Jun 24, 2008

How to make a Talent Strategy



I've been reading Made to Stick by the brothers Heath and one point struck me in the book. In the book they quote Antoine de Saint Exupéry on design :  You know you've achieved perfection in design, Not when you have nothing more to add, But when you have nothing more to take away.

Brilliant! What a thought. The Heath guys link that thought to an idea's core principle. 

That's what I've been thinking too.

When you stike away all the wishy-washy vision and mission statements, when you remove all the fluff, when you un-layer all the layers your organization has put on itself all these years - what are you left with with? Or are you left with anything at all?

Hopefully what you will be left looking at - will be the core of your business. The one thing that guides the decision making efforts of all people in the organization. The book gives the example of Southwest - "THE low cost airline" Then there are the other layers around it "It's great to have fun at work", but not at the cost of the core strategy, not by spending money and messing it up.

So that's the link for HR folks. To know what should your talent strategy be - ask if you understand the strategic core of your business. Are you into producing the best designed watches or the best selling ones? The first makes designers center piece of your talent strategy, the second places branding and marketing and sales in the foreground.

So let's say it in plain English - your talent strategy has to reflect your business strategy. Understand that and the rest will follow.