3 Ways to Brainstorm and Reserve The Right To Tell Someone Their Idea Sucks....
At FOT: "He's a Good Guy, Except for the Jihad" (Musings on The Burden of Action within HR)...

The Empire Just Bought Luke Skywalker (Also Known as ADP Buying the Marcus Buckingham Company)...

The Empire in the Star Wars series had it wrong.  You don't need to fight the rebels. You just need to pull out the checkbook and buy the rebel who is most representative of the cause.

In Star Wars, that was Luke Skywalker.  Hell, you could also make the case that at one point it was Anakin Skywalker, but the empire didn't need to buy Anakin - they just needed healthcare technology that the rebel movement/jedi couldn't provide.

But I digress.  Luke Skywalker just cashed out in the world of HR - to the Empire. Darth

Translation - Marcus Buckingham just sold his company to ADP.  Here's the standard yadda/yadda from the press release, we'll talk about what it really means after the jump:

ADP has acquired The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC), an innovator in human capital management (HCM), to bring to ADP clients a more scientific approach to employee engagement and performance. TMBC, and its founder Marcus Buckingham, are pioneers in using data and research to drive talent management practices that help managers build engagement and increase performance in their teams. Their unique approach empowers managers to coach employees based on their strengths and custom-design teams based on those strengths.

TMBC's cloud-based performance and talent management solution, StandOut, couples applications with coaching and education to give team leaders the tools, insights and data needed to turn talent into better employee performance. Built on decades of groundbreaking research that has uncovered the factors that differentiate high-performing teams, this solution will now be offered as ADP StandOut. TMBC has a global client roster that spans a broad range of industries from professional services to hospitality and includes many companies in the Fortune 100.

That's a lot of words.  Buzzwords. Strategery!

Here's the most valuable thing that ADP just bought.  The concept of StrengthFinders from Marcus Buckingham.

I know, I know.  TMBC (which sounds like a liberal news channel, by the way) is much more than StrengthFinders.  I got it.  But let's be real, there's nothing that turns HR pros into gooey mush quicker than the concept of StrengthFinders as presented by Buckingham.  And it certainly doesn't hurt that Marcus is younger and better looking than Dave Ulrich and our profession is 70% female.

StrengthFinders is the conversation starter that most HR Pros can't resist. It's THE FORCE, and the ADP (the Empire) just cornered the market.

Terms of the deal were undisclosed.  Did ADP pay too much?  Could the Evil Empire in Star Wars have paid too much for Luke Skywalker?

No.  No they could not.

ADP just bought THE irresistible conversation starter for every rep in the ADP Salesforce.  Observe:

--You're Enterprise HR? "Let me tell you about TMBC.  No - not the channel that has Morning Joe.  The Human Capital innovation company...  Nevermind... Every heard of StrengthFinders?  (bell rings in everyone's ears)"

--You're SMB HR?  "StengthFinders" (rep says one word - SMB HR proceeds to disclose entire budgetary spend).  

It's hard not to like the acquisition for ADP.  As for anyone who's critical of Buckingham for selling out - you can still get your Marcus keynote fix - you'll just need to attend a large-scale ADP customer conference to do it.

Final note.  I'm not an expert on TMBC, I'm assuming all rights to StrengthFinders is included.  If it is, ADP got value for their money. If it is not included, a future post will have Buckingham's head photoshopped on Robin Hood or a Somalian pirate's head. 

UPDATE - A capable PR professional reached out to me with the following update - "StrengthsFinder is a Gallup product, and ADP did not acquire the rights to it. Rather, ADP did acquire a product from TMBC called the Strengths Assessment. ADP did acquire all rights and research underlying and supporting the Strengths Assessment product."  So that's the reality.  My take really remains the same, the real intellectual capital across all HR people with Buckingham lies in that original book he did with the StrengthFinders title. So ADP has the rights to "Strengths Assessment".  Got it.  Still feel the same, and if they have "Strengths Assessment" and Buckingham for a period of time, I like the deal.  No photoshopped picture of Buckingham's head on a Somalian pirate will be forthcoming.


Dawn Burke

it's the StandOut Assessment -- get it right -- StandOut.

I love the standout assessment. I have vetted the platform, and I really like it. I had dinner with Buckingham - he's a nice guy. Oh, yes, he isn't bad on the eyes.

My company also just purchased all of the ADP HCM modules. I will be very interested to see how this works.

The platform may not be for everyone, but I think a smart/shrewd move. On it's own the platform likely a tough sell. Connected to a performance management platform/ HCM/ etc from ADP -- Golden.


I know the current product is Standout.... But....

He's most recognizable from SF to most HR pros. I also know that his partner in SF (Clifton) is aligned with Gallup in about 100 ways.

I just think talking about Buckingham as the StrengthFinders guy is the play here. They may not own it, but they can link themselves to that history now...


Matt Landrum

Seems like a good play.
Interestingly my company just moved away from ADP.

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