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Talent Management in International Perspective


Talent Management in International Perspective document sample

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									Making sense of Leadership
 and Coaching: Managing
   the Workforce Talent
     MBA Alumni Weekend
         15 May 2010
     Professor Jackie Ford

      Leadership Challenges
• Globalisation
• Technological developments
• Competitive pressures
• Continuing financial uncertainty
• UK government election outcome
• Collaborative models of working and
  greater inter-dependence
• Quality requirements
• Increasing expectations
      Leadership: core features
• Leadership characteristics: the skills,
  knowledge and behaviours of leaders to be
• Leadership context: what does it mean to be a
  leader in the specific context of public sector
  organisations? What is the impact of the external
  environment in which it operates? What about
  the internal factors - including culture?
• Leadership challenges: the leadership
  problems, issues and opportunities that if
  addressed, bring significant benefit to the
[Pedlar, 2004]
    Concerns about leadership
•   Huge body of literature on leadership;
•   Research into leadership is often fragmented, poorly
    conducted, at times trivial (Collinson and Grint, 2005:
•   It has become such an authoritative discourse in both
    academic and organizational settings that it is too
    important to ignore (Collinson and Grint, 2005; Ford,
    2007; Sinclair, 2005).
•   Leadership theory constructs a model of ‘the leader’
    that is impossible to achieve.
•   Despite all these huge limitations on the theories and
    practices of leadership, the terms ‘leader’ and
    ‘leadership’ have a performative impact (Ford, Harding
    and Learmonth, 2008).
•   Absence of critical and reflexive approaches
          Leaders: more critical
• Critical researchers face the role of exposing the extent
  to which an apparent consensus conceals or diverts
  attention from seething discontent, dissent and disarray
  that bubbles beneath the surface of organisational
  serenity (Ford, 2006, 2007).
• The more we come to learn about leadership theory, the
  less we understand (Grint, 2005).
• More critical perspectives explore and recognise how we
  construct situations locally. This brings together the
  importance of local, contextual, dialogical and relational
  encounters in leadership.
          My research aims
• to explore new, more critical, ways of
  researching, conceptualising and
  practicing leadership

• to explore through story telling accounts,
  how managers make sense of their lives
  as managers and leaders in the turmoil of
  the current environment
        The research context
• Council had recently undergone a leadership
  development for the top 150 managers
• 25 managers were interviewed for this study
  using in-depth biographical narrative methods
  both for data gathering and analysis (Hollway
  and Jefferson, 2000; Crossley, 2000; McAdams,
• Managers were drawn from senior, middle and
  junior managerial ranks
Research findings on leadership
    in local government [1]
Managers report considerable complexity in their
  working lives. Key features include:
• Contradiction
• Ambiguity
• Anxiety
• Tensions
• Inconsistencies
Source: Ford, J. (2006) ‘Discourses of Leadership: Gender, Identity and
Contradiction in a UK Public Sector Organisation’ Leadership, 2(1): 77-99
        Research findings [2]
Four related discursive themes drawn on
  repeatedly by the managers:
• Macho-management
• Distributive, ‘post-heroic’ leadership
• Outside of work influences
• Career trajectories
• Enable an exploration of contemporary
  discourse of leadership and their complex
  relations with gender and identity
• Showed how charismatic and masculine models
  of leadership still formed hegemonic approach
• Offered insights into complex, multiple,
  competing and contradictory identities that
  characterise managers narratives of the self
• Mainstream accounts take too lightly the
  insecurity, anxiety and ambiguity in the lives of
  managers that are present in the accounts of
  these managers
      Managers in the council
• Tensions and contradictions between
  espoused and practiced approaches to
• Aims to practice allegedly more distributive
  leadership approaches are frustrated by
  organisational demands which mean that
  the traditional, more autocratic managerial
  practices prevail
• Hugely complex interactions
      Case analysis: Stuart,
    Corporate Service Director
• Uses the evocative metaphor of the caveman –
  competitive, unthinking, aggressive, heavily
  controlled and thus resistant to any change in
  leadership style:
  I fear we’ve done this… the transformational
  leadership programme and all that, I don’t see
  the culture of the organization changing as a
  consequence of that, I see some quite
  transformational leaders around the
  place…em… battering on the walls of the cave
  to get out, but I don’t see it embedding in the
  organization as a culture…

