Questions Every Leader Should be Asking About Talent

Successful organizations have a leadership development strategy. Leaders must be able to answer several foundational, defining questions about their organization’s talent development. At Triaxia, we find that the discipline of asking these questions is an important starting point for developing a more effective strategy for leadership development. Leaders need to look for answers to the following questions:

Leadership Bench Strength

  • Do we have the number of competent leaders needed to achieve our three-year goals at exceptional levels of performance?
  • Compensation issues aside, are we able to attract and recruit high potential talent relative to similar organizations?
  • Have we demonstrated the ability to develop leaders quickly and effectively within our organization?
  • Do the majority of our key executives have a capable person able to step into their position on short notice?
  • Do we develop the majority of our best leaders or do we tend to hire them from the outside?
  • Are high performers promoted quickly in our organization?
  • Am I confident that at least one person currently in our leadership pipeline will be capable of successfully replacing me within one to two years?
  • If asked, would the majority of our staff say our organization effectively and quickly develops people? How do we know this? How do we measure this?

Leadership Assessment

  • Are we accurately assessing our leadership needs-developing the right quantity of leaders with the right mix of capabilities, at the right time, against the needed opportunities?
  • What, if any, leadership\strategy gap exists? How will we address leadership capacity systematically before launching into strategic initiatives, so that top executives are not scrambling to fill the gaps at the last minute?
  • How do we know if we have “average” or even unqualified leaders/managers holding leadership positions?
  • Are the majority of our executives primarily “leaders” or “managers”? Do we know the difference between managerial excellence and excellence in leadership?
  • Do most of our executives have the skill and motivation to develop and release the leadership potential in their subordinates?

Leadership Philosophy and Culture

  • Is there an intentional, well-designed process for identfying and developing high potential leaders in our organization?
    Do we have well-defined leadership success factors that describe the attributes of a successful leader in our organization?
    Do these success factors drive hiring, promotion, and development decisions?
    Are we clear regarding which positions/assignments in our organization are most developmental?
    Are our managers adequately trained in the principles and processes of developing others?
    Are our managers held accountable in their own performance appraisal for the development of their direct reports?
    Are our executives “ranked” (i.e. differentiated) as to their leadership effectiveness?
    Is our leadership capable of staying ahead of the competition through rapid cycles of innovation, speed and execution?
    Credible, large-scale benchmarking data assures me that we are on track with cutting edge leadership practices, and have the “right people on the bus”?
    How is individual performance evaluated, rewarded within the organization? How is team performance evaluated, rewarded?
    What are the core arguments, “value proposition” we put forth to potential recruits, and why would he/she be compelled to choose our organization? How can we build a stronger “talent brand” to attract the best people?
    Who owns the talent around here? Who should own it?
    Do we create and effectively use quantitative talent analytics to inform our people practices?