Finding a third way
Aside from answering the need for people as a resource, having a strategy also implies having taken account of the need for the organization to be responsive to change. The nature of the environment described in Chapter 1 must clearly be taken as given and the response in terms of organizations generally becoming and remaining more flexible is a necessity.
The twin needs to have a resource of talented people and for the organization to be responsive to change must be properly considered. A way forward must be found that meets them both. A third way is required. Otherwise, as Chapter 4 suggested, the organization will stumble between the needs, the message of contingency will dominate and the organization will risk losing its resource of talented people. If people sense they are a cost that could be pruned at any time, there is no reason to stay. They should leave when it suits them.
An organization needs to have a strategy that treats people as a resource if it is to move forwards and build and retain people for the long term. Otherwise, the message that will be received is one of short-termism. This could easily take the organization backwards. The absence of a strategy or trying to treat people ambivalently as a cost alongside treating them as a resource runs the real risk of creating a doubt in people's minds and encouraging them to move somewhere more certain which offers greater faith in the future. The long-term strategy is needed not just to move you forwards, but also to stop you moving backwards.
A strategy to meet the need for people as a resource has twin goals. They are acquiring talented people and retaining talented people. Both will be served by the same strategy. The type of organization that retains talented people will be the type that people want to work for. It will gain a good reputation as an employer.