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Customer Review

16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Observing Talent, Making Judgments About It...And Figuring Out How to Unleash It!, November 14, 2010
This review is from: The Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers (Hardcover)
Business has gotten a whole lot tougher in the past decade with globalization, regulation, geopolitics, and, most recently, the failure of the global financial system. Sustainability and survival of an organization depend more than ever on the recruitment, development, and retention of its human capital.

In my work, medical device start-ups, it has been well understood for years that there are three keys to success - management, management, and management. Leadership talent has been and will continue to be the differentiator in maximizing the commercial success of an unproven technology and the creation of value.

In "Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers," authors Ram Charan and Bill Connaty show how a few large and mostly mature companies - some with experience over many years and some newcomers - have "embedded in their culture the habits of observing talent, making judgments about it, and figuring out how to UNLEASH IT." Companies highlighted include General Electric, Proctor & Gamble, Hindustin, Goodyear, UniCredit, the Texas Pacific Group. They fully appreciate that talent is required for value creation and good numbers.

These companies "analyze talent, understand it, shape it, and build in through a combination of disciplined routines and processes, and something even rarer and harder to observe from outside: a collective expertise, honed with continuous improvement in recognizing and developing talent. These companies have disproved the myth that the judgment of human potential is a "soft" art."

Charan and Conaty have organized the book into three sections:

* First, an insider's look into GE's much admired talent management system and why it works. The authors each have 40+ years of experience with GE - Charan as an outside consultant, and Conaty as an executive insider.
* Second, a look into a wide range of approaches by Talent Masters from a number of other companies.
* The third and last section show the application of talent master by companies who have entered the "talent growth" game recently.

A weakness I have observed here in Silicon Valley with many medtech executives is a reluctance to "stretch" talent. This goes against my training at American Hospital Supply Corporation (now Baxter) where "talent" was stretched over and over again. (I served as a Director of International with 11 operations at the age of 28, and as a Division President at age 32). AHSC, a pioneering talent master, left a legacy by producing many of the health care executives that led the industry over the past thirty years.

Charan and Conaty note that Talent Masters place "stretch" bets for three good reasons.
1. People facing stretch situations are not likely to be overconfident and are eager to learn more from others.
2. Stretching people helps to retain talented people who are itching to advance and may look to greener pastures if they do not get a chance.
3. Successful stretches attract better candidates in the future because ambitious and capable people will know that they won't have to wait for slots to open.

"Talent Masters" turns managerial succession upside down - "Rather than finding people to fill positions, this approach puts the emphasis on opening paths for leaders to grow their talents and become ever more capable."

"Talent Masters" is a good "how to" book for those company executives who are seriously focused on increasing the bandwidth of their "talent pool," want to retain the high potentials they have, and want to recruit top talent in an ever competitive environment.
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Review Details



Thomas M. Loarie

Location: Danville, CA USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,639