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From War for Talent to Abundance of Talent?

23rd, May 2015
 
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by Tom Haak
 
in  Blog
 
tagged 

war for talent

Last year I was able to listen to an inspiring presentation of Claudio Fernández-Aráoz of Egon Zehnder. I also read his  book, “It’s not the How or the What but the Who“. Today I finally read the very positive book of Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler:  “Abundance“.

The fundament of Claudio’s reasoning is that the war for talent will be heating in the coming years. Companies are growing, older leaders are retiring and a different breed of leaders is required to deal with the “VUCA” world. The shortage will be big, and therefore the highest priority of companies is to detect and develop the real high potentials. He describes a rigid and proven methodology to determine the true potential of people, and their main areas for development.

Claudio’s assumption seems to be that the structure of organisations and the demand for talent will be comparable to what it was in the past years. In Claudio’s view organisations should focus on protecting “their” talent, in order to win the war for talent and probably as a consequence be more successful in business.

The students and faculty of the Singularity University (founded by Diamandis and others) focus on addressing humanity’s grand challenges, by educating, inspiring and empowering leaders to apply exponential technologies. Maybe the emerging shortage of talent is not big enough an issue for the Singularity University, but the question is important: how can the war for talent be transformed into a situation where there is an abundance of talent? Some solutions (not yet very much driven by exponential technologies) are emerging, like:

  1. Decreasing the need for leaders in organisations, by distributing the leadership amongst many more people.
  2. Decreasing the need for leaders and managers by changing the traditional structures of organisations.
  3. Decreasing the need for specific talent, by increasing the productivity of top talent with big percentages.
  4. Decreasing the need for talent by pulling down the fences between organisations, and sharing the talented people.
  5. Decreasing the need for talent by deploying talent from global talent pools, only when required.
  6. Increasing the pool of talent by looking for talent in less obvious areas (geography, educational background).
  7. Decreasing the need for talent by releasing the scarce talent of all kind of work that can easily be done by others (or by intelligent machines).
  8. Decreasing the need for talent by focusing more on the potential of teams than the potential of individuals.
  9. Decreasing the need for talent by speeding up the development of solutions powered by artificial intelligence.

Food for thought, fuelled by the inspiring books of Fernández-Aráoz and Diamandis & Kotler. Talent selection and development will continue to be a very important focus for organisations; personally I hope “the war for talent” will turn out to be a concept associated with the first decade of the 21st century, when we did not yet know how to transform shortage of talent into abundance of talent.

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About the Author: Tom Haak

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Tom Haak is the founder and director of The HR Trend Institute. Prior to founding the HR Trend Institute in 2014, Tom held senior HR positions in companies as Arcadis, Aon, KPMG and Philips. The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organizations, and also in adjacent areas.