three factors that will help develop a talent development programme

Leaders need to be accountable for creating a talent management culture and developing the next wave of talent for the firm.


By : Santhosh Babu | People Matters on 1st May, 2013

Leaders need to be accountable for creating a talent management culture and developing the next wave of talent for the firm

Pete Carroll (Head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, earning over Rs 42 crore annually, and considered one of the top football coaches in America) draws his inspiration from the book “The Inner Game of Tennis” written by Timothy Gallwey. Carroll liked the book so much that the latest edition even has his foreword. He summarizes

Every chief executive knows that the right talent for the right position is the most important asset of an organization. Talent development has become a mission-critical company process. The term – talent development pipeline architecture – is gaining popularity as organizations have become more serious about building leadership capabilities.

Underscoring the importance of talent, PepsiCo CEO IndraNooyi said,“Perhaps the greatest challenge business leaders face today is how to stay competitive amid constant turbulence and disruption. Today’s market place is incredibly competitive in every industry around the globe. The difference between success and failure is talent, period.”

The three factors that are critical for the success of a talent development programme are:

Create pipeline of talent

In McKinsey’s “The War for Talent” study, the importance of the leader’s talent mindset was established as the primary distinguishing factor between successful and not so successful companies. Creating a sustainable pipeline of promotable internal talent that provides top-tier leadership needs an integrated, systemic approach to its management. Leaders need to be accountable for creating a talent management culture and developing the next wave of talent for the firm. When we created leadership development programmes for High Potentials in firms like Engineers India, Ranbaxy, MSD, Max Life Insurance, ING Vysya, Vodafone and Airtel, the inputs and direction came from senior leadership.

Focus on critical competencies

A typical competency framework is based on performance in the current role and may include many others. It is more effective to identify and focus on the competencies that are most critical to the current and future success of the business. In the Indian context, focus on growth and culture are more important and they can be termed as growth behaviours. For some industries, the growth behaviours are courage, strategic thinking, challenge and self-belief while for others they can be driving simplicity, accountability and collaboration.

Use module relevant to context & culture

Do not pick up modules that worked in a different context or culture. Off-the-shelfprogrammes offer little or no customisation. It is okay to buy a prestigious American university’s programme for your high potential talent as long as the content and methodologies are relevant. It is also important to have an inclusive approach where talent development is holistic and focused on all levels in the organization. With Vodafone, Novartis and MSD, we use an integrated methodology that involves coaching, mentoring, workplace projects and three workshops spread across a year. The mantra for a robust talent development initiative is a blueprint that is aligned to the company’s strategy and the support and involvement of the top management.


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