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SVP and Chief Innovation Officer - Kelly Services
Rolf E. Kleiner is SVP and Chief Innovation Officer at Kelly Services. A veteran outsourcing professional, Mr. Kleiner is responsible for creating a new foundation of workforce solutions for the evolving workplace. Named to his current position in 2012, Mr. Kleiner previously served as SVP and General Manager of KellyOCG.
From 2001 to 2008, Mr. Kleiner was SVP and General Manager of Kelly’s International Division. He also served as SVP for the Science and Healthcare Group of Kelly Services.
Mr. Kleiner joined Kelly in 1995 and launched the Kelly Scientific Resources® business unit. This represented the first introduction of dedicated scientific staffing into traditional staffing services. Today, Kelly Scientific Resources employs more than 400 clinical research professionals and 4,500 scientists throughout more than 100 locations in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.
Prior to joining Kelly, Mr. Kleiner had 19 years of experience in providing innovative products and services to the scientific community. He was one of seven principles that pioneered the concept of providing temporary scientific professionals through the launch of Lab Support, Inc. in 1986. Mr. Kleiner holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in natural sciences from the Department of Natural Sciences’ Water Resources and Water Pollution Control Department at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland.
Embracing the need of consistently evolving is a more robust strategic principle for the world we live in today than the traditional focuses of scale, productivity and efficiency. But achieving this requires a dynamic, bottom-up strategy execution model and this is not an easy shift for many companies.
First, it requires giving up the comforting idea that with enough research and enough data, professional strategists can predict the future and plan for it. The issue here is that this approach relies on the threats and opportunities that strategists see when they are writing the plan remaining relatively static until it is implemented. Given that we are all now operating in an era of heightened volatility, instability and accelerating change, this is increasingly unlikely.
The reality is, any strategy is always—by its nature—a strategy for now. We have data, we have trends, but these will only lead us to predictions, and every prediction is flawed. This doesn’t mean that we throw out every element of planning and strategic intent, but it does mean that we begin to see the flaws that this approach has inherently, and look to build our adaptive capabilities to combat them. Once we begin to accept that we don’t know what’s ahead, and that any prediction is just an educated guess, we can begin to shape a business to be more agile and adapt when the next challenge or opportunity does become clear. To do this, we need to look closely at the three main barriers that might prevent us from embracing change:
The established processes, practices, beliefs, and infrastructure that we rely upon to make our business decisions are the very things that can stop us from adapting quickly to change. Bacteria don’t have this—they forget what happened yesterday and focus all their energy on adapting to what’s happening today.