According to a recent McKinsey & Company survey of 1,440 executives, nearly 60% of respondents said that building organizational capabilities such as talent management is a top-three priority for their companies. Yet only a third of companies actually focus their training programs on building the capability that add the most value to their companies’ business performance. The study went on to say that “three-quarters of respondents don’t think their companies are good at building the capability that is most important.”
Wow! This is not good news for these companies nor for others who would have responded the same way had they taken this survey. Think about it for a minute. Companies are saying that they know that a particular capability is important for their success, sustainability or growth necessary to stay in business. Yet, three-quarters of them don’t think they are good at building the capability! So, my question is, how can they think they can stay in business if they don’t focus on what they believe is important?
Wait, there is more to this McKinsey survey. “…about a quarter (of the respondents) think their companies’ training programs are “extremely” or “very effective” in preparing various employee groups to drive business performance or improve the overall performance of their companies.” Why, you might ask. (I know I asked why.) “The survey results also indicate a potential explanation: training programs are misaligned with what is thought to be the capability most important to a company’s business performance…Leadership skill, for example, is considered by the majority of the respondents to be the capability that contributes most to performance. Yet only 35 percent…say they focus on it. (I wonder what they are focusing on that can be more important than the capability they say is most important!) And only 36% of executives consider their companies better than competitors at leadership development.”
Well, there you have it. No wonder why we have a deficiency in leadership development in most corporations today – we are not paying attention to developing our current or next generation leaders! I am reminded of the old adage, “what gets measured gets managed” and I think it is quite applicable to this discussion.
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I urge every “C” level executive and HR leader reading this to think through how you would have responded to this survey had you taken it on behalf of your company. If you are like the majority of respondents, I urge you to do something proactive about this if you are at all motivated or interested in keeping this company in business for the near future. Check out some of the information on this website – we might just be able to help you if you are truly motivated to make a difference in the development of leaders in your company.
Why do you think that companies are not paying attention to this? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Great stuff for sure. My recent experiences within my client companies is that they are improving in the “capabilities” area but still have a long way to go. Companies really want to make the best of their current human capital as opposed to the uncertainty of bringing in outside talent.
Thanks Hayes for the observation. It is always good to hear from practitioners like you who get to experience what organizations are going through. From my vantage point, I agree that they are improving, yet and have long way to go.