Talent Optimization – Can You Deliver with what You’ve Got

Retained Executive Search can be like an iceberg in some ways. What you see on the surface is only a percentage of the benefits that can be lying beneath the surface. A topical example is Talent Optimization.

Earlier this year, a Predictive Index survey revealed that 52% of CEOs did not achieve their strategic goals in 2018. Digging a little deeper, PI confirmed that nearly all senior leaders developed a business strategy identifying the operational and financial metrics for success. No surprise. And sitting between the strategy goals and results are people. No surprise there either.

But failing to relate the two, which in hindsight should not be a surprise, is the biggest single reason for that 52% failure rate.

Talent Optimization is a hot issue today. It’s not rocket science. If your people are not suited to deliver your strategy, you are treading water. Over the past decade, it’s been drummed in to us that people are the core asset that makes or breaks a business plan.

But how many leaders actually dig and actually understand if the talent to execute is there when they draw up the plan? And how many are guided by this awareness when it’s time to replace an executive.

PI is in the talent optimization business and they have identified what they call four essential truths.

  • Diagnose: measure and analyze your people data and identify remedies
  • Design: create and evolve a people strategy
  • Hire: find and engage high-performing people based on the above
  • Inspire: use the data to drive important people-oriented activities and goals

There are tools to help you to succeed on each point. The tool for the third point is called Retained Executive Search.

There are three accepted methodologies for acquiring the talent you need: retained search, contingent search and DIY. If you are not on a Fortune 100 list, forget the last.  The difference between retained search and contingent are explained in detail here but let’s cut to the salient points.

The contingent search firm is paid when you hire the person it finds and it competes with its peers to be the one to come up with the winner. The result is the spaghetti-on-the-wall school of recruiting — an avalanche of seemingly suitable resumes on your desk which you are left to digest.  This can be a lower cost option for standardized, mostly operational positions.

The retained search firm is contracted exclusively to find the best person for the position, usually at a leadership level. With more complexity in the role, the research of both you and candidates is many times more extensive and time consuming and selection more demanding.

Characteristics sought extend well beyond skill and experiences and include culture, compatibility and learning agility among many other aptitudes required of today’s leaders.

In fact, executive search it is the only process capable of matching incoming talent to the precise needs defined by the unique people strategy you have aligned with your business goals.

That’s Talent Optimization.

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