Interview - Emmanuelle Joseph-Dailly

Emmanuelle Joseph-Dailly (Director of the Lab Research and Prospective of the Julhiet Sterwen Group) will share her knowledge and vision during the digital edition of Human Capital Europe, on November 26, 2020. She will notably focus on “impertinent profiles” and today teases her keynote speech. Don't forget to register :

You plead for a better integration of impertinent profiles in organizations. What do you mean by impertinence?

First of all, impertinence is only a skill if combined with clairvoyance, tact and flair. Rather than speaking of impertinence, I prefer to speak of reasoned and elegant impertinence.The approach of reasoned impertinence, to be relevant and release energies and innovations, must respond to codes and has to be associated with limits. To play with the rules, you have to understand them and master their outlines perfectly.

How can those talents be spotted in the corporate world?

These talents can only exist in the company if we let them exist, if we look for them. It starts with recruitment. We often rely on very old recruitment schemes with the company – and the recruiter – validating skills and leaving little room for daring in job interviews.

Lately, critical thinking has become a very fashionable flagship posture in the skills framework. It is now almost an injunction from the organizations. But frightened as we are by impertinence, do we really accept the possibility of making our collaborators critical of an established authority? This remains very antithetical to the emergence, in the skillsets of most large groups, of an entrepreneurial posture or a critical mind.

How do they fit in the corporate world? How can they be integrated in it?

In the corporate world, the competence of impertinence does not always attract leaders who may be reluctant to take the risk of upsetting an established order. Supporting an impertinent profile is not easy. On the one hand, the codes to which the impertinent derogate are often codes to which the leaders have submitted themselves, sometimes against their will, to climb the hierarchical ranks. On the other hand, if the corporate world little assumes the possibility of contradiction or dissent, it is because it fears for the cohesion of the teams. Even if the impertinent talent would bring out new ideas, it risks breaking up a form of cohesion.

Integrating profiles who know how to have this competence of impertinence, in a reasoned and elegant way, supposes to accept a form of relational tension, which can sometimes be generated by this impertinence.

This supposes stopping to systematically seek consensus, to encourage dissensus, debates of ideas. We often seek to converge, but we should learn to diverge without it being a problem.

How would you convince C level (CEO's and HR directors) to invest in this type of competency?

"Nothing daring exists without disobeying the rules," wrote Jean Cocteau. Each leader wants to be the bearer of a daring project. What I would like to suggest, more than confronting them with a necessary impertinence that would make them uncomfortable, is above all to identify what makes them uncomfortable in impertinence. It can be of a very personal nature, it can be a fear for the collective, it can also have an echo with their personal journey. It is only at this price that we can build a more inclusive organization of varied profiles, who sometimes go a little too far or out of the boxes… sometimes without their interlocutors being ready to hear it.

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