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Bill Nash

Bill Nash

Founder and Managing Director of his HR and management development and consulting company, Unique People Solutions (PTY) Ltd (UPS), Bill is absolutely passionate about "the right people being the only sustainable competitive edge in our modern business environment".

UPS focuses on all aspects of Management Development and consulting as well as the development of HR Business Partners who are able to add value to their host organisations.

Bill has some 30 years' experience in line and staff management, primarily in FMCG, in various public companies. At different times in his career he has held the board portfolios of Marketing, Information Technology, Property, Merchandise, Logistics and Human Resources before leaving corporate employment and taking up the challenge of founding Unique People Solutions some 8 years ago.

With a university qualification in Management and Human Resource Management he brings with him not only core Human Resource competencies but also a background of unique practical business experience which he incorporates into his training and client interactions.

He is a registered HR Practitioner (Generalist) as well as a registered HR Practitioner (ETD Specialist) with SABPP.

On the topic of Human Resources he is equally determined that "HR, if it is to survive, must add discernible and measurable value to the bottom line of organisations".

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Who Moved the Cheese?

Monday, 22 April 2013 10:00 Published in Talent Acquisition & Management
Who Moved the Cheese?

I was determined, when considering this insert, not to allow it to become another one of those rather boring and rather mechanical, "how to" type of articles on talent acquisition! The problem is, how do you make a "done to death" subject like talent acquisition, interesting, informative and innovative? The answer I felt was, to interview "talent" and see what "it" wanted, to allow itself to "be acquired"!

No……People are NOT our Greatest Asset!

Tuesday, 02 April 2013 17:14 Published in Leadership
No……People are NOT our Greatest Asset!

For years we have been told that people are our greatest asset, particularly if we were in the Human Resource Department – I believe that for years we have blindly repeated and followed this mantra when in fact it is fallacious!


One needs only to listen to managers, both senior and junior alike to hear complaints about staff or "people" issues. Even more to the point, consider the service levels we are all exposed to on a daily basis and I am sure that you, like me, will be of the opinion that most of our service problems flow from people.


On the 12th March 2013 we were exposed to the Auditor General's report which indicated that only 25% of government bodies and municipalities were able to meet the requirements for "clean" audits. Perhaps more scary than this figure was the revelation that this percentage has been steadily decreasing year on year! (http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2013/03/12/fewer-clean-audits-in-government-says-auditor-general).


The reasons for poor service and an ongoing inability to "balance the books" are many and varied but ultimately, most if not all of them, come down to "people failure" of some or other description.


Still believe that "people are our greatest asset"?


In reality it is only the "right" people who are, or can be our greatest asset. We seem to have allowed ourselves to be "brain washed" into believing that ALL people are our greatest assets, that ALL people can be whatever they want to be and ALL people must be treated exactly the same! Nonsense!  ALL people are special creatures different in so many ways and all having different skills, talents, abilities, as well as likes and dislikes. Want proof? I sadly have never been able to, nor will I ever be able to, run the 100 meters in less than 10 seconds as was achieved by the amazing Usain "lightning" Bolt at the last Olympics! We are not all the same and that's the wonderful part about Homo sapiens.


So how then do we ensure that we have the "right" people and that they are allowed to be the assets our organisations so desperately seek?


I would suggest that the starting point is to accept the truth of the statement that ONLY the RIGHT people are our greatest asset. As James Lovell the American astronaut said "There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened". What we are looking for is more of the people who "make things happen" and equally well fewer of the people who "wonder what happened"!


I can just hear all the Learning and Development practitioners saying "more training" and while I too am a great believer in L&D, I do believe that the time has come to look a little deeper. I believe that "competency", which after all is what we seek, is made up not only of theoretical knowledge and practical skills, but also attitude. I believe this is where we all fall short. We focus quite rightly on the knowledge and skills aspects and quite wrongly leave out the attitude part! This being my belief I am going to focus the rest of my article not on L&D, but rather on attitude – so if "attitude" bores you, skip the rest and go and have a cup of tea!


Ensuring we have staff with the right attitude starts with recruiting and selecting people who display the right attitude. I am reminded of South West Airlines who have year after year outperformed their opposition in what is arguably the most arduous of industries. In fact, they have been in business for 41 years and 2012 marked the 40th consecutive year of profits! (). Julie Weber Vice President of People for South West Airlines believes that the company's recipe for success lies in "hiring the right people, at the right time, with the right attitude". So sure is she that this recipe works that she relates turning down an application from the previous Chief pilot of Air Force One, because she felt his attitude did not "fit" the organisation! So what should we learn from Julie? Hire for attitude and train for skills! Unfortunately we have allowed ourselves to do the opposite, because hiring for attitude is hard to justify if called upon to "prove" why someone else was refused a job!


The second task must be to create the "right" culture in the organisation. Don't be mistaken, culture should not just be allowed to develop – it should and must be created! Culture is far too important to be left to its own devices because as the great management guru Peter Drucker said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast!" What he was saying is that all the strategies in the world will amount to naught if the culture of the organisation is flawed. I am not an expert on culture, but I do believe that most organisations would do well with a culture that contains some, if not all of the following elements:

  • Commitment to achievement;
  • Integrity and honesty;
  • A preparedness to accept responsibility;
  • A desire to grow and be successful;
  • An internal locus of control;
  • Consideration for all around us.

Much could be added to the short list above, it is by no means complete, but you will notice that all of the above are descriptors of attitude……makes you think doesn't it?


So what do we do to create this "right" culture? The starting point must surely be to identify what we want and then to set about creating it. Once it has been created we need to jealously protect and nurture it by only employing people who "fit" and then generously reward those with the right attitude. I guess as Jack Welch said "You get what you pay for".


In closing, I would suggest that if we want to be able to say that our people are our greatest asset, we need to have the "right" people with the "right" attitude and only then can we set about giving them the skills they need to do the "right" job! 

The "Soft Stuff" Really Does Still Count!

Friday, 01 March 2013 11:36 Published in Leadership
The "Soft Stuff" Really Does Still Count!

I was chatting the other day with a group of successful business men and women and the inevitable question came up - "Which part of your business gives you the most problems?" Equally inevitably, the usual answer came up – "People!"


It seems that we are destined to re-live history! For years business and HR have recognised that a sustainable competitive edge often flows from exceptional staff in an organisation. For years we have recognised that motivated, willing and skilled people are a core asset in our organisations, and yet we still can't seem to "get it right!"

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