Welcome to State Parkway Partners

Our Mission

State Parkway Partners helps businesses implement a methodology to manage their investments in human capital as rigorously as they manage other investments. We demonstrate how to align investments in talent with business strategies and operating objectives ensuring that talent investments achieve targeted results.

The CEO's Talent Manifesto

We employ a unique perspective and methodology for developing a prioritized portfolio of investments in human capital. We balance strategic and operational requirements as well as short and long term requirements. Our approach ensures that each investment is aligned with overall strategies, executed with confidence, and managed with accountability for results:

• Identifying which business gaps call for learning investments,

• Defining business-relevant definitions of success,

• Prioritizing investments to maximize impact

• Ensuring that investments produce results, and

• Closing the loop to make outcomes visible.

We show our clients how to manage their human capital investment portfolios in three areas:

Strategic Learning Management – Read more…

The Accenture January 2007 High Performance Workforce Study reported that of the 250 senior executives surveyed from the United States, Europe, and Australia only 14% saw their organizations’ workforce skills as industry leading, and only 20% said that most of their employees understood their companies’ strategy and what was needed to be successful.

Strategic Talent Management – Read more…

The Business Week European 50 Research Survey 2006 reported that executives surveyed identified human capital as the most important factor for maintaining high performance in the long term by a factor of nearly two to one. The combination of globalization and technology has increasingly fueled the war for talent.

Strategic Performance Management – Read more…

Bersin & Associates 2008 research report High Impact Talent Management reported that 32% of managers do not clearly understand the role between pay and performance in their organizations, 85% of organizations do not have clearly defined competencies which define success, only 21% of organizations have training tied to development goals, only 29% of organizations create goals which are aligned to the organization, and only 13% of organizations have coaching programs tied to thir performance management process.

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The CEO's Talent Manifesto: Align Talent Investments to Achieve Targeted Results

Chip Cleary and I have co-authored a comprehensive and practical "how to" book, The CEO's Talent Manifesto: Align Talent Investments to Achieve Targeted Results (available at Amazon), that should enable Chief Human Resource Officers, Chief Talent Officers, and Chief Learning Officers to manage their companies' talent investments strategically. We want to thank Ed Trolley, co-author of the 1999 best selling book Running Training Like a Business for writing the Forward. He did such a great job describing the book and putting its value in context that I have quoted it verbatim below.

"In 1999, we wrote in Running Training Like A Business that “many business leaders say that T&D remains ‘out of the loop’ strategically, that it too often operates like ‘something separate from the business,’ and that they don’t see enough tangible returns on their T&D investment.” We also wrote that executives see a widening gap between the skills and knowledge that businesses require and those that the workforce can offer. In 2012, the fifteenth annual Price-Waterhouse Coopers Global CEO Survey stated that:
• 25 percent of CEOs have cancelled an initiative because
they did not have the talent they required;
• 33 percent were unable to pursue a market opportunity;
• 70 percent were less than “very confident” that they had
the talent they required.

It seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same. Has there ever been a clearer mandate for Learning & Development (L&D) than now? I think not! And so, Chip Cleary and Tom Hilgart define the CEO’s Talent Manifesto as the new “marching orders” for L&D.

The authors are hot on the trail of the “holy grail” of L&D in this new and exciting book. Alignment to Business, or A2B, as it is referred to in the book, has been and continues to be the most elusive and most critical element of L&D. It is the beginning of the beginning, and without it, everything else is pretty much irrelevant. The authors say, “The most pressing issue that is faced by most L&D organizations is not whether they have the right guns to fire but rather whether they know just where to point them.” We can design and develop the best training ever created, and we can deliver it with the best instructors and/or the best technology in the best format. But…if it is not on something important to the business, business executives are not happy—and they shouldn’t be. Making investments in learning and development has to deliver the same level of business value that investments in R&D, marketing, sales, manufacturing and service deliver; otherwise, business executives place their investment bets in areas other than L&D and the problems defined in the PWC survey will continue on.

In this book, Chip and Tom have put forth the “Aligned-to-Business Methodology,” which provides a set of models and introduces some key new concepts, processes, and tools for L&D, including:
• Portfolio of Investments
• Value-Added Matrix
• Ability-to-Execute Alignment Framework including
ºº Ability-to-Execute Scan
ºº Ability-to-Execute Analysis
ºº Ability-to-Execute Map
• “Walking the beat” to keep abreast of the business
• Key Players
• Following learning investments through a full lifecycle,
including chartering, chaperoning execution, and closing
the loop.

All of these make up the “how-to” of ensuring that the work of L&D is aligned to the business and is delivering measurable value when and where the business requires it.

The authors have also defined a role they call business engagement manager (BEM) to enable the A2B process. The primary job of the BEM is to help business leaders make the right investments to create and manage learning portfolios that generate demonstrated results. I really like that they define BEMs as investment managers whose goal is to enable the business to generate results through investments in learning. And therefore, this role serves as the key interface between the business and L&D. BEMs are business people in learning, and as such, they must think business first and then define ways in which learning can enable business goals. The key measure of success for BEMs is how much business value their learning portfolios produce for the business they serve. This is a great impact-producing
role for L&D!

