Talent Management: What Is Your CEO’s Involvement and Engagement in Growing Global Talent?

Growing Global Executive Talent - picture courtesy of DDI

The demand to grow the best breed of talent is on the CEO agenda but still many CEO’s struggle to resolve the talent shortage for their businesses. There is a fundamental disconnect between how executives value the importance of talent management versus the amount of involvement and rigor they have in the talent management process.
Graph courtesy of DDI
This is one of the major findings from Growing Global Executive Talent, a global online survey of 412 executives conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Development Dimensions International (DDI). Click here to download the PDF of the full report.

According to this survey, 55% of respondents said that their organization’s performance was likely or very likely to suffer in the future due to insufficient leadership talent.

Graph courtesy of DDI
One of the more compelling quotes in the survey findings was from a CEO in support of investing more time in talent management. David Novak, CEO of Yum Brands, shares this in the survey; “Show me a good leader and I’ll show you a good business.”

A number of key findings emerged from the survey that can be highlighted and referred to as evidence of the importance of talent management, namely:

  • 66% of the respondents from the survey are making talent management a core business strategy equal to or more important than other business priorities.
    Graph courtesy of DDI
    Some CEO’s are increasingly playing a hands-on role in expanding and fine-tuning their talent management initiatives. For example, Mr. Majdi Abulaban, vice president of Delphi Packard Electrical Architecture, said he is now spending 50% of his time on talent management, up from 35% two years ago.
  • 55% of respondents said their firm was fair or poor at identifying talent and communicating promotions. Strong talent management depends on clear communication where potential candidates understand where they need to improve and what they need to accomplish in order to be in line for advancement.
    Graph courtesy of DDI
  • Only 20% of respondents said they spend time on managing leadership talent or involved their human resources department as a “true strategic partner.” One thought for Human Resource professionals: Be proactive in involving yourself as a business partner. Waiting to be “invited” to assume this role will clearly not work for you. One suggestion: develop an enterprise people development plan, this will give you the strategic view into your organization’s talent needs. Furthermore, given the fact, that just one in ten CEO’s said they reviewed leadership talent with their Board of Directors, this appears to be another opportunity for Human Resources professionals to begin to engage with their senior leadership in putting talent management on the agenda for the Board of Directors. And having an enterprise people plan may be the first request of the Board.
    Graph courtesy of DDI

So, the survey asks what is preventing companies from adopting a more “rigorous” approach to talent management? Some common strategies mentioned in depth in the survey findings include:

  • Develop an integrated talent strategy – meaning do not patch together various programs, but rather adopt one comprehensive strategy requiring leaders to serve both as executive sponsors and champions of the talent strategy as well as active participants in the development of talent.
  • Identify talent potential early – the demand for strategic leaders is outgrowing the supply and this results in the need to identify and invest in internal leaders on a regular basis. This requires a routine scanning of the skills, knowledge and talent of the organization, and isolating leaders who show a combination of strong performance and leadership potential.
  • Use innovation and take “calculated risks” in executive development – push your learning vendors to use innovative design approaches including metaphorical learning experiences – a term referring to a learning method that takes participants out of their familiar surroundings and gives them the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new world as they go through a set of learning exercises.

So what are your barriers to gaining traction with talent management inside your organization? Please share your experiences with our growing community.

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[tags]talent management, talent retention, talent leader, global talent, ceo[/tags]

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About Jeanne Meister

Jeanne C. Meister is a best selling author of three books, internationally recognized consultant and keynote speaker. Jeanne is Partner of Future Workplace, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting organizations in re-thinking, re-imagining and re-inventing the workplace. Jeanne was recently voted by her peers as one of the 20 top influential training professionals in the United States. Jeanne’s name is synonymous with the establishment and institutionalization of global corporate universities. Jeanne is the author of three books, Corporate Quality Universities and Corporate Universities. Jeanne’s latest book is, The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today (Harper Collins, 2010) is in its 10th printing.No information is provided by the author.


  1. In five years at Microsoft, I watched as a new initiative was launched each year (in concert with the yearly employee review cycle) where management attempted to “manage” talent. Over that time, many of the most talented folks in the org left to find other challenges.

    Often, this was because they felt that the stated policies and practices really didn’t represent the actual conditions under which they were evaluated and promoted. In other cases, short term company goals often took priority over long term employee growth. A single quarter of fire drill is fine, but a continued fire is pretty exhausting.

    Think of your talent as a garden — you need space, patience, the right mix of plants, and lots of sunlight. If you make a plan to “manage” those plants to grow away from the sunlight, they’ll wither and die.

    And if you’re spending over 50% of your time on this, it might indicate that the soil in your garden just isn’t good for your plants.

  2. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

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