CategoryTalent Management

Is Talent Overrated?


Well, Geoff Colvin certainly thinks so and I agree with him. But first, let me explain what I mean by “talent.”  This is a word that gets thrown around a lot, especially in our field.  When I say “talent is overrated” I’m referring to “talent” as the innate (some would say God-given) ability, granted to us at birth, that confers an advantage over others lacking such ability.  We often hear the word “talent” used in this way when describing musicians, athletes or chess players who achieve what...

How Wikis Transform Learning


A wiki is an open-source application that allows any user to submit and edit content.  The most popular and famous wiki to date is Wikipedia, an open-source web-based encyclopedia written entirely by volunteer contributors.  Wikipedia has grown rapidly to become the largest reference work ever published in the history of mankind. The popularity of wikis has not gone unnoticed by the business community.  Companies are beginning to recognize the transformative nature of wikis and are using them...

Zappos: Bribing Employees to Quit


One of the more interesting companies to debut on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list in 2009 is Zappos, coming in at 23.  That makes Zappos the highest ranked new comer to the list this year.  What makes Zappos, an e-commerce retailer, so unique, especially among start-ups, is an early commitment to defining a culture, and then designing systems and processes that support that culture.  Take one of their Core Values, “Deliver Wow through Service.”  This is an extremely customer-focused...

The 5A’s Framework: Making Training More Effective


One strategy for companies continuing to invest in leadership development  during these tough times is to look for ways to reduce the cost of training. Another strategy, which I consider much smarter and more strategic, is for companies to focus on the overall effectiveness of training.  Yes, training budgets are down 11% from last year, but there is no reason why a smaller budget can’t produce more effective results.  Improving business success from training is a subject my colleague Dr...

Training Down, Leadership Development Up


When the economy is shrinking and businesses are struggling, training budgets get cut back just like everything else.  However, this time companies with a long-term view on talent management are approaching things differently.  The Wall Street Journal reported this week that although training budgets at U.S. corporations are down an estimated 11%, the share of budgets allotted to leadership development is growing: Yaarit Silverstone, global managing director for the organization effectiveness...

Global Quest for Talent


I was following John Byrne’s (Editor-in-Chief of Businessweek) twitter acount and he mentioned that the most popular article on today is “Microsoft: Layoffs for Some, Visas for Others:” As recently as Jan. 5, the company posted a policy proposal on President Obama’s transition Web site requesting that the government “remove caps that bar entry into the U.S. by high-skilled immigrants.” Several weeks later, on a Jan. 22 earnings conference call, the company announced plans to...

Managing Human Capital During An Economic Crisis


Revenue is down, costs are increasing and your operating income is being squeezed.  When you look at your Profit & Loss Statement, one of the largest line-items (maybe THE largest line-item) is labor.  What do you do? In the past, the conventional wisdom, especially in the United States, has always been to reduce the workforce.  In fact, the U.S. economy has been widely praised for its flexible labor markets.  U.S. companies are thought to have a competitive advantage over European and...

Growing Innovative Leaders


Any good gardner knows that the right mixture of fertile soil, clean water, fertilizer and sunlight will produce healthy and fast-growing plants.  The same can be said for growing innovative leaders, but in this case it is necessary to cultivate the right mixture of organizational factors, leadership skills and learning opportunities.   In the November issue of Harvard Business Review, Jeffrey Cohn, Jon Katzenbach and Gus Vlak write about the unique conditions that help great companies to find...

The Wisdom of Buffet


The Snowball is an excellent new biography of Warren Buffet by Alice Schroder published in September 2008.  It is packed full of wonderful anecdotes and stories from Warren’s life.  At 838 pages one might think it is a bit long, except for the fact that Buffet’s life and business experience span such a long period, the book needs every page and probably more to give the full story justice.  I have a listed a few of Buffet’s life lessons here that relate directly to the topic of leadership:...

Developing Talent During a Crisis


Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink, and a frequent contributor to the New Yorker has a new book out this month, Outliers: The Story of Success which explores the age-old question; what separates super-successful people from the rest of us?  The mythic explanation applied to Carnegie, Morgan and other barons is that these were self-made men who relied primarily on their intelligence, personality and sheer will-power.  In a recent Fortune article, Gladwell talks about how...

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