Back in 1999, we discussed the critical importance of A2B as the first step in what we called the Value Creation Process, and we asserted that many, if not most, organizations had not figured out how to do it in a way that ensures delivery of measurable value to the business. In 2013, as an industry, we are still trying to figure it out, and that is why this book is so important to the industry and to the people of L&D.

L&D organizations will be wise to make this book required reading for all of their staff. If they do and if they establish the BEM role and execute as described in this book, we will certainly move L&D “from the backroom to the boardroom.”

Thanks, Chip and Tom. Well done!"
Edward Trolley
Co-author, Running Training Like a Business

For more information and to help you implement the A2B Methodology, we provide an A2B "toolbox" at www.aligned-to-business.com. In addition to information about A2B, this site provides templates, formats, guides, and documents for all of the A2B elements described in the book.

You can also purchase the book at Amazon.

Leave a Comment | Thursday, July 11th 2013 by Tom Hilgart

TOP 5 Steps For L&D in 2013

I thought this brief article in Training Magazine offered 5 interesting topics for any L&D group thinking about how they want to approach their group's advancement in 2013. Here's the link http://trainingmag.com/content/top-5-steps-ld-2013.

Leave a Comment | Wednesday, January 23rd 2013 by Tom Hilgart

Human Capital Measurement - Part 2

This is the final day (half-day actually) of the KnowledgeAdvisors' 7th Annual Analytics Symposium. The general sessions as well as breakouts yesterday and today continued to focus on ways companies are collecting data for better decision making. I'm pleased to see the focus of discussion move beyond the Kirkpatrick 4-levels of measurement (as in "Are you measuring levels 3 and 4?"), beyond Phillips' level 5 ROI (as in "What was the ROI for that program?"), to collecting data to make better informed decisions and making analytics and fact-based decision making a integral element of strategy and competition. So, the questions are: what are your talent initiatives intended to accomplish; why are those outcomes important to business success; what decisions do you want to be able to make about your initiatives and when do you want to make them; therefore, what do you need to know about the initiatives and the circumstances of their implementation, what will your standard of evidence be, which data will you collect and how, and what type of analyses will you perform? Kirkpatrick's 4-levels and Phillips' ROI method can be useful frameworks for specific purposes, but alone they do not constitute a purposeful decision strategy.Two more things:

  • As noted in my post yesterday, Josh Bersin has created a comprehensive framework for thinking about measurement and decision-making across the entire process of creating, implementing, and evaluating human capital initiatives. Josh's Training Measurement Book does a fine job of explaining his framework and guidelines for using it.

  • All of this discussions about measurement, analysis, and dedcision-making inevitably take you back to the fundamental need to manage talent strategically. That means creating human capital plans aligned in detail with:

    • with your business strategies

    • the processes that enable those strategies

    • the human capabilities needed to execute those processes successfully

    • the drivers of and gaps in those capabilities now, in the next 1 to 2 years, in the next 3 to 5 years

  • Creating those written plans annually, including your measurement objectives and strategies, and reviewing them quarterly enable you to manage forward, quarter by quarter, toward that 1 - 2 year horizon as well as the 3 - 5 year horizon. They enable you to create a portfolio of short-term and long-term, operational and strategic human capital investments that you can then measure and adjust as your future becomes your present and as your internal and external environmental scans enable you to forecast new 1 -2 year and 3 - 5 year horizons.

These are the indispensable perspectives and competencies that Human Resources or Talent Management or Human Capital Management (whichever term your business uses) must have to fulfill its executive leadership role.State Parkway Partners can help you create such a capability in your organization. See the other sections of this website and the service offering presentations for more information.

