Top challenge for any Business Leader? Getting the right Talent is definitely right up there. Most leaders I meet always tell me that it is a very critical challenge, and one area where they feel they are not in control.

And who is this elusive Talent? Why is it so difficult to find them?

Well when the world has divided opinions regarding the genius of Sachin Tendulkar or A R Rehman or any other sportsperson or artist, how can we expect the corporate world to have a standardised view of Talent! The performing artists have their contribution in public domain. Yet, some of us like them, some of us are just not impressed.

We experience this paradox with far greater intensity in the corporate world.

Ask any Talent Management Professional, and each one will share a complicated set of competencies, personality traits & personal characteristics. Some will talk of agility, others will perhaps talk of proficiency levels on competencies. Some talk of values alignment, others talk of Location Flexibility. In the same organization, there is huge divergence in views.

I experience an unconscious bias in organizations. For some reason, only if you can take over a Sales & Marketing role, you are identified as having “General Management” capability. There are folks with super Technical Expertise & are really Subject Matter Experts. The Subject Matter Experts who actually run the company – Manufacturing, Quality, Finance, SCM, HR, IT and other specialists are all identified as Technical Experts, not General Management Professionals. They are neglected quite often. These guys are not “influencers” or Key Opinion Makers. They are often not savvy in branding themselves.

I sense that Line Managers find the complete system of identifying and nurturing talent too complex, cumbersome and quite disruptive to run the business. The 9 box grid is what everyone goes by. But, in reality, are decisions taken solely based upon the 9 box grid? In my experience, that is not the case. It’s not that companies, suddenly identify hidden talent through this process. I find HRs and business heads actually using this as a rationale for Investing in people development or for Rewards decisions.

Line managers find managing this identified talent, quite challenging. Some share that these guys are high maintenance! They are often arrogant since they know that the organization values them, expect policies to be flexible quite often and show off their Talent Status. The others quietly do their job without much fanfare!

Ask Managers, they will tell you that their talent is the guy who they depend on the most – their Man Friday! They want someone who will run with the teams deliverables, who will complete the assignments and maintain quality of output. And thus continues the search for this elusive TALENT….

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