By Mark Miller

Hello, everyone–I am writing to you from Prague, Czech Republic, where Ron Byron (who heads the Emergenetics International – Europe office) and I will be co-presenting on Emergenetics to a group of HR leaders from throughout Europe. The conference has centered on all facets of HR and its critical role in moving organizations forward. In this new economy—globalized, fast-changing, technology-based, and interconnected—the power of people has never been more evident.

Our presentation will focus on many of these issues, but I want to highlight several ideas that resulted from brilliant speakers here who come from Fortune 1000 global companies and consultancies alike. One core element of organizational development that rang loud and clear was the pivotal importance of two things for the new HR environment:

  1. Leadership development – Creating and developing leaders that can inspire, attack new challenges, and innovate for a rapidly changing business environment.
  2. Employee alignment – Building processes, cultures, and environments where all employees can get behind the mission and vision of the organization. Without alignment, the best products and services will (notice I didn’t say “can”) fall flat.

Next-generation organizations that focus on these key elements will need to emphasize things that are currently not in the cards because, as Rolf Schneider, a presenter who worked in high-capacity HR positions at HSBC and now owns his own consulting firm 2 Be Better Business, said, “the power is with the employees, not the company.” We’re not talking about an employee revolt or uprising, but rather that all employees must feel valued and engaged in order to produce for their organizations.

The onus is on the organization to create a climate where employees with power will want to work and can thrive.

This obviously plays a huge part in the way that I think about employee development; how can we best think about developing powerful employees if not by knowing them better and understanding how they think, behave, work, and develop ideas? We must know how they interact in teams and how they need to receive information.

The new organizational imperative is not competencies but, rather, connections. It is less about strict financial performance than about creating meaning and purpose, which will ultimately drive performance and the bottom line. Clearly, organizations need to perform financially, or they’ll get passed by, but the way to do it is changing.