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Janine Milne

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News: failure to attract and develop talent is undermining business strategy


Executives’ priority to define business strategy is being seriously undermined by their failure to invest in attracting and developing the talent needed to deliver those plans.

This is one of the main findings in a Harvard Business Publishing survey, which calls on organisations to urgently rethink their leadership development models.

Over a third of the business executives surveyed said that they would not make “attracting and developing” talent an increased priority this year, yet one in five doubted they had the in-house talent and skills to achieve strategic goals.

"We are concerned when we see that many executives around the world don’t have confidence in their organisation’s skills to achieve strategic goals and that most of them are not planning to address it. Doing business today is fundamentally different from just a year ago and you have to have the right talent within the organisation to meet your goals,” said Ray Carvey, executive vp of corporate learning and international at Harvard Business Publishing.

Despite this failure to see the link between talent and business delivery, the survey pinpointed one employee group whose development was considered a priority. Mid-level managers have historically been under-invested in leadership development, yet 37 percent of respondents saw them as the most important for group for leadership investment to achieve company goals.

The need for change to leadership development is being accelerated by cultural and socio-economic shifts, noted Harvard. Business is becoming more global, time-pressured, fast-moving and technology dependent. Technology is also playing a greater role in leadership development as collaborative software enables vast numbers of geographically dispersed people to be trained.


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