People First is delighted to share work that is relevant to our initiatives. Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker and management strategy advisor. His work has influenced the careers of many of us at People First and we are excited he granted us permission to share this particular article.
In this second article that Geoff has agreed to share through People First, it was “The ‘T’ for Talent” model caught our eye. While we in People First are not fans of the word “talent”, we recognize that corporations need to find the best and brightest people to spur them onto success. Geoff highlights the need as succinctly as ever.
This article on leadership and management was published on LinkedIn, August 10, 2017.
As technological innovation continues to disrupt industry after industry in waves of what Joseph Schumpeter taught us to call “creative destruction,” executive decision-making is being driven down in the organizational hierarchy, closer to the customer, nearer to the action. This in turn is putting pressure on the HR function to deliver programs to develop executive talent faster and better than ever before. They are going to need help.
All development programs are intended to change state, so as good program designers, it behooves us to answer two questions at the outset:
What is the current state a candidate needs to have achieved to qualify for entrance into the program?
What is the future state a candidate needs to achieve in order to graduate?
Here is a template for getting started:
The seminal idea behind these two sets is a “T for talent” model that values executives both for expertise in a specific function (the vertical bar of the T) and the ability to collaborate effectively across functions (the horizontal bar of the T). Much of the management literature I am exposed to undervalues the former and overvalues the latter. The truth is you need both, and in my experience, they are best developed sequentially.
The good news here is that every profession has excellent resources to help candidates achieve what we have labeled current state. These skills are specific to each discipline, and there is no substitute for mastering one such set. If you never become expert at anything, you can never really grasp the power of expertise nor understand its limits, so when you go to lead, you end up being naïve about both. That said, I think our current systems are clear and powerful when it comes to addressing this challenge. It is with the next one where they start to wobble a bit.
The first thing to say about what we have labeled future state is that it represents an and, not an or. We are creating a T, and that requires both a vertical and a horizontal stroke. Too many so-called leadership curricula dismiss management as pedestrian in their efforts to position leadership as equestrian. Or worse, they oppose leader to manager, making the former a hero, the latter a villain. This is not just a mistake, it is an invitation to a catastrophe. Under most circumstances, organizations are far better off with strong management and