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Using Talent Management to Secure a Company's Long-Term Survival: Interview With William Rothwell

September 1, 2011 13:30 by Ann Pace

(From Corporate Counsel) -- William J. Rothwell missed a bunch of reporters' queries last week (including ours) when Steve Jobs relinquished his CEO spot at Apple to former COO Tim Cook. It's no wonder Rothwell was so sought after for comment: he has been teaching companies and organizations how to groom successors and plan for retirement for years. But the prolific author, Penn State professor, and succession-planning guru just happened to be en route that day from Singapore, where he is currently consulting with the government on—what else?—how to fill jobs with the right people.

Consulting with technology companies, though, is what helped shape his signature tome on technical talent management: Invaluable Knowledge: Securing Your Company's Technical Expertise (AMACOM, 2011). The core idea is that a company's competitive advantage resides in its knowledge capital, and transferring that knowledge is a crucial concern as older executives and personnel look toward retirement.

CorpCounsel.com caught up with Rothwell between trips to Singapore to learn more about his approach to helping companies and their law departments. Below is an edited version of that interview:

CC: What is 'technical talent management,' and how does it factor into a how a company manages its workforce?

William Rothwell: Historically, companies have been looking at talent management—defined as attracting, developing, and retaining the best people—and that often means [focusing on] people who are 'promotable.'

Technical talent management focuses not on promotability, but on knowledge transfer. And knowledge transfer focuses not so much on what we can write down, but what people have in their heads, that they're walking around with, that they learned the hard way, through experience.

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How Do You Identify High Potentials?

July 26, 2011 12:00 by Ann Pace

(From eCornell) -- Today's organizations find it challenging to locate and put in place a new generation of leadership that is both proactive and pragmatic. Disproportionately this new generation of leaders will come from the pool of people within an organization, often referred to as "high potentials." But here's the rub: By what criteria do we decide whether somebody is a high potential suited for a leadership position?

Sam Bacharach, McKelvey-Grant Professor at the School of Industrial & Labor Relations of Cornell University and author of more than 10 eCornell online courses in high-performance leadership, suggests five criteria for selecting high potentials in his new whitepaper Criteria to Identify High Potentials in Your Organization.

Get your copy of the complimentary whitepaper.


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Nearly One-Third of Companies Don’t Have Succession Planning

May 26, 2011 15:30 by Ann Pace

(From CareerBuilder) -- When a high level leader leaves a company, there’s a lot of pressure associated with the selection of his or her successor. Even with so much weight placed on future leaders, many companies reveal they don’t have a formal plan of action to replace their higher ups. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, nearly one-third (31 percent) of companies with more than 1,000 employees said they don’t currently have a succession planning program at their organization. In addition, 50 percent of senior management (CEO, CFO, Senior VP, etc.) and 52 percent of those in a vice president position said they do not have a successor for their current role. The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder from February 21 through March 10, 2011 among more than 1000 employers with 1,001 or more employees.

A lack of succession planning can adversely affect an organization in a variety of ways, from the absence of strategic direction to decreased productivity to weakened financial performance.  More than one-quarter (27 percent) of companies said they’ve been adversely affected financially by poor succession planning or a lack thereof.

Employers cited the recession as an obstacle to effective succession planning. More than one-quarter (28 percent) of companies said that the recession has left gaps in their succession plans due to downsizing or workers leaving voluntarily.

“As the economy gradually improves, it’s important for organizations to proactively plan for the future of their businesses,” said Jamie Womack, vice president of corporate marketing and sales training at CareerBuilder. “Having a blueprint on who will succeed management at all levels is a critical facet to your overall strategy, as it ensures that your organization will be able to tackle future challenges and compete in your industry.”

When asked what is lacking in their current succession planning program, companies said the following:

•Not enough opportunities for employees to learn beyond their own roles – 39 percent
•Process isn’t formalized – 38 percent
•Not enough investment in training and development – 33 percent
•Not actively involving employees or seeking their input – 31 percent
•It only focuses on top executives – 29 percent

Managers also reported that workers’ awareness of and input on their own succession planning is important. Forty-nine percent of employers said employees don’t set up career paths with their managers with timelines and milestones.

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Leadership training key for schools to succeed

May 16, 2011 14:21 by jllorens

(From StarTribune.com) Bernadeia Johnson, superintendent of the embattled Minneapolis Public Schools, is a business veteran with the bruises to prove it.

Two decades ago, Johnson, who'd been promoted from teller to manager of a financial-analysis unit at the former First Bank, was told to lay off several of her analysts as then-CEO Jack Grundhofer cut thousands of jobs in a wrenching restructuring.

"First, they had me lay off my group," Johnson said. "Then, I got laid off. I had time to put my coffee cup and kid's picture in a box."

Her abrupt departure from corporate life kindled the school-volunteer's passion for working with kids. She eventually enrolled in a University of St. Thomas urban education program targeted at professionals. Johnson's first job as a teacher paid $28,000, about half her banker's pay.

Today, Johnson is committed to improving academic performance and family engagement in a 32,000-student district where two-thirds of the kids live in poverty, 23 percent are learning English and 16 percent get special-education assistance. And she's attracted four deep-pocket corporate allies that have pledged $13 million over the next three years to help her meet those goals.

