Did you realise only 14% of Succession Planning and Talent Management Programmes are considered a success?

That was the conclusion from a 2009 survey by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).  Frankly, experience tells me things haven't improved over the last few years. 

Whatever the figure, there's plenty of opportunity for improvement.  Talent Management in organisations is critical if you're going to retain and develop the leaders that are going to take your organisation into the future. 

Here's the number one reason it doesn't work and what you can do about it.

Talent management and succession planning are about having leaders in place who can deliver the future vision and goals of the organisation.

So organisations take a top-down approach to managing talent.  They ask three questions about each individual – (1) Are they ready to take on the responsibilities involved in their new role? (2) Are they willing to do what is needed to be successful in the role? (3) Are they able to behave in the way that is needed to carry out their new responsibilities?

But what organisations sometimes don't realise is that their high-potential employees are taking a bottom-up approach to managing their careers.  For them, job satisfaction and performance are also influenced by three things:

1. Ability – do they have the skills, experience and behaviours that they need to perform in their new role?  Do they have the confidence to take on new responsibilities?

2. Motivation – are they committed to the organisation and the function?  Do they want or desire the attributes that might change with a new role e.g. prestige and recognition; advancement and influence; work-life balance; overall job enjoyment etc?

3. Opportunity – is the organisation giving them the opportunity and resources to carry out the role and responsibilities to the level wanted?

So organisations think top down when managing talent.  Employees think bottom up when managing their careers.  Ultimately, you need to bring the two together. 

The top reason talent management doesn't work is because organisations don't spend enough time focussing on the join.  You need a joined up approach to succession and talent management that creates a fit between the ambitions of an organisation and its leaders. 

It's not enough just to think about what the organisation needs.  If you don't dovetail that with what your employees need, your best people will manage their careers out of your organisation instead of within it.

I'd love to hear what your biggest issues are with talent management.  I realise you may wish to keep it anonymous so I've put together a survey.  It is REALLY simple!  It is 3 questions and will take you no more than 5 minutes to complete.  Please click here to take survey and then I can tailor future blog posts to address your biggest concerns and questions.