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What should I know about 'talent management?'

The CEOs who are now, suddenly, paying attention to talent management are only doing what most very successful CEOs have always done. "Talent Management" is just today's buzzword for making sure we find the best people we can, training them well, offering them development opportunities to build skills, judgment and visibility, and promoting the best ones.

This is nothing new. Alfred Sloan took over General Motors in the twenties and saw it as his most important job. General George Marshall carried around his list of the most promising young Army officers and took care to assign them to billets that would give them the opportunity to shine and Marshall the opportunity to judge their development and potential.

Great CEO factories like GE, Pepsico, and Proctor and Gamble have always made what we now call "talent management" a core of what they do. CEOs of those companies devote a fifth to a third of their time to the effort.

Talent management is one key way that you build long term competitive advantage and profitability. If you, as CEO, believe that people are indeed the most important asset of your business, then talent management becomes one of your core strategic functions.


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