It is a known fact that talent is at the center of an organization’s success. But how important is it? It’s one thing to know it, but how often are you actually strategically thinking about talent and the impact it is having on company growth? An article from CEB points out that “87% of the largest companies stumble on their growth run – often irrecoverably. 90% of these corporate stumbles are not due to so-called acts of God or remarkably innovative disruptions, but to prosaic management missteps; often as the result of placing the wrong employees in key roles or providing the right employees with insufficient support.”
The idea of needing the right people to do the job isn’t new, but strategically planning how to find the right people is becoming increasingly more important to meeting company goals. This should not just be a job for HR! It needs to be an executive priority to understand the company’s talent strategy, but not all executive teams are on the same page. So what do you do?
Take advantage of data tools available to you. “Even where data exists, many organizations either fail to use tools effectively or don’t use them at all. “- CEB
Deeply analyze your company, and use the information to strategically design a game plan. What are your company goals? Where do you want/ need to be to stay competitive and innovative? What will impact your ability to get there? Take time to evaluate the marketplace and investigate what competitors are doing. Doing this will give you a better understanding of what opportunities are available.
Once you have analyzed the data and have your company goals in place, determine if you can achieve those goals with the current people you have in executive level roles. Does your talent base have the skills and competencies to lead your company into the next generation? If the answer is yes, you’re lucky, as the majority of companies will find they have talent gaps that need to be filled. If that’s you, it’s ok! As long as you recognize it and act upon it you will be moving in the right direction. Also, make sure that you don’t get caught up in the data. A common mistake is being able to identify and diagnose talent pain points, but not actually make any changes. Providing a solution will require a willingness to try new things, creativity, and a dedicated effort from executive leaders. “The productivity gains from finding, hiring, developing and managing the best talent are huge, and the risks of failing are even bigger.”- CEB
So senior executives, this starts with you! Don’t crash and burn! Look deeper into your company and take time to interpret the data and trends. Don’t just go with a “gut” feeling, have the research to back it up. Make sure you have the right people in the right jobs, with the right support because no matter what strategic decisions you make, it’s about the people first, and the rest will fall into place.