Companies like General Electric, PepsiCo, and Colgate-Palmolive are justly recognized for their ability to turn out top-notch business executives in a predictable way. Over the years, scores of companies have tried to benchmark and emulate these companies’ success in executive development — but often become disillusioned by how hard it is to instill the “talent mindset” culture these firms have achieved. And in the course of their benchmarking efforts, talent management professionals are often surprised to learn that the GEs, PepsiCos (speaking Sept. 8 at ERE), and Colgates of the world are as committed to external recruiting as they are to talent development. They shouldn’t be.
The success of such companies indicates that talent acquisition and development are two levers that must be fully integrated in order for a company to maximize its leadership capability.
Some organizations assume that going outside to bring in talent is a negative signal that internal development efforts have failed. That’s not typically the case. The best-practice companies view external recruiting as an opportunity to calibrate the strength of their current managers and upgrade the company’s leadership “gene pool” for the future.
What really separates the practices of what I’ll call “talent mindset companies” from other organizations is how seamlessly they integrate talent acquisition and development. Most companies recruit externally with the goal of filling a position, and thus focus on the candidate’s job-specific experience. By contrast, talent mindset companies — although interested in the person’s job experience — focus their attention on the individual’s leadership capability and potential for career growth. They assess external candidates based on the same competencies used to promote internal managers to higher levels, and are particularly interested in the following: keep reading…