Tag Archives: Harvard Business School Press

Finding Talent Remains an Important Issue


Even in a down-economy, discussions about assessing, developing, or obtaining talent will not go away.

Indeed, this week we learned about another business best-seller on this topic.

Top Talent by Sylvia Ann Hewlett (Harvard Business School Press, 2010).

Over the years, at the First Friday Book Synopsis, we have featured books such as these on talent:

  • The War for Talent by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, Beth Axelrod (Harvard Business School Press, 2001)
  • Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin (Portfolio, 2008)

I think the major reason that the quest for talent will not go away is that it is part of the consideration at the top of a company’s Performance Management system.  The first step is to “hire the right person.”  The second step is to get the person off to a good start with proper orienting or onboarding.    What’s funny is that if more companies would take the time to get the right person and get that person off to a great start, everything else under performance management would fall in place.  For example, companies would need to less counseling, progressive discipline, firing, and so forth.

However, this is not the case!  When managers have openings, they want to fill them as quickly as possible.  Companies are not taking the time and care to be sure that the new hire is a proper fit.  Talent is a huge consideration in this process, but not the only factor.  Yet, it is this rush to fill an open position, rather than ensuring that a person is right for the job, that creates so much trouble.

I understand this.  Many times managers with open positions do the work of the open position.  That means at least two jobs – if  not more.  But, I think of the old line, “do you want to pay me now or pay me later?”   A company does not have to take the time to get the right person, but when it does not, it will pay for it later in many ways.

Talent is important.  That’s why we continue to see authors write about it, and why we see customers purchase books about it, that ultimately make best-seller lists.

What do you think?   Let’s talk about it.

P.S. – By the way, did you know you can purchase synopses of the two talent books I refer to above at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com?  You get the audio presentation along with an outline and sheet of key quotes.