Acceleration. 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
research working group dedicated to examining how senior leadership
supply chains (the top 300+ leaders in an organization) are managed in
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
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.