StrategyLeader® L.A.T.I.N                                      Talent

From “Womb to Tomb” to “Outsourcing” and “Contract Workers”!
The Evolution of Human Resource Practices and Philosophies.

            Over the past three decades we have witness major changes in how organizations of all types and sizes have changed their philosophy about their employees. GE is an excellent example of these changes.

            “Womb to Tomb” was the preferred human resource philosophy of the 1950’s to 1970’s. The underlying premise was that companies should hire professionals out of college, provide training and then offer benefits, like pensions, holidays, healthcare that would lock them into becoming loyal, dedicated employees. The assumption is that this would provide the required talents and commitment.

            “Outsourcing” was the prevalent approach in the 1980s and 1990s, when it was the common practice to seek out the lowest cost labor where ever it was and reduce the “long-term/expensive” labor union/ professionals and management wage costs.
            First of all companies stopped training and relied on getting their candidates from professional schools or pirating them from their competitors. Then they moved from pensions to 401K programs placing the responsibility for retirement on the employee and not the organization.

            Now we are in the “Contract Worker” phase where every employee must recognize that they control their own destiny and should not be committed to anyone or any organization and just focus on them selves. This is being accelerated with the advent of the 401K programs and the demise of the pension plans, as well as the most recent changes in healthcare. Healthcare is now like the 401K where each employee must purchase and pay for their own healthcare.

“Everyone is on their Own! And must manage their careers like it was a business! The results of outsource and contract worker human resources policies are that all employees must develop their own personal strategic career plan and be continually focused on assuring that they get the best deals possible and not be concerned about the organization. This means that they need to think and act strategically about themselves and their future, be entrepreneurial about their won careers. Company loyalty needs to be low on their priority list. If their current employer doesn’t meet their career and personal needs then they must be able package and sell their services and talents to those who provide the most attractive career and monetary offering.

I am not saying that I agree with these changes and are good nor that they will continue since they have very negative consequences for both the organizations and the individual, but it is the current practice and everyone must recognize and adapt to it, until a new human resource “fad” comes along.



To be successful any strategy must have the RIGHT team, reward and measurement systems. In order to know the right team I use lief cycle and strategic leadership types as a way to specify the team, rewards and measures. These are a few examples:

Aggressive growth/ Risktaker Leadership team:

  • Innovative, creative development team that is willing to test, modify and adapt their designs or specifications. They must continually challenge what exists and accept both success and failure.
  • Missionary marketing and sales people who truly believe in what they are selling and able to communicate to both existing and potential clients and customers. They need to be rewarded for gaining and maintaining MARKET SHARE.
  • Product team must be able convert prototypes into quality production and assure there are no stockouts.
  • Financial team that can get the funds required to grow rapidly and with risk.
  • Legal team able to defend the patients and copyrights and litigate when needed.

Selective, profitable growth led by caretaker leaders team:

  • Product development and technical team must be able to continually innovate and add "user oriented features and improvements. They must know how their costs care to their competitors and seek to reduce costs as they progress. Quality must be defined from the customer and competitive prospective not just some internal measure. 
  • Marketing and sales team must build an long term relationships and continually assess their problems, needs and desires. They must define market share and track and monitor existing and emerging competition.
  • Production must be able to meet market needs, have few or no stock outs, and assure that the quality is consistent with customer expectations and needs. Again reducing costs while maintaining quality is critical.
  • Financial team must be able to monitor, measure and identify cost or accounting issues. They should have sound forecasting skills.
  • Legal again must be able obtain, defend, proprietary patients and copyrights.

Surgeon leader and survival team. The key is being "lean and mean", that is only have the number of employees and team members necessary to do the proper surgeon and focus on the winning businesses and get rid of the losing businesses.

  • The product or service developers must focus on only those areas that will reduce costs or provide some unique feature or offering that can have a truly superior, competitive advantage. For the mundane offerings the focus must be on being the lowest cost.
  • Marketing and sales must also be small and focused only on segments and offerings that are needed by the customers and can be competitively sold. They too must be willing to get out of segments that are unattractive.
  • Production must be challenged and most likely focus on "outsourcing" most of the offering and only make where there is a true competive advantage.
  • Financial team must be tough minded and focus on helping to improve cost and competitive positions. They too may focus on using "other people's money" where it is available and improves the bottom line.
  • Legal must be outsourced.

The message only have the staff or internal peoples that provide a cost and competitive advantage. 

Learn more by reading..

Risktaker, Caretaker, Surgeon, Undertaker- the four faces of strategic leadership.

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