What works there won't work here

I've just gotten back from the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas - an amazing event with thousands of attendees, hundreds of products exhibited, and 65+ product launches and announcements.  There were some truly innovative new products there, including some very interesting takes on workforce planning... but that's a topic for another post. Between the exhibition, the conference sessions, and nearly getting mauled by a bear in the Sequoia, my very good friends Trevor and Kevin joined me at Coca-Cola world for a tasting of different Coke products from around the world.  The general consensus was that all but one of them were unpalatable - from the Chinese apple-flavoured one to the one from Djibouti that tasted like mouthwash, most of the drinks were at best very unusual to western tastes.

Coca-Cola "tasting plate", Las Vegas 2013

Coca-Cola "tasting plate", Las Vegas 2013

Of course, these products are best sellers in their home markets, because every country has its' own culture, tastes, and preferences - a lot like organisations, really.  Coke gets differentiation.  They know that what works in one culture won't work in another - so they tailor their product offering to their market.  Differentiation is at the heart of market strategy, and make no mistake - the talent market is a market too - yet organisations who want to win in the talent market often don't differentiate.  That's why we have so much "best practice" HR initiatives, and so few outstanding companies who understand their talent market, craft their practices to benefit those market segments, and validate their results continuously.  One size does not fit all - in fact, it fits no one.  Take a lesson from Coke - understand your market, and craft your offerings accordingly.

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