The Seven Deadly Sins of Talent Management 1 these values and practices. It is about building the Chicago Change Partners sustainable capacity to perform and win. Great leadership is the foundation for sustainedExecutive Summary performance through both evolutionary and revolutionary phases of any company’s life span.The Seven Deadly Sins of Talent Without a leader putting a personal stamp on thisManagement process and investing personal time to know one’s Patrick R. Dailey, Ph.D., and Charles H. Bishop pipeline, the process is doomed.Jr., Ph.D. Published by The Human CapitalInstitute, July 2009 The Sins are briefly described below. DetailedLink to full article: discussion of the Sins, the Symptoms andhttp://www.humancapitalinstitute.org/hci/external.gui Solutions is provided in the full article.d?_articleID=90375&_sponsorID=164&_forwarder=tra Inept Assessmentcks_talent_management_execution Do your hiring managers differentiate ‘great’ talent from’ good’?Target Audience. Senior Leadership Each day, leaders throughout your organizationOverview. This article is about the personal role and make judgments, or “calls,” to select talent fordiscipline necessary from senior leadership to more challenging and complex jobs. When thesemanage a company’s talent pipeline. decision-makers fail to make astute talent assessments and predictions, a little bit of yourDailey and Bishop discuss the “personal stamp” company’s future is chipped away.that senior leadership must place on a company’stalent management process in order to signal the Loose Accountabilityprocess as a business imperative as well as Would you bet your bonus on the quality andimplement “best practices” processes. The readiness of your leadership pipeline?authors provide pragmatic guidance fordiagnosing the obstacles; they offer suggestions One of the most unforgivable sins a seniorfor building a deep and ready talent pipeline; and executive can commit is underestimating thedefine the standards by which talent management future leadership needs for the business—either inprocess must be executed. terms of quantity or quality. These oversights traditionally go unmentioned in annual reports andThe authors put a spotlight on faulty processes during analyst meetings. Yet these oversightsand inadequate accountability that render talent compromise your organization’s competitivemanagement processes ineffective in delivering a future.robust pipeline of exceptional leadership talent.These are called “Sins.” For each Sin, diagnostic Tolerating Protectionismclues or symptoms are provided which allow Are you personally willing to break down theleaders to assess whether the sin operates within barriers between operating units for sharing andtheir organization. Most importantly, practical developing top talent?solutions are offered for each Sin. A DiagnosticGuide is included in the full article as well as Protectionism exists when organizational wallsprovided in this summary. and cultural norms limit the movement or development of emerging leaders acrossDailey and Bishop argue that leadership-rich organizational boundaries. This sin narrows yourorganizations never believe their talent degrees of freedom regarding development formanagement process and activities are emerging leaders and ultimately limits choices indiscretionary duties for senior leadership. appointing “ready now” leaders, compromising theLeadership-rich companies understand that the quality and readiness of your talent pipeline.talent management process is an essential corecompetency that can’t be duplicated, that largely Playing It Too Safecan’t be delegated and must not be neglected. Are you willing to take short-term risks and “financial hits” to place emerging leaders into realThey assert that there is nothing altruistic about challenges as they learn their lessons of
The Seven Deadly Sins of Talent Management 2experience? talent management process that solidifiesDeveloping leaders with the keen instincts and involvement and commitment among other seniorwell- honed skills to lead organizations into their leaders.futures does not come without risk. This riskinvolves placing talent into real and challenging Creating Credenzawaresituations where they must perform and learn Is your talent-planning process an annualfrom their experience. It is a truism that the “event” or an ongoing, ingrained process thatgreater the challenge, the greater the learning drives results?opportunity—and, unfortunately, the greater therisk of failure to the individual and the Credenza-ware is the unrealized output of talentorganization. So-called 100-percent “safe-fills” review meetings. This output finds its way to theprovide little growth opportunity for the individual. shelves, disk drives, and credenzas of seniorThe outcome can result in low motivation or over- executives and presenters. Nice work that goesconfidence by the leadership team. The ideal nowhere. The authors believe the culprit is thesituation is a job that demands performance and once-per-year process of conducting talent reviewprovides a challenge for the individual. meetings in which forms and formal presentations overwhelm the process of candidly assessing yourSettling For “Just Good Enough” organization’s talent strengths and deficienciesCan your team outwit and outmaneuver your and setting plans in motion to close gaps. Whencompetition? talent meetings feel more like reviews than action- planning sessions, leaders should be on guardOrganizations can lose their fitness edge when that their time and effort may be squandered.not challenging to attain market share orfunctional excellence. In the early stages of Author contact:decline, signs of “organizational dry rot” can bedetected in the middle-managerial appointments. Patrick R. Dailey, Ph.D.In those cases, “good enough” leaders are email@example.com P 310.400.9992appointed to key roles and steer their operatingunits toward incremental improvements and even Charles H. Bishop, Jr.,Ph.D.deliver strong results. These organizations have Charlie@chicagochange.com P 847.835.7015worked harder and managed to win—for a periodof time. Soon these organizations are in over theirheads—overworked and out of gas. Theirreputations slip, and great talent becomes difficultto attract and retain. Predictably, the competitionbegins to outwit, outflank, and outmaneuverthem.Failure to Reinvent Your WheelAre you borrowing or buying a succession-management process, then force fitting it intoyour culture?Many of our best known brands—IBM, Dell,FedEx— have their own “secret sauce,”something that makes them distinctive. If youprobe into the genesis of what makes such greatbrands, one of the key factors is their approach totalent—their selection, development, andretention. The authors assert that leaders need to“invent their own wheel” for their talentmanagement process. While there are someessential building blocks to an effective process,the phrase “reinvent the wheel” is used toencourage leaders to build an identity for their
