Talent Diagonostic

Do you have the talent necessary to successfully implement your key strategies (60% of the executives responding to a McKinsey survey said their organizations did not).

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do we have clearly articulated goals and strategies?
  • Do we understand the implications of not successfully implementing strategies?
  • Have we identified the pivotal functions/roles involved in implementation?
  • Do we know the competencies required to successfully implement the strategies?
  • Do the pivotal functions/roles have the requisite competencies?
  • Do we have a strategy to close the competency gaps?

Wayne Gretzky on Talent Management

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

Wayne Gretzky

The words “hockey player” can be replaced with “business leader” and “puck” with “company”. Talent should be focused on where the company wants or needs to be and how to get there, not where it is today.

Talent Management is having the right people in the right roles at the right time.

This requires:

  • Clearly articulated business goals with measurable results, time lines, etc.
  • Defined strategies (plans) to achieve goals.
  • Pivotal roles/functions identified to implement strategies
  • Competencies required in pivotal roles/functions defined
  • Competency gaps identified
  • Action plan developed to close competency gaps.

Business goals and strategies are familiar concepts.  Pivotal roles/functions are those roles and/or functions that will play a critical role in successful implementation of the strategy (ies). They can incorporate an entire function (Sales, Marketing, Finance, etc.) and/or the team or leader of that functional area.

Competencies are the set of skills, knowledge and behaviours necessary to fulfill a role.  Skills are what the individual is able to do developed from learning and experience.  Knowledge is what he or she knows or needs to know to apply those skills and behaviour – or attitude – is how the individual needs to act to be most effective.  Behaviour incorporates both emotional and social components and therefore characteristics such as self-awareness and confidence, and willingness to collaborate.

Competencies typically divide into three main areas:

  • Core competencies – common sill sets and traits that reflect the organizational values and culture, and skill needs
  • Functional and technical competencies – the skills and knowledge required to perform the jobs or tasks
  • Professional competencies – the behavioural aspects of competency such as personal and interpersonal skills and leadership characteristics.

The next step is to establish standards that provide a measurable scaled of proficiency for each competency.

You can hire one of the human resources consultancies and spend a fortune going through this process or use the internet to obtain competency dictionaries, measures etc.  The latter process will arguably not result in a perfect solution but a little research, common sense and good judgement will produce useful results.

Talent – Why it’s Critical

“Why have these companies (Google and Gilt Group) succeeded?  It’s not the idea – it’s the people.  Execution is what matters, and execution relies on human talent.”

Kevin Ryan, Founder and CEO of Gilt Group

Harvard Business Review, January-February 2012

Fourteen years ago McKinsey consultants Elizabeth Chambers, Mark Foulton, Helen Handfield-Jones, Stephen Hankin and Edward Michaels published The War for Talent.  Four key drivers of the need for better talent were identified:

  • A more complex global economy
  • Intensified competition
  • Increased investor/stakeholder expectations
  • Increased spans of control and scope of roles

Things have changed – these drivers have intensified.

Research by McKinsey& Company provided conclusive evidence that:

  • Companies which proactively manage their talent generate 22% higher return to shareholders; and,

High performers deliver significantly better results than do average performers

  • 67% increased revenue in sales roles.
  • 49% increased profit in general management roles, and
  • 40% increase in productivity in operations roles.

Despite compelling evidence of the impact of talent on organizational results, my experience is that few organizations actually manage talent well.  Executives espouse the values but fail to “walk the talk”.

Further research my McKinsey determined that the percentage of executive who “Strongly Agree” with the following statements are as follows:

My Company…

Brings in highly talented people                      19%

Develops people quickly and effectively        3%

Retains almost all high performers                 8%

Removes low performers                                    3%

Know who the high and low performers are   16%