Leave a Comment | Friday, March 6th 2009 by Tom Hilgart

Human Capital Measurement

This week I am attending KnmowledgeAdvisors' 7th Annual Analytics Symposium. KnowledgeAdvisors is a great company focused both on its own and its clients' business success and the advancment of human capital management as a business discipline. Wednesday's opening Keynote was delivered by Cedric Coco from Lowe's Companies. He posed and answered the question: How do we measure the value of, then optimize our company's most strategic asset...our employees? Cedric described the Human Capital Business Model he and his team have built, and are continuing to develop. He begins with the view that people are the largest unmanaged asset in a company. "Unmanaged" doesn't mean there are no managers: it does mean that companies do not have enough specific knowledge of the role people play in the company's value proposition to effectively manage the recruitment, hiring, onboarding, engagement, development, and assessment of their people. The idea - which will be further developed today and tomorrow by Heather Maitre, Chris Hardy, Tom Davenport, Laurie Bassi, Dave Vance, Jac Fitz-enz, and Nick Bontis - is that people create value and those who invest in people create greater market value than those who don't. The key, of course, is defining what precisely to invest in. So, Cedric's team has done a lot of work and have determined: (a) that the factor that correlates very highly with specific business results like revenue, customer satisfaction, and lower costs is "employee engagement"; and (b) that there are very specific factors that constitute "engagement" in their company. They now know that if they invest in A, B, and C they can optimize engagement, and that engagement optimized to a specific measured level will produce a predictable level of revenue, customer satisfaction, and cost. This basic Human Capital Business Model is now the foundation of a very specific HR strategy, a focused creation of a specific employee experience, and an analytics strategy that will keep the company on top of changes in the factors that drive engagement and business results. Interestingly, Cedric and his team have also drilled down into the "employee experience" element in their strategy and, through lifecycle research, have defined what that experience should be like at each phase of the emploment lifecycle and how to measure it: acquisition, onboarding, engagement, and transition (to another role, to another company, or to retirement).It's terrific to see such a disciplined approach to defining, developing, and rewarding the specific roles people play that drive specific business outcomes. As a bonus, Josh Bersin (Bersin & Associates) concluded the day with a view of trends and issues in the L&D and Talent Management worlds. The sad aspect of Josh's research is how few companies have set goals for themselves to manage the acquisition, engagement, development, and retention of their most strategic asset...their employees. By the way, Josh published a book last year titled The Training Management Book. Josh has developed a framework for planning, managing, and measuring any intervention designed to improve the performance of people in a business. While it focuses specifically on training, you can immediately see how you can use the framework for other change initiatives. I highly recommend Josh's book to all HR professionals.

Leave a Comment | Thursday, March 5th 2009 by Tom Hilgart

Performance Management Needs The Accountability Principle

My last two posts have been about managing performance through The Accountability Principle. It would be helpful - but not absolutely necessary - to read them before this post: Accountability - The Key to Performance Management posted April 29th and The Accountability Principle and Engagement posted April 30th.The antithesis of The Accountability Principle is The No-Nonsense School of Accountability. No-Nonsenseers have advocated performance management as it has been practiced at least since the 1960s. Managers give clear expectations up front, a thorough performance appraisal at the end, and regular feedback, maybe even some coaching, in between. If someone's really off track, managers confront that right away. For top performers, there are rewards and recognition along the way. For poor performers, there is progressive discipline. For the rest, well, they have their pay checks and get to keep their jobs. What could be clearer and fairer and more motivating? The reality is that performance management is a fiction for the vast majority of people in the vast majority of businesses.

The beginning of the process - clear expectations or objectives and measures - often never happens except in general terms. When it does, it is seldom sustained because it is too difficult and time consuming to resolve all the questions that more systematic approaches call for:

Are these the right things to do to make the strategy successful? What's actually being measured? Is that the right thing to measure? How accurate are the measures? How timely are the measures? Is the goal even achievable? What if unexpected forces make the goal either too easy or unattainable? What about all the things people do that are not measured but are critical to keeping everything running, how are these accounted for?

The middle of the process - performance feedback, and maybe coaching - seldom gets done because of the complexities of the business and the environment in which it operates.
Ambiguity delays judgment. Communication struggles with interpretation, completeness, and timeliness. Collaboration falters under the pressure of adversarial motives and contending views. New knowledge emerges that changes the playing field. Priorities change frequently and occasionally radically. Resources are reduced or diverted to meet new objectives. The measures chosen turn out not to achieve the real goal. Important aspects of the business are neglected to the detriment of the business in order to "make the numbers".

The one piece of the process that eventually does get done is the performance review. But, this is usually viewed by both parties as an administrative requirement. There is very little accountability in this annual event because the beginning and middle parts of the process either have never happened or were pro forma or occasional at best.
Often expectations or objectives are written down for the first time when the performance review is due, and the past year is recollected from whatever reports or memory is available. Some organizations have feedback collected from people affected by an individual's performance. But the biases of memory and the power of emotion and personal perspective make useful, accurate evaluation rare. Managers regularly pick the "rating" they "feel" is right and write the narrative to support the rating. In any case, the best that this process produces is a point-in-time judgement that usually has some marginal effect on the expected rewards.

The reality of managing a business is that there are no clear beginnings or endings. We estimate various measures and the forces that will impact them; but none of this is science, and all of it is affected by new knowledge that regularly is discovered about the past, present, and future. Priorities change, resources are redirected. We arbitrarily evaluate results quarterly and annually. But the goals we project, the measures we set, and the data we collect are very often not in one-to-one alignment and have only an approximate relationship to one another. While goals are essential to frame expectations, develop plans, and calibrate the actions we need to take, few, if any, bear a readily assessable relationship to the clear meting out of rewards and punishments the No-Nonsense School of accountability advocates as the driver of performance.

No-Nonsense performance management is a relic of industrial organization and a command-and-control system of management. No-Nonsense performance management should be replaced by The Accountability Principle.

Leave a Comment | Friday, May 2nd 2008 by Tom Hilgart

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