The best global leadership systems develop people and the organization simultaneously. No other business process has more impact on shaping culture than company-wide talent development forums. Calibration and development councils can become the control centers for activation if used well. As an executive team at the top does the work of getting to know its talent by evaluating players with a common yardstick and vocabulary, they begin to calibrate a shared set of expectations about what global leadership looks like in their company.

As they plan chess moves among promotable candidates, they learn to trust and they play more of an enterprise leadership role, often becoming a more collaborative leadership team.

For many companies this new organization model shifts the roles of senior executives from fully focused on the performance of their own unit, to committing a portion of their attention to shared leadership of the enterprise. By investing in the talent conversation, they are “being the change,” working together with behaviors that are the global operating model.

New norms are established through conversations about the performance and potential of the leadership bench. One of the first tests is how candid executives choose to be in discussing the relative strengths of their direct reports and other key players. Few other conversations are more loaded with trust issues. The tendency often is for talent reviews to be staged presentations. Peers avoid candid sharing of views about individuals and may hide and hoard key talent from others.

In a well-facilitated talent process these norms are challenged, and trust gradually increases. Talent and organization co-mingle, in a healthy way, as the executive team begins reconsidering the scale and the scope of roles and necessary levels of collaboration. The profile for successful leadership adjusts as the new organization model comes into greater focus. Talent movement acts as a weaving process in the matrix, creating a talent pool of players who understand what life is like in the center, in the field, and in staff and as well line positions.

Amy Kates & Greg Kesler
Managing Partners