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Most HR Execs Give Mixed Grades to Leadership Pipelines

May 10, 2011 13:30 by Ann Pace

(From PRWEB) -- Human resources and talent management executives give mixed grades for the quality of their own organizations' leadership pipelines, according to a survey by Right Management. Right Management is the talent and career management expert within ManpowerGroup, the world leader in innovative workforce solutions.

Right Management surveyed the 1,262 executives via an online poll and found that there are gaps in the leadership cadres at most companies in North America. In fact, only 6% of organizations were reported to have future leaders identified for all critical roles.

Do you have future leaders identified for critical roles in your organization?

Yes, for all critical roles     6%
Yes, for most but not all critical roles    17%
Yes, for some critical roles    55%
No, not for any critical roles    22%

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Companies Worldwide View Talent as Biggest Obstacle to Future Growth

December 16, 2010 17:30 by Ann Pace

(From Business Wire) -- As companies worldwide begin to position themselves for future growth in the face of an uncertain economic recovery, a new survey by global professional services company Towers Watson finds that concerns over their ability to attract and retain key talent, or to plan for an orderly replacement of talent, could thwart those efforts. The survey also found significant gaps in employers’ capabilities to address talent management and succession planning issues.

The Towers Watson Strategies for Growth study, a survey of more than 700 companies globally, revealed that talent -- finding it and keeping it -- is the biggest potential workforce obstacle to achieving growth. Specifically, more than half of the respondents worldwide (51%) cited the loss of talent in key skill areas as a workforce challenge that could hinder growth. Slightly fewer (49%) cited the lack of succession planning as a top challenge, while 38% noted concerns about attracting necessary talent.

Regionally, the survey revealed some divergence, which tended to track with the differing economic climate in various parts of the world. North American companies are less concerned about loss of key talent than their counterparts in other regions, but are more concerned about levels of disengagement among employees. In Asia Pacific, disengagement is not a major issue, but the inability to pay workers competitively is, reflecting the region’s fairly young and mobile workers, who are willing to change jobs frequently to advance their careers and raise their paychecks. Respondents in Europe are more worried about the talent drain’s impact on management succession planning.

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Putting Success Back in Succession Planning

October 26, 2010 18:20 by Ann Pace

(From UNC Kenan-Flagler) Do you believe that your organization is developing the talent it needs to reach business objectives and meet future challenges? If not, you are not alone. This white paper will show you how successful succession plans are more than filling out forms. They are real, living programs that combine learning and development opportunities and experiential learning to prepare leaders at all levels for tomorrow’s business challenges.

Read the whitepaper here


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Seven Major CEO Concerns CIOs Should Address

October 21, 2010 14:30 by Ann Pace

(From Business Wire) -- With the increased reliance on IT from business leaders, it’s important for CIOs to understand the concerns of CEOs and the implications they may have on IT, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner analysts have outlined the seven major concerns from CEOs that CIOs should address.

“Business leaders see very uncertain times ahead in 2011, and they must defend growth despite falling business and consumer confidence,” said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

Gartner analysts examined these CEO concerns during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, being held here through October 21. The CEO concerns include:

Fading Confidence: Many CEOs will pull back from more bullish investment and expansion bets in 2011 if confidence continues to decline. This is a reality correction following some of the leader exuberance after fending off the crisis of 2008-2009.

In preparation for 2011, most CIOs should assume they will be given very limited increases in resources in line with broader corporate caution and that "making do with what we have" continues to be the right approach. However, some more-bullish business initiatives conceived in mid-2010 will make it through the budgeting cycle, but encounter rising business leader delay and hesitancy in the first half of 2011. CIOs should make business initiative owners aware at the start of the year that they may risk losing IT resources to someone else.

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Can You Feed Your Leadership Pipeline?

August 17, 2010 09:09 by Kristen Fyfe

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed the urgency of leadership training in today's economy. According to the article a lot of companies are increasing their budgets to deal with what they perceive to be a critical problem. The writer states:

"Already, some companies say they are finding they don't have the managers to spearhead new projects or step in for departing executives, a problem as companies try to shift into growth mode."

Feeding Your Leadership Pipeline, a new book by Daniel Tobin published by ASTD Press, is a resource these companies should invest in. And if you're working for a small- or medium-size company, it should be on your book shelf too. Jim Kouzes says the book is "the most comprehensive, practical, and inviting book on the fundamentals of leadership development."

You can read more about the book here.


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Three Unconventional Talent Acquisition Techniques

June 1, 2010 12:00 by Ann Pace

The Executive Search Group LLC (formerly Infonet Resources) has published a free tipsheet for CEOs and HR Directors, telling how the firm has succeeded through some unconventional executive search techniques.

Tipsheet author Tim McIntyre has helped over 100 top companies build their teams, over more than two decades.
“In the course of helping companies build their leadership teams, I’ve developed some strong views on what makes or breaks a company’s talent acquisition effort,” says McIntyre.

He contends in the new Talent Acquisition Strategy Tipsheet that there are three things that can make or break executive search efforts.

McIntyre argues that CEOs and HR Directors may need to avoid existing position descriptions if they want the best hires. "There are bad ways and good ways to develop a position description," he writes. "One bad way is to cut and paste from an old description. Another is to ask the Human Resources department to draft something. The results might look good, but they most likely will be superficial and miss the mark."

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