Talent Management For Senior And Upper Management

The results of a recent joint project conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Miles Group, who polled over 200 North American CEOs, board directors and senior management executives, found that over two-thirds of the CEOs and half of the senior executives were not receiving coaching services, even though they considered it a useful developmental practice. Also, a January 2017 Conference Board CEO Challenge worldwide survey indicated that 60% of the U. S. respondents believed that “failure to attract/retain top talent” was their No. 1 Hot-Button Business Issue. However, these CEOs came from companies with sales revenue of under $100 million per year.

The above results clearly indicate that CEOs and top line executives, especially those in companies with sales revenue greater than $100 million per year, primarily utilize their TM programs for lower and middle management personnel, but not for senior and upper management personnel. The logical question becomes what is causing this negative viewpoint? Here is my answer to that question. Current TM programs primarily deal with interpersonal skills, simple leadership styles, and basic management skills (such as delegation, motivation, etc.) which are primarily appropriate for lower and middle management personnel. However, such subjects have little practical business application for senior and upper management personnel. Therefore, the next logical question becomes what is important to the CEO and top line management executives regarding any TM program for senior and upper management personnel that the Chief HR Officer and TM leaders can utilize in an effort to have a much more favorable effect?

The CEO will tend to evaluate the practical business value of any TM program based primarily on how senior and upper management personnel feel that it has helped all levels of management to improve their ability to achieve important job/business results. Therefore, this article will outline several areas of importance that should be incorporated into any TM program that directly influence senior and upper management personnel. Ensuring that these areas of importance are inculcated into any TM effort will greatly improve its worth in the eyes of the CEO and top line management executives. Though most of these areas are aimed at the senior and upper management levels, they should also be considered for implementation at the lower and middle management levels as well.

This article will concentrate on the four major components of any TM program – On-Boarding, Coaching, Succession Planning, and Management Development and Training. Before proceeding, however, there are several key business realities of senior and upper management that must be understood because they provide a foundation upon which successful TM components are evaluated in the eyes of the CEO and top line management executives.



Jack Bucalo
Jack Bucalo
JACK has led the Global HR function for a Fortune 500 and 1000 international company and several other large international companies. With four years of line experience complementing his HR experience, he believes that the CHRO or HR Leader should play a more direct role in helping the CEO to achieve the company's business objectives and strategic goals, while effectively implementing its administrative duties. In doing so successfully, the CHRO or HR Leader can become an equal business partner with his/her line management peers while becoming more directly involved in the company's operational mainstream, rather than being just an administrative afterthought. As a pragmatic practitioner, Jack publishes detailed and actionable articles on a wide variety on critically-important HR issues on BIZCATALYST 360°. He is also on the advisory board for other web sites. Jack's over 20 years of executive-level HR experience for which he was responsible for company, executive and Board-related matters, form the basis for most of viewpoints.

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  1. I found in very political cultures, the same competencies that get executives to the top are the same competencies that make it hard for them to be developed through executive coaching. Strongly political animals tend to be good at politics and less so on the other traditional management capabilities.

    Now that many companies are going global, leadership development needs to adapt and follow suit.

    • Chris, I guess my experiences are different than yours. In any event, if managers are properly train/developed/coached in both hard and soft skills for each higher level of management as they move upward toward top management, they shouldn’t have to utilize so-called political skills. Separately, I agree that leadership development needs to adapt to this situation. See my article on “A new path forward to leadership development success”.

    • Carol, Thanks for commenting. Most TM functions do not deal with the tougher business issues faced by senior and upper mgmt. Until they do, the function will continue to be something for lower and middle mgmt … and therefore of little practical business value to senior and upper mgmt.