What do you do when you don’t have enough people for the jobs?

Benjamin P. Taylor
3 min readFeb 22


Join the discussion on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/antlerboy_new-language-for-a-new-world-activity-7034061530304290816-knK9 Have you seen any of these in your sector?

The response of my #localgovernment client as we approach the 14th straight year of austerity was to turn to #innovation

For a new approach to #management and #humanresources, we lifted concepts from a wide range of sources for a n𝗲𝘄 𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮 𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱

Have you seen any of these in your sector?

• 𝗠𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 — a strategic outcome focus to mobilise around — broader and more general and strategic than a Project, implying pulling in effort from a wide range of people including changing ordinary service delivery to support broader outcomes.
• 𝗦𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗱𝘀 — unlike Teams, flexible groups put together to deliver a specific Mission. They do resource-based working.
• 𝗧𝗲𝗮𝗺𝘀 — role-based working to deliver ongoing priorities. Can also contribute to Missions, but main job is service delivery.
• 𝗚𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱𝘀 — cut across Teams and Squads, bring together people with shared expertise in communities of practice, sharing, adoption of common standards etc.
• 𝗥𝗼𝗹𝗲𝘀 vs 𝗷𝗼𝗯𝘀 — potential for one person to hold a portfolio of roles, or roles to be shared across a number of jobs.
• 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗱𝘂𝘁𝘆 — original concept that we can’t expect lifetime careers any more — most people will do ‘tours of duty’ of c7 years or so. Can also be thought of as a role or mission someone takes on for a longer period, but not permanently.
𝘚𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘥𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘚𝘱𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘧𝘺, 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘢 𝘔𝘢𝘻𝘻𝘶𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘰, 𝘛𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘋𝘶𝘵𝘺 𝘙𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘏𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴.

The difference:
𝗧𝗲𝗮𝗺𝘀: 𝗿𝗼𝗹𝗲𝘀-𝗯𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴
• outcomes-focused statutory / professional / transactional / enforcement and regulatory services
• where the majority of work is on ongoing processes, service delivery
• good line management
• more fixed job roles based on their professional expertise and what they do
• working on an ‘operational excellence’ model (likely managed under a COO)
• workforce strategy: opportunity for career-grade development as well as taking on developmental ‘missions’

𝗦𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗱𝘀: 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗲-𝗯𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴
• pool of expert resources (permanently employed)
• more flexible job roles based on their capabilities
• good career/personal coaches and professional communities, not managers
• work based on time-bound ‘missions’ as required across the organisation/system
• workforce strategy: opportunity for base salary and budgeted honoraria dependent on responsibilities, with a contract assuming more varied and flexible working

Both with leaders focused on coaching and developing levels below

If you want to begin, try a skills audit — business case, bid writers, strategy, comms, etc — bring them together as a start for potential centres of excellence / communities of practice / Guilds.

𝘏𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘳?

NOTE: The language used is rather militaristic. Here are some alternatives I have come up with:

  • For ‘mission’ — ‘moonshot’, ‘adventure’, ‘mandate’, ‘calling’
  • For ‘squad’ — ‘crew’, ‘band’, ‘troupe’ (will be confused for ‘troop’ of course)
  • For ‘tour of duty’ — ‘stint’, ‘assignment’