I think it’s a just a sense of, I’ve probably
reached that point in my life when I’m taking
stock [...] you know, and (long pause) there are
times when you think well no, actually it would
be nice to just, just do an ordinary job, just do a
job that you do you know seven and a half hours
a day and that’s it. Em…you know, go pack
chickens or something…stack shelves…
      He refers to a chastening
‘atthe lowest point a few years ago, the
lowest points were one of ….. there was
almost something self-destructive about it,
that I was going to kill myself doing it, I
was going to work and work and work until
I made myself ill, em………I was almost
consciously doing it, and I don’t know who
that…what that was to prove, I’ve no idea,
but it was like …I will keep going, I will
keep going, and when I’m ill that will
bloody show somebody, I don’t know.’
Having risen rapidly through his chosen profession and
secured promotional opportunities and senior roles at a
relatively young age, Stuart presents himself as
uncomfortable in his current role, and at a period of
indecision. He expresses concern at the dilemma that
now confronts him:

‘The thing that worries me about that is I don’t know if
I can find peace, tranquillity, doing this job for another
ten years whatever until I retire. Erm… I don’t know
how you keep the motivation up. I suppose my
motivation has always come from the next challenge
and there’s that bit of me now that’s saying….well,
don’t know if I need that next challenge now, but then
if I don’t look for the next challenge what is
                Case analysis: Joe
•   Joe shows that, inside the cave, there is a focus on faultfinding,
    blame and failure or fear of failure:

    I think in the culture we have now that there’s a… there’s a real
    danger that people will just… you know… people will just find fault
    and… and, therefore, you will become more scared if you’re not
    careful, erm… as a manager and you start to… well, it goes back to
    performance indicators. You know, we’re terrified about declaring
    this result for this thing and, therefore, we… you know, we do our
    damndest to make sure we can count everything we possibly can
    towards it and then you start to be… it’s a sort of fine line between
    that and then starting to… well, I don’t mean falsified, but you know
    what I mean, you start to, sort of, be economical with the truth about
    something, because you’re scared… And you start to get diverted
    from, if you’re not careful, what really matters and also, you create a
    culture… well, not… sort of… fear in a way or… or real fear of
    failure, perhaps, rather than celebration of success.
    Managers have contradictory
     demands placed on them:

• you must, regardless of your biological
  sex, be masculine;
• you must be a macho, heroic manager;
• you should be a heroic leader;
• you must be a post-heroic leader.
A prevailing sense of the need to be the
  perfect manager/ leader.
       Discursive conclusions
• Contemporary accounts of leadership exert
  additional pressures on managers
• This pressure creates dissonance where
  managers struggle with the need to adopt three
  highly conflicting identities – the macho
  manager, the macho hero and the feminine
• The clash of gendered cultures creates anxiety.
  Managers are now charged with the task of
  being both masculine and feminine and the
  incompatibility of this charge causes
  ambiguity and uncertainty
         Further thoughts
• Need to be aware of ways in which language
  constructs that of which it speaks
• As managers strive for security in their sense of
  selves, anxiety is buried in the psyche
• Transcendental being of a manager has to be
  challenged. No-one can be that perfect!
• Need to challenge the unachievable norms of
  leadership offering in place of the superhero, a model
  of a flawed individual in interactions with others
• This extends into other non-work aspects of
  managers’ lives too: the pressure to be the perfect
  manager/leader/partner/parent etc..
A new conceptual model
                      Personal leadership

