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Purposeful Talent Development Is Aligned to Strategy Execution

Flat design illustration concepts for talent development planning and strategy
Jennifer Stangl Photo
Director of Professional Development
CUES

3 minutes

4 steps to making them dovetail

So you have an organizational strategy. Great! Now you have to execute. Are you prepared to do this?

Is your talent aligned to drive forward and execute effectively? According to the 2018 DDI Global Leadership Forecast, 50 percent of HR Professionals do not feel they have a well-integrated and strategically aligned leadership development program or process. What does this tell us? There is work to be done.

What can you do now to align your talent development to your organizational strategy? Consider the following:

1.    Identify critical talent needs. Meeting organizational strategic goals relies on having the right people in the right roles. Critical talent needs are those roles and skills that are vital to your long-term success. Those roles and skills can be senior leaders or functions, that if open, severely impact the organization’s ability to move forward. Identification of critical roles cannot be done in a vacuum. There needs to be clear alignment within the organizational strategies to have the greatest impact.

Ask yourself:

  • What positions are critical to our mission and strategic goals?
  • Do any positions need to be adapted to better align to the organizational strategy?
  • What goals would these roles directly impact?

2.    Establish organizational competencies. Organizational competencies create a common language about performance and a consistency of expectation within the organization. Competencies aligned to the organization’s needs help create a clear framework for development. This allows for objective evaluation of performance to identify and close skill gaps, which in turn makes the most of available talent and produces the greatest impact on execution.

Ask yourself:

  • What skills and behaviors need to be present for us to succeed as an organization?
  • What competencies are needed for an individual to succeed in a critical role?
  • Are the competencies representative of each leadership level?

3.    Balance the here and now with the future. Organizational success relies on balancing the needs of today with the needs of the future. Focusing too much either on today or on tomorrow can stall progress and be a cause of disengagement. Use a future-focused approach to broaden skills and provide opportunities to expand knowledge based on a solid understanding of the workforce’s currently recognized capabilities.

Ask yourself:

  • Do we have the staff in place now that we’ll need to help us meet our future goals?
  • What behaviors will be vital for staff, at all levels, to exhibit in the future?
  • What knowledge and skills do staff currently have to exhibit these future behaviors?
  • What gaps in knowledge and skill do we have now and what gaps might we encounter in the future?  

4.    Create strategic alignment. Strategic alignment is the connection between organizational needs and individual performance. Aside from the benefit of executing on the organizational strategy, a 2014 Korn Ferry report found that strategic alignment helps boost employee morale, enhance innovation and increase productivity. Clearly communicate the strategic objectives with the entire organization so individuals can best leverage their skills to the greatest impact. Demonstrate the relationships between talent development and organizational performance to motivate staff and broaden business knowledge at a strategic level.

Ask yourself:

  • What have we communicated to all staff regarding our strategy and goals?  
  • How do an individual’s goals align with our current strategy?
  • Can we create formal or informal mentor opportunities?

Don’t let your strategic plan fail because you put it on a shelf or didn’t integrate it into your workforce. Take steps to align your talent and strategy to have the right people, in the right roles, focusing on the right goals.

Jennifer Stangl is CUES’ director of professional development.

Also read “Purposeful Talent Development: The Machete or the Map?” by Jennifer Stangl.

You may also be interested in listening to “CUES Podcast Episode 8: Effective Strategy Execution with Michael Daigneault.” Daigneault, CCD, is founder and president of Quantum Governance, CUES’ strategic provider of governance consulting.

Cornerstone Advisors is CUES’ provider of strategic planning services.

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