Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First – An Excerpt

Turning conventional views on their heads, talent and leadership experts Ram Charan, Dominic Barton and Dennis Carey provide leaders with a new and different playbook for acquiring, managing and deploying talent–for today’s agile, digital, analytical, technologically driven strategic environment and for creating the HR function that business needs. Filled with examples of forward-thinking companies that have adopted radical new approaches to talent (such as ADP, Amgen, BlackRock, Blackstone, Haier, ING, Marsh, Tata Communications, Telenor and Volvo), as well as the juggernauts and the start-ups of Silicon Valley, this book shows leaders how to bring the rigor that they apply to financial capital to their human capital–elevating HR to the same level as finance in their organizations.

Here’s an excerpt from the book.
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The top of the company also must align behind something else: the story you’re going to tell investors. If you’re leading a talent-driven organization but talking strategy-first to Wall Street, there’s a disconnect between your company’s public and private personae. That’s not good for investors, your company, or your workforce.

Telling investors about talent seems like a risky tactical change. Why would a company in, say, the semiconductor industry want to position itself in a way that seems more suited to a movie studio announcing its latest slate of star-driven features?

There are several answers to this question. For starters, shifting to a story built around talent is a sign of the times. Some companies already include slides about their key talent in their quarterly presentations. Financial analysts know the impact people like Jony Ive, Astro Teller, Sheryl Sandberg, and Andy Rubin can have on a company’s valuation. The phenomenon is hardly limited to tech: the performance or career peregrinations of Wall Street stars, fashion leaders, and even manufacturing pros can affect share prices as well.

But your company’s talent narrative isn’t just a story of stars. In fact, in times of great turbulence it can be a sign of stability. GE has made its deep talent-development efforts part of its narrative for years. GE stock has had its challenges, of course. But the company’s education efforts at its Crotonville, New York, facility and its history of always having great talent at the ready give investors confidence in GE’s management pipeline. Google’s track record of giving great leeway to its talented employees is equally well known. At one point, employees were even encouraged to spend 20 percent of their time working on their own pet projects. Investors have applauded CEO Larry Page’s effort to rein in some of the company’s more outlandish experiments, but they wouldn’t want to see the company reduce its commitment to innovation. Analysts have come to expect the unexpected from companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple, and are apt to forgive the occasional failure, because the companies’ talent-first models have produced one unexpected innovation after another. At these companies, there’s a well established narrative history of the power of talent.

 

 

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