The Productivity Blog

Why You Should Focus On Business-Driven Talent Development

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chartAcceleration. High-potentials. Succession. These were some of the conversation topics bouncing back and forth at the kick-off of i4cp's new Executive Leadership Development Exchange, a research working group dedicated to examining how senior leadership supply chains (the top 300+ leaders in an organization) are managed in high-performance organizations.
And while there was robust discussion on one another's current practices, future plans and the leadership development journeys each member was embarking on, the conversation was elevated to a new level when Susan Burnett addressed the group.

Burnett, Senior VP of Talent Management at Yahoo!, spoke of “business-driven talent development” and suggested that participants think not in terms of competencies needed, but in terms of organizational capabilities needed to win and the kind of culture that will promote success.

Another piece of advice? “Know how you make money, what moves the stock,” said Burnett. This is the knowledge that should influence your business strategy and inform your metrics. Speak the language of your business.

Burnett also advised, “Spend 40% of your time with clients; meet with the CEO one-on-one at least twice a year.” She suggested creating a pie chart to represent the proportion of time you typically spend in HR activities, administrative meetings, with clients, etc. This can serve as a visual reminder to invest your time in business-driven activities.

She recommends that executives know and understand their organization's business plan for growth and profitability. Where will you need to focus to “win” in the marketplace? And for each initiative you pursue, make sure the sponsorship is there. Create a team of champions, but also pay attention to your “blockers” - they alert you to what might be wrong, a valuable piece of information to learn sooner rather than later.

Lastly, Burnett urged participants to manage the end-to-end talent process: attracting, assessing, rewarding, engaging, measuring, growing and retaining/re-engaging employees “even if you don't own the whole value chain.” The common denominator is incorporating standards of excellence in selection, performance assessment, development plans, recognition, rewards and measures.

Burnett's presentation was just one of the highlights of the first Executive Leadership Development Exchange forum. This engaged group of Exchange participants will pursue a thorough examination of how to accelerate executive leadership development in the future. Research will include a forthcoming i4cp survey (sign up to participate in i4cp's workforce surveys) to provide members with information that will inform their executive leadership development strategies.

To learn more about joining the Executive Leadership Development Exchange, contact us.


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