June 10th, 2014, Odiham, Hants. Verax International’s seminar in London last month, entitled “Aligning Talent with Business Strategy”, discussed issues arising from major skills gaps in organisations and how to close those gaps most effectively.
Some of the major talent gaps identified during open discussion were
• Relationship and people skills
• Performance management
Keith Bedingham, Chairman, Verax International, comments, “As a result of the discussion, I believe we can define talent as ‘the ability to deliver the results the business needs.’”
The seminar agreed that the way people behave in organisations determines how successfully an organisation can implement and achieve its strategy. However, obstacles to progress included organisational culture, typically defined as “the way things are done around here”.
Delegates were reminded that “Culture can eat strategy for breakfast” (Peter Drucker), and that “there needs to be an appropriate culture directly in tune with the business strategy. This in turn means that staff need to know how they can behave appropriately in order to deliver, which includes what is expected of them,” says Bedingham.
“Verax research shows what kind of behaviour directly impacts the various aspects of business performance and the precise nature of the relationship between what people do and the results that the organisation achieves.”
Martin Bushell, Head of Tata Consulting Service’s Business School, demonstrated that focusing development on business needs pays off and results in increasing business. One route was using Verax’s Personal Effectiveness Profile [PEP] and developing appropriate adaptability in team members; that way, he had been able to change the effectiveness of team members, and the “team climate”, to the extent that “it impressed TCS clients, increased business through winning additional contracts and gained requests from clients to do the same for them.”
Kris Wadia, formerly with Accenture and now head of Humanized Leadership, highlighted the challenges of working in a “virtual world” and how lack of human contact – not being able to experience the behaviour of others – “can seriously damage trust between individuals and hence business performance.”
He proposed some novel development ideas that would help overcome the potential barriers created by operating in a “virtual world”. And both he and Martin Bushell reinforced the value of “developing people in an environment that closely mimics the real environment in which they will work.”
The seminar discussed ways of demonstrating the value of talent development to the business and ways of calculating a financial ROI on any development, change, or coaching intervention. An example was how an organisation’s strategic priorities affect the value of the development outcomes, including which are the most important in terms of achieving the strategic objectives.
“We saw that organisations often create barriers to achieving a greater ROI, transfer of learning, and personal productivity, through the way that procedures, processes and structures are designed and implemented,” says Bedingham.
“In summary, appropriate adaptability needs to be recruited and developed if we are to see employees demonstrating the talent that an organisation needs in order to achieve its goals.”
Included in Adaptability are:
• Self-confidence – Self belief that you can handle what is thrown at you
• Fearlessness – Coolness under pressure
• Mental toughness – Empathy, Trust, Respect
What organisations don’t want is:
• Unthinking ruthlessness
… “because they are likely to lead to mistakes,” says Bedingham.
“Learn from the past, live in the moment, don’t get anxious about the future,” he adds.