     There is no prescribed model for
     leadership nor any single approach that
     will guarantee success. Rather we must
     focus on the through-life development of
     personal styles based on self-awareness
     and a sound understanding of others
Source: RAF Doctrinal Framework for Leadership
 Why has Talent Management
   become so important?
• Shift from industrial to information age.
• Intensifying global demand for high-calibre
  talent, esp. managerial/ professional
• Growing propensity to switch companies,
• Work-Life balance expectations
• Changes to the workforce profile: More highly
  educated staff; greater aspirations; ageing
• Marketing Theory: segmentation & branding
(Michaels et al 2001 : The War for talent)
                       The War for Talent
       ( based on Martin & Hetrick, 2006; Economist, Oct 7th, 2006)

 Importance of Talent in       Role of Population
   knowledge-based           changes , international
economies/organizations     labour markets and HR
                                 supply chains

             Talent drives reputations
                and is attracted by

  Employee loyalty and
trust fading (CIPD, 2006)       The rise of diverse
                             careers, work-life balance
                           What is talent?
    ‘A code for the most effective leaders and
    managers at all levels who can help a
    company fulfil its aspirations and drive its
    performance, managerial talent is some
    combination of a sharp strategic mind,
    leadership ability, emotional maturity,
    communication skills, the ability to attract
    and inspire other talented people,
    entrepreneurial instincts, functional skills,
    and the ability to deliver results.’
Source: (Michaels, et al, 2001, p. Xiii)
 What is Talent Management?
• The integrated set of processes, programmes
  and technologies designed to develop, deploy
  and connect key talent and critical skill sets to
  drive business priorities (Sistonen 2005)
• The identification, development, engagement,
  retention and deployment of those employees
  who are particularly valuable to an organization,
  either because they are ‘high-potential’ or
  because they are fulfilling business-critical roles
  (CIPD 2007)
Talent Pools (CIPD 2007)
            TM Processes
Iles 2007
• Attracting talent: Branding, Matching
• Retaining Talent: engagement,
   psychological contract
• Developing Talent: eg leadership
• Transitioning Talent : promotion,
   succession, lateral movement, letting go
        Talent: Inclusive or
Duttagupta (2005)
• Microsoft UK focuses attention on its A list,
  top 10 per cent of performers, regardless
  of role and level.
• Six Continents targets executives below
  board level and high potential individuals,
  as the two cadres likely to provide their
  leaders of tomorrow.
             Talent Definitions
  Definitions of talent should be tailored to
  individual organisations (Towers Perrin, 2004b)
• Each company encouraged to ‘understand the
  specific talent profile that is right for it’ (Michaels,
  et al, 2001, p. xii).
• In-depth and concise assessment of key
  elements of organisation culture and job
  structure, followed by matching with candidates
  who have specific backgrounds, work
  experiences, and personal qualities crucial in
  talent identification.
              What is Talent? 1
•   Williams (2000: 35) describes talent as those people
   who do one or the other of the following:
  ‘Regularly demonstrate exceptional ability and
   achievement either over a range of activities and
   situations, or within a specialised and narrow field of
   expertise; consistently indicate high competence in
   areas of activity that strongly suggest transferable,
   comparable ability in situations where they have yet to
   be tested and proved to be highly effective, i.e. potential’.
• Fishman (1998: 104) identifies talent as
   ‘The most important corporate resource over the next 20
   years, and they are smart, sophisticated business people
   who are technologically literate, globally astute, and
   operationally agile’.
            What is Talent ? 2
• CIPD (2007) ‘Talent consists of those individuals who
  can make a difference to organisational performance,
  either through their immediate contribution or in the
  longer term by demonstrating the highest levels of
  potential’ (p. xi).

