Talent: The Market Cap Multiplier
By Anish Batlaw and Ram Charan
Ideapress Publishing, 168 pp., $34.95
Just as the Chinese general Sun Tzu would never have gone to war without a strategy, employers can't win the war for talent without a strategy. Via case studies, Batlaw and Charan share key insights about companies gaining a competitive advantage and scaling up. The value is in the organizations' unique approaches. The bottom line: Identifying and developing talent is essential to value creation.
The real-life examples reinforce that "talent is a central engine of value creation." There are no one-size-fits-all solutions; yet, there are guidelines organizations can use to scale up by addressing the need for a talent playbook. Every example emphasizes the "role that human capital plays in delivering value. If you get that right, everything else follows," the authors write.
Part of the talent playbook must involve development of oneself and the leadership team. That trickles down to creating the bench strength needed to fuel future growth. The authors make a case for planning where your organization is going, not where it is. Employers that hire ahead of the curve are ready when they get there.
Batlaw and Charan consider the chief HR officer a key player in a company's ability to scale up. However, that requires re-envisioning the role to involve "making contributions to business performance that are visible and measurable," they write. The CHRO also can be instrumental in helping organizational members think horizontally—beyond their silos.
The authors explore the need to identify and develop talent, beginning with a definition of a company's ideal leader. Engaging in talent discussions regularly will keep talent front and center with an ability to build a pipeline to tap. The takeaway is to recognize that talent decisions are high impact, and that impact touches everything in the organization.
Readers can take away some important cautions from this book as well. Perhaps most important is a reminder that mediocre talent is a threat to a company.
Creating a talent playbook is not a once-and-done project; periodically revise it as the organization and business landscape change. And one of the most difficult cautions to embrace is acknowledging that just because a company is doing well now doesn't mean you shouldn't recruit new leadership. Different phases of a company's life require different leaders. Scaling up may not be possible with the current leadership team.