A New Lens: Re-examining development strategies for greater talent optimization

Re-examining development strategies for greater talent optimization



In quick, complex, competitive business environments, more people must be moved into bigger jobs and given greater challenges earlier in their careers. Because of insufficient development, however, there are too few “go-to” employees to shift into leadership or to hand formidable projects. Why? Many organizations have two underlying issues:

Underestimating the value contributed by the “vital many.” Many organizations fail to find the optimal balance of investment between high-potential leaders and the vital masses whose contributions are also essential to the success of the company. Although developing future managers and executives is crucial, an overemphasis on that segment of the workforce means too many individuals plateau at levels of contribution far below what they could deliver. 

Using a one-size-fits-all approach. Many companies make the mistake of thinking that a single method of talent developmentwill work for everyone, even as the workforce becomes more diverse and global. Additionally, when that one-size-fits-all development system falls short, the liability is assumed to be the employee’s. Instead, organizations should evaluate how to alter or improve the talent development system so that it meets individual needs.

Truly optimizing talent requires a new, wide-angle lens—one that assumes that each individual is capable of contributing more. In key respects, this new view is the organization-wide expansion of best practices from diversity and inclusion programs that succeeded in bringing underrepresented groups into the corporate fold. Those practices are more broadly needed as companies globalize, workforces become more diverse, and development must be accelerated for everyone.

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