our editorial board thinking about what we have seen as important characteristics of effective leaders.  Cellan-Jones writes: “Neuroscientists and psychologists believe they can make a real contribution to our understanding of what makes leaders tick.”   So until advanced technologies can scan a baby’s brain at birth and let us know if he or she will be a leader or a follower, here are a few things to consider:

1) Leadership is highly situational and cannot be defined in a limited way.  Like an animate organism, a company goes through a lifecycle that bring changes. From start up to decline and all the steps in between, the company’s leaders will help to dictate continued success (or failure).  The characteristics of the individual who will effectively lead a start-up differ from the characteristics of the individual who will effectively lead a mature organization. If the leader does not evolve and develop the skills necessary to address the company’s changing needs, the company will suffer. 

2) Even within those broad strokes of life cycles, the culture of the company can dictate the characteristics necessary for a leader’s success.  Take for example the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. Both are very successful, mature franchises, but their cultures and the style of their leaders (coaches and quarterbacks) could hardly be more different.

 The danger, of course, in determining the characteristics of “good leaders” and applying that with advanced technologies to single out a privileged group of individuals is that it probably won’t work, in part for the reasons discussed above, and in part for two other very critical reasons. 

There is a lot of luck associated with the identification and assent of leaders.  Warren Buffet himself said that his success is fundamentally based on the time and place he was born and raised.   Will the individual with the greatest potential for leadership always be identified?  Absolutely not.  And applying expensive technologies to help determine the best leaders will reinforce an already inequitable system.

Last but not least, the criteria used to identify leaders will be based on the group of leaders in place today.  Will those characteristics be right for the rapidly evolving companies of tomorrow?  Or will reinforcing the “status quo” of leadership characteristics impair the ability of companies to compete in the new and different economies we will face in the future?

As we said on our blog “In His Own Image: How Competency Models Compel Uniformity” recognizing and assessing important and unique talents and capabilities in potential leaders may be difficult for those whose personal and leadership styles provided the basis for existing competency models.  But, competitive advantage does not come from leaving unrecognized leadership talent on the table.

Contact Grahall’s Omni Media Editorial Board at

Filed under: Expert Perspective - Organization Development