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The ACE Advantage: How Smart Companies Unleash Talent for Optimal Performance

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In an age of global competition, rapid innovation and technological change, product proliferation and price sensitivity, and urgency of sustainability, the need to optimize talent and drive up the value contribution of human capital in organizations has become the universal differentiator, separating winners from losers. Talent is not a one-dimensional concept. It is not just skill or capability or smarts. Rather, it is the collective competencies, values and attitudes, experiences, and behavioral dispositions of all sources of labor.

The playing field has changed significantly since the outset of the Great Recession. Executives are beginning to realize that the emerging “new normal” is quite different from the past. One lesson they have learned — and it is a lesson that forms the fundamental principle of THE ACE ADVANTAGE — is that the most effective way to fight your way out of the recession or to conquer competitive challenges is not to retreat but to optimize every asset under management, especially an organization’s human resources.

This book is about breaking the chain of historical assumptions about how talent should be managed and how human capital should be thought of. It is time to toss away the old rule book in favor of broader, more strategic and systemic ways of thinking about how labor and talent make or break organizational success. This book will challenge many tried-and-true assumptions, including the value of planning, employee engagement, and “need to know.”

Having interviewed over scores of executives from around the globe and conducted research that involved thousands of organizations, William Schiemann has found that most of the best leaders we found think about the big picture — about big talent issues: Are we optimally using the talent we have acquired? Are we bringing in, developing, and retaining the right talent? Are we sourcing talent strategically? Are we developing leaders effectively? Can we measure talent optimization and improve areas where we are not optimal? They have realized that in this world of constant change, having a workforce that is aligned with the business strategy, that is fully engaged, and that possesses the capabilities to execute is crucial to optimizing that talent investment, as well as their success.

Taken together, these three factors — Alignment, Capabilities, and Engagement (or ACE) — form the framework for optimizing, managing, and measuring the value contribution of human resources to the strategic and operational success of an organization.


Table of Contents:

Foreword by Peter Cappelli
Section I: Introduction: The Business and Talent Imperative
Chapter 1. The New Talent Assumptions
Chapter 2. Why YOU Need to Change
Chapter 3. People Equity — the Driver of Talent Optimization
Section II: Leveraging Critical Stakeholders
Chapter 4. The Power of Understanding
Chapter 5. Getting the Top Team on Board
Chapter 6. Managing to High ACE
Section III: Quantifying Talent Optimization
Chapter 7. Measuring Talent Optimization
Chapter 8. The Talent Scorecard
Section IV: Using ACE to Optimize the Talent Processes
Chapter 9. Using the ACE Lens to Optimize the Talent Lifecycle
Chapter 10. Attracting and Acquiring Great Talent
Chapter 11. Getting to High Performance: Onboarding, Training, and Performance Management
Chapter 12. Assuring the Future: Developing Leaders and Retaining and Recovering Talent
Section V: Embedding and Acting
Chapter 13. Embedding ACE in Your Culture
Chapter 14. Building a High ACE Organization


“The ACE model provides the what, why, and how for talent optimization. It is a powerful new framework for helping leaders realize the value of their human capital investments.” — Ralph Izzo, CEO, Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc.

The ACE Advantage is an essential talent guide for leaders. Great approach for building strong leaders and leveraging talent across the globe.” — Donald Crosby, Senior Vice President, International and Corporate Human Resources, McDonald’s Corporation

“Today, more than ever before, engaged employees who embrace the vision and values of the company while doing meaningful work are the key to organizational success. Bill’s book will share key elements and actions on what leaders need to do to build enduring organizations that create positive lasting memories for their customers, their people, and their shareholders.” — Garry Ridge, CEO, WD-40 Company

“Schiemann offers a brilliant and simple framework for improving talent: people equity that comes from alignment, capabilities, and engagement. This ACE framework can be used to hire, develop, motivate, and retain talent at all levels. This book is a wonderful contribution of ideas, tools, cases, and actions for turning talent aspirations and ideals into actions and results.” — Dave Ulrich, Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and Partner, the RBL Group

“With The ACE Advantage, Bill Schiemann and his colleagues provide an actionable framework that show how significantly alignment, capabilities, and engagement drive organizational success, and how they can be used to significantly improve talent management.” — Dr. John Boudreau, Professor and Research Director, Center for Effective Organizations, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

About the Author:

William A. Schiemann, Ph.D., MBA, is the chairman and CEO of Metrus Group, an organizational research and advisory firm specializing in strategic performance measurement and employee alignment. He is the author of Reinventing Talent Management: How to Maximize Performance in the New Marketplace (Wiley/SHRM, 2009) and co-author of Bullseye!: Hitting Your Strategic Targets through High-Impact Measurement (1999). He served for six years on the Board of the SHRM Foundation, and as Chair of that Board in 2010. He is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).

Additional Info

Name The ACE Advantage: How Smart Companies Unleash Talent for Optimal Performance
SKU 61.13510
Year published 2012
Page count 250
Publisher SHRM
ISBN 9781586442705
Author William A. Schiemann
Format Paperback


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