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The Truth about Talent: A guide to building a dynamic workforce, realizing potential and helping leaders succeed by Jeremy Kourdi, Jacqueline Davies

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Chapter 6. Getting Personal: The Workforce of One

There are two dominant organizational metaphors of man – man as machine, where people are interchangeable parts and will perform equally well across a range of circumstances; and homo economicus, man as a rational, economic maximizer who will behave in a rational manner and make choices which maximize the results of his labour. These metaphors dominated our early thinking on how organizations were structured, how jobs were assigned, and how performance was encouraged through reward and punishment. They failed to capture the complexity of individuals, by assuming everyone was the same when in fact they were very different, and by overestimating rational behaviour and underestimating the part played by our will and our emotions. Yet to move from the machine and the economic metaphor is to create a more complex world, where factors such as emotions and hopes are intangible and inordinately complex and the interdependencies understood only over time, and where people are seen as individuals rather than 'the workforce'.

Lynda Gratton, Living Strategy (FT Prentice Hall, page 75)

Bringing your talents to work

It is time to talk about talented organizations and how the workplace can encourage people to bring all of their talents to work. This means, as far as possible, that people are not only realizing their potential but also stretching their abilities in new, enjoyable and fulfilling directions. Our research tells us that there are several ...

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