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Strategies to develop your top talent

Archive for the ‘Talent Management’ Category

We have looked before at best practices in developing top talent.

Sometimes, we need to also admit and learn from the mistakes that have cost us the most (and in many cases are still costing us).

In their HBR article, Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt give us more to ponder about these six mistakes.

Mistake 1: Assuming That High Potentials Are Highly Engaged

Let’s begin by talking truth about your bright stars.  

Why is the picture so negative?  Rising stars are young, talented and usually know it.  Their gigantic personal expectations are matched with lots of alternatives. (more…)
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Keep Your Top Talent

Leadership development programs aimed at rising stars have become a staple of most large organizations.  Here in Shanghai I see this in the people practices of global multinational companies, whether American, European, or Asian.

Most people acknowledge that the top talent is where you can have a great impact on business results, either in a positive or negative way depending on how you manage it.

An article in Harvard Business Review by Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt shed some interesting light on the topic.
What I have found surprising in my own experience is that despite the effort, money and time being spent, the results are often lackluster, at least initially.  Maybe our expectations timeline is too short.

Here are some ideas about what works and what doesn’t in developing your top talent.  This came from research in more than 100 organizations worldwide over 2005-2011, which clearly has been tumultuous time in the global economy.

10 Critical Components of a Talent-Development Program

1. Explicitly test candidates in three dimensions: ability, engagement, and aspiration.

2. Emphasize future competencies needed (derived from corporate-level growth plans) more heavily than current performance when you’re choosing employees for development.

3. Manage the quantity and quality of high potentials at the corporate level, as a portfolio of scarce growth assets. (more…)

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Talent or hard work?

Talent is cheaper than table salt.  What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” - Stephen King

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Recruit and develop talent

A recent article put out by Gallup had some interesting things to say about how talent–and the way companies manage it–separates top performing companies from the rest.

Here’s the bottom line about companies that lead in growth: they have a relentless focus on talent. It is intentional and the executives who lead these companies have created systems that nurture it.

Here are the five elements singled out as success components.

1. A succession plan that works

2. An audit of your talent pool

3. Raising the bar in recruiting and hiring

4. Breakthrough experiences for high-potential managers and leaders

5. Ongoing development, engagement, and performance management

The Gallup research behind these findings is pretty compelling.  If you want to read more, go here.

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At the ChinaSourcing Business Conference (Guangzhou, China) this week I shared some ideas about effective performance management.

There is tremendous potential for improvement in how companies handle talent management. A new generation of scientific tools and processes are available to make the job manageable. We discussed a few of these tools and best practices, from recruiting to talent development, in companies that are effectively rising to the challenge. (more…)

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Failing to develop leaders

“I’ll bet most of the companies that are in life or death battles got into that kind of trouble because they didn’t pay enough attention to developing their leaders.”  Wayne Calloway, former Chairman, Pepsico Inc.

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Talent Shortage

I shared some insights about the talent shortage in China and Asia Pacific at an executive briefing yesterday at the Four Seasons Hotel-Shanghai.

Big picture economics are of course part of the picture.  The labor market is also facing challenges.  The cost of labor and talent is getting inflated and competition is increasing.

Typical responses include using money to retain talent (comp and benefits), providing additional training and development, expanding campus recruiting and even getting experimental with non-traditional approaches.

When it comes to motivation and engagement, companies tend to over-rely on financial incentives and assume it is the most compelling motivator for talent.  Our own research with over 2000 managers in China shows that fewer than 1/3 list money, compensation or benefits as their top motivator.  There is a mismatch here.

What are effective companies doing?  Smart recruiting, culture transformation, and targeted skill development for their talented workers.

The roundtable discussions with executives after the presentation added more context to the big picture, and it demonstrated that many organizations are strugglin with exactly these issues.

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Golden Partnership

When two parties can work well together and help each other accomplish what neither one can do by themselves and when they can do that in a way that elevates work above the ordinary and gives it more meaning, that is what I have begun to call “golden partnership”.

Here are a few examples from recent experience. (more…)

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How do you make the unruly world of sales more manageable?  One way is to align your salesforce on a generally agreed-on sales process and then train them on it and coach them to success.

Key to such an approach are the sales managers: getting them to support this approach and then giving them the tools and training and support to make it successful. (more…)

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Culture clearly plays a part in leadership and how it is expressed in different places.  People who live or move within different cultures encounter these differences and know they are real; the words to accurately describe or understand the differences, however, are often lacking.  We resort to general observations or broad-brush statements that are riddled with exceptions.

The experiences of leaders in different countries clearly shape them.  Two researchers looking at leaders in China, India and Singapore noted difference in challenging assignments, developmental relationships, dealing with hardships, education and personal experience.  All of these influences shape individuals into the leaders they are, and gaining an appreciation for each individual’s personal biography is insightful and essential for understanding their own expression of leadership with its gaps and its strong areas.

One way of understanding leadership differences is through behavior styles.  (more…)

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