An agenda for the talent-first CEO  

30 March 2018:

In our combined 90 years of advising CEOs and their boards, the three of us have never come across a moment like this, when virtually every CEO we work with is asking the same daunting set of questions: Are my company’s talent practices still relevant? How can we recruit, deploy, and develop people to deliver greater value to customers—and do so better than the competition? How can I be sure that I have the right approach to talent—and the right HR—to drive the changes we need to make?

We sought to answer these questions in our new book, Talent Wins, which explores what it takes to build and lead a talent-driven organization. The list of critical priorities, which includes everything from continual, agile reorganization to the reinvention of HR and the creation of an external M&A strategy, is long—and it creates a complex set of challenges for the CEO. The experiences of CEOs at talent-driven companies such as Amgen, Aon, Apple, BlackRock, Blackstone, Facebook, Google, Haier, Shiseido, Tata Communications, and Telenor suggest that meeting those challenges requires a distinct set of mind-sets. As we show in the book, leaders at talent-driven companies are as focused on talent as they are on strategy and finance. They make talent considerations an integral part of every major strategic decision. They ensure that their own focus on talent is woven into the fabric of the entire company. And they are comfortable leading flattened organizations often centered around the work of small, empowered teams built to unleash the talent that will drive outsize value.

How do you become such a leader, and lead such a company? This article focuses on four key priorities for the CEO. The first two are moves the CEO must make to secure alignment at the top of the organization. Misalignment at the top is trouble for any company, but it is disastrous for talent-driven ones, where HR and finance must work in tandem and the CEO must oversee a complex, fluid structure. With that foundation in place, CEOs can turn their attention to the two most critical aspects of leading a people-first company: finding, recruiting, developing, and deploying key talent; and ensuring that talent is truly integral to every major strategic decision across the organization.

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Source: McKinsey

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