• Berger (2004: 5) : ‘superkeepers’, based on
  classification of employees according to their actual
  and/or potential for adding value to the organisation:

  ‘Superkeepers are a very small group of individuals,
  who have demonstrated superior accomplishments,
  have inspired others to attain superior accomplishments,
  and who embody the core competencies and values of
  the organisation; their loss or absence severely retards
  organisation growth because of their disproportionately
  powerful impact on current and future organisation
      Perspectives on Talent
(1) Exclusive perspective : viewing key
  people with high performance and
  potential as ‘talents’ (people-related
(2) Exclusive perspective: viewing right
  people in key positions as talents
  (position-related understanding);
(3) Inclusive perspective: viewing everyone
  as ‘talent’
       Inclusive Perspective 1
• Bones (cited in Warren, 2006: 25): ‘an inclusive
  talent management strategy is a competitive
• Buckingham and Vosburgh (2001: 17-18):
 ‘The talent is inherent in each person…HR’ s
  most basic challenge is to help one particular
  person increase his or her performance; to be
  successful in the future we must restore our
  focus on the unique talents of each individual
  employee, and on the right way to transform
  these talents into lasting performance ’.
        Inclusive Perspective 2
• Stainton (2005): fundamental debate regarding whether
  TM should take inclusive or exclusive perspective.
• TM may adopt a broader approach by recognizing
  everyone as having capability and potential to display
  talent; therefore, everyone can achieve opportunities to
  be considered and developed, and everybody basically
  can go through the same talent identification process.
• Opportunities are essential, because talent requires an
  opportunity to be displayed.
• Employees may have abilities, but they may not be
  given the opportunity to display them in the workplace.
• It is critical to provide continuous opportunities for
  everyone to learn, to grow, and to strive to fulfil one’s
  potential (Walker, 2002).
The Nine Box Model (Regan 2008)

                              Talented &

                                              Valued          Serious
                           Troublesome or
                                            Contributors     High Flyers

                                             Serious        Future High
                           Talented But!    Possibilities    Potentials

                            In the wrong      Bread &        Seasoned
                                 Job?          Butter       Professionals

                            Not yet full        Full        Exceptional
                           Performance      Performance     Performance
Potential Development Options
                             Talented &        Valued            Serious
                          Troublesome or

                                             Contributors       High Flyers
                           Monitoring &    External coaching   Move into next
                            coaching         or mentoring          role

                                              Serious          Future High

                          Talented But!
                                             Possibilities      Potentials

                            Short term        Training &        Secondment
                            objectives       Development       to gain breadth

                                               Bread &          Seasoned

                           In the wrong                        Professionals
                                Job?            Butter
                                                               Agree retention
                            Exit – Role/                        tactics, use to
                                            Provide stretch
                              Arena                                  coach

                           Not yet full         Full           Exceptional
                          Performance       Performance        Performance
          Investment Banking
• Star hire: often performance plunges, team’s
  performance declines, market value falls
• Performance not just attributable to individuals,
  but groups & context
• External social networks & company resources,
  systems & processes important, inc. leadership,
  internal networks, training, team membership,
  routines, skill-sets
(Groysberg et al 2004)
• Talent matters, but TM matters more?
• Talent requires opportunity & direction
• Organisation & management important:
  teams vs groups
• Leadership, structure, culture important
• Human capital & Social Capital
Development (Iles & Preece 2006, 9)
• Links with diversity/Equality of
    Focus solely on Individual Talent/Human
•    Neglect major repairs to organization as
    a whole
•   Arrogance and elitism
•   Talent not fixed over time
•   Focus on hiring outsiders at expense of
    developing insiders
•   Talented people recruit in own image,
    restricting what counts as talent
•   Focus on individual leadership, hero
    worship and executive pay – creates
    narcissism, over-reliance on financial
    incentives and ruthlessness
  Some important challenges for
 leadership, coaching and talent
Increasingly, managers need to ask themselves the following
• What is meant by leadership and talent and what types of leaders
   are required in our business today?
• How do I personally stand up to the challenges of contemporary
   leadership and how can I develop myself as a leader to meet that
• How self-aware am I and how can I gain a greater insight into the
   way I function as a leader and am seen by my followers?
• How can I lead in a manner which gains respect, commitment and
   the best from my employees?
• How can I change my behaviour in order to improve my leadership
   potential and the potential of those who work for me?
• What is the impact of my mindset and my values on the way that I
• How can I find out?

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