The Seven Deadly Sins of Talent Management 3 Diagnostic Guide SIN SYMPTOMS SOLUTIONSInept Assessment □ Senior leaders don’t agree on what 1- Bolt competency model to strategy “success” looks like 2- Train manager to assess competenciesDo your hiring managers differentiate ‘great’ talent and learning agilityfrom ‘good’? □ Appointments are not made from your 3- Foster an environment of “open **** promotability list dialogue” during talent review sessionSelection standards and assessment skills are off □ Performance is used as a proxy for 4-Allotarget and lead to mediocrity. Time to apply rigor to potentialpinpoint competencies that differentiateperformance; train hiring managers; operate a □ A “conspiracy of politeness” existsdisciplined selection system that delivers top tier during talent review sessionstalent. □Loose Accountability □ Managing (only) from the 1- Play a strong role in selection decisions heart at least two levels down.Would you bet your bonus on the quality and 2- Scorecard your process and rewardreadiness of your leadership pipeline? □ “One horse races“ are run for key success **** appointments 3- Challenge calls to sharpen standardsProcess excellence and selection accuracy are □ Senior leaders are not held accountabledeemed as low in importance. There is no “spot for “bad calls”light” on this essential managerial accountability. □Time to ensure senior leaders put some “skin in thegame.” □Tolerating Protectionism □ Inability to move talent across 1- Create an “air traffic control” organizational boundaries capability to facilitate appointmentsAre you personally willing to reach down and across and developmentthe organization to knock down the barriers to □ States rights mentality and practices 2- Know your pipelinesharing and developing top talent? □ Cronyism **** □ Talented outsiders have difficultyWalls and barriers exist between organizational units breaking into the culturearound many issues; most likely talent is one ofthese. Time to knock down cross unit barriers and □appropriately manage talent as a collective corporate □resource.Playing It Too Safe □ Low risk learning and development 1- Ensure real business risk and personal opportunities are utilized challenge are usedAre you willing to take short term risks with business 2- Prepare transformation Coachingresults as emerging leaders learn their lessons of □ Promotions are delayed until talent is Guidanceexperience? “over ripe” 3- Promote the best people into key jobs **** □ Holding steadfastly to a promote from early and oftenTalent development programs fail to stretch and within practice 4- Break some compensation rulesbuild the necessary range and depth of skills, 5- Wake up to the real problem that might □ Leaving high-potential talent out of the involve 25% of your leadership andcoalitions and temperament necessary for equationpromotability and success at the next level. Time to actfix your talent development agenda---make □development more challenging, inject a “pass/fail” □mentality and tailored to the needs of high potentials.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Talent Management 4 SIN SYMPTOMS SOLUTIONSSettling For Good Enough □ Compromise candidates are appointed 1- Build talent ahead of demand to key roles 2- Recruit and develop more you’re yourCan your team outwit and out-maneuver the fair share of “game changers”competition? □ Operating units rarely stick their necks 3- Supplement your pipeline with “great” out external talent ****Your operating leadership and management cadre do □ Operating units are unable to renew 4- Make it someone’s job that great talentnot deliver market leadership. Your bench has failed their performance capability sticksto offer ready now talent that senior leadership □ Belief in Management Alchemy viabelieves can step up into pivotal roles and win in the team building and trainingmarketplace. Your “bar” is too low. Time toupgrade. Time to build your bench from rigorous □internal development as well as recruit “take your □breath away” talent from the outside that can step inand step up.Failure to Reinvent The Wheel □ Seduced by fads and technology 1- Put your personal stamp on the processAre you borrowing or buying a talent management □ Legacy programs and solutions are no 2- Get the basics rightprocess and force fitting it into your culture? longer aligned to the business needs 3- Sell your vision – get management **** □ Creation of the “special task force” leaders involvedTalent management has not been treated as a core □competency. Modest investment and inattention hasproduced an undistinguished process. Time to create □your brand of talent management processes and adistinctive leadership profile; put your personalstamp on the process; build out both the assessmentand development sides of your unique process.Invent your “secret sauce.” Connect talentmanagement with the business.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Talent Management 5Creating “Credenza –Ware” □ Dominance of a “once a year” mindset 1- Tee-up the issues you want addressed 2- Have Discussions; not PresentationsIs your talent review process a once a year ‘event’ □ Talent review meetings are a “Road to 3- Put Plans and Commitments in writingvs. an on-going, ingrained process that drives Nowhere” 4- Replace Succession Planning with aresults? □ Talent plans are not tracked for on focus on a Pipeline of Talent ***** time, on target results 5- Measure your pipelineProcess planning, review/planning meetings and □follow-through are haphazard. Time to elevate talentmanagement to the same level as your strategic □planning and annual budget planning process andrepeatedly follow up to compare plan v. actualthrough the fiscal year. Time to work your talentmanagement plan everyday.