Talent Management and Cultural Intelligence


An interesting article that I came across last week was in the Harvard Business Review Blog – Talent Management: Boards Give Their Companies an “F”, by Boris Groysberg and Deborah Bell.
The article discusses the findings of a recent global survey that was conducted with over 1,000 board members from a variety of industries to see what is top of mind for them. The outcome was that talent management is the biggest concern and is perceived as the greatest challenge for these board members.  These members recognized that for the longevity and survival of their companies’ talent was at the forefront.
It takes a courageous leader to invest in human capital in these troubled times and it commands a long-term view and investment that can appear at best risky. When times get tough it seems as though diversity and people initiatives fall off the agenda, I wonder if the current talent concerns are a consequence of just that.
This article threw up some thoughts for me surrounding the cultural aspects of talent management:
My concern is that organizations and their boards recognize that talent management tends to be culture specific. By this I mean, what is considered as positive talent development in one region may not be seen through the same lenses in another, for example rewarding individuals as opposed to rewarding the team. Further, how talent is developed and nurtured requires different approaches across cultures. Talent management requires leaders/managers who have the mindfulness, know how and skill set to develop individuals successfully across cultures.  Cultural intelligence is an integral part of this.
When leaders are not ‘on the ground’ and their teams are located in different parts of the globe, how do they ensure that potential talent is being flagged?
Are talent management strategies culturally inclusive?  For example, identifying potential talent in the U.S or the U.K. will require a different set of lenses as opposed to identifying talent in the Asian region where speaking up and challenging may not be their strong suit.
­­­On a positive note, it is encouraging that board members are recognizing the importance of managing talent and acknowledging that their organisations are not optimising their human capital and that they need to make changes to their current practices.
If you would like to read Talent Management: Boards Give Their Companies an ‘F” go to: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/05/talent_management_boards_give.html