Strategic talent management

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Interesting to see a McKinsey survey confirming that the HR function is not regarded by management as having much to offer to strategy, which is more than a pity – it’s disastrous! Of all the strategy project I’ve worked on, by far the commonest source of underperformance is

lack of the required number and skill of people – not customers, not products, not the challenges of competitors.

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts some examples of the problems that come up in HR, but these are just a handful of the issues that come up.  I don’t think we can blame the HR community, though, if the strategy professionals have never helped them develop professional tools for the job. HR has an unfortunate habit of attracting folk who think people issues are all ‘soft’ issues of motivation, leadership, relationships, ‘EQ’ and so on – all doubtless very important, but there are some critical quantitative issues that you just can’t deal with via chit-chat and arm-waving.

There are plenty of examples in the textbook but McKinsey themselves already published an article on the key solution – unfortunately as i write their website is down, but if you go to and search for Doman et al, 2000, ‘The Talent Growth Dynamic’ you’ll find it.

think I might have to put on a webinar on this.


  1. Bruce Lewin  September 1, 2008

    Dear Kim,

    This was a really useful piece and I’ve linked to it in a follow up I wrote called “Dismal, Disastrous, Ouch!” I tried to do a pingback, but I’m not sure if it worked, so I thought I’d say hello the old fashioned way!

    btw, the piece I wrote is at

    Best wishes…


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