Monday 14 September 2009

Organisational mojo – more reasons for an Inside-Out HCM strategy


     In his new (not yet released*) book, ‘Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back When You Need It!‘, Marshall Goldsmith suggests that mojo is:
  • “The concept of positive momentum: success building upon success. It anchors our self-esteem, shapes our careers and influences those around us.
  • That much-desired sweet spot in an organization's year, a sports team's season, or an individual's career where everything is going the right way-and success builds upon success.”


Goldsmith explains that in order to gain, retain and recapture mojo, thereby gaining organisational momentum, business leaders must control three elements:

  • Identity (Who do you think you are?)
  • Achievement (What have you done lately?)
  • Reputation (Who do other people think you are? What do other people think you've done lately?).


The organisational version of Goldsmith’s mojo is a bit of a different, although not too dissimilar, concept to my own version of mojo that I’ve posted about on this blog:

  • “The organisation's real central essence that gives it its life and character and distinguishes it from elsewhere.
  • A compelling strategy based upon a key purpose that is internally rather than externally generated.”


This definition fits most closely with the ‘identity’ element of Goldsmith’s concept.  To me, achievement and reputation are outcomes of mojo, rather than part of the thing itself.

I also suggest that there are two types of organisational mojo:

“The first of which is something absolutely central to organisational strategy and which is going to make this strategy real and achievable. The second is a complementary focus to the main business strategy - something that will fit beside and support (if not drive) the strategy, but which will be more motivating for employees.”


The key to both these types of mojo, and the thing that distinguishes them from a better known BHAG, is that they focus on HOW and organisation works, rather than WHAT it does (ie about how the organisation's going to be rather than what it's going to do).  This also seems to fit with Goldsmith’s ‘identity’ element.

The second area of agreement between our two concepts is that both our forms of mojo emphasise the need for it to be internally generated – ie it is based upon they way the organisation already behaves, rather than what it would like to do in order to compete more effectively in the marketplace.  In Goldsmth’s words, it “starts on the inside and is apparent on the outside”.

This is the core reason why I think HCM strategy should follow an inside-out approach.

Outside-in is fine for the development of a BHAG-led HR strategy, but as Goldsmith notes, mojo starts on the inside.



* This post was triggered by an article on Marshall Goldsmith / Mojo on BNet.


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