Design: Foundation of talent management


An organization without design is like giving a kid a box of Lego without the manual. Something will come out of it...

The design phase consists of the following areas.

  • Select your organization’s structure.
  • Evaluate your leadership team fit.
  • Understand senior team dynamics.
  • Establish your culture. 

Step 1 - Select your organization's structure

Organizations that follow the talent optimization discipline have structures that are purposefully designed and carefully planned—not merely a result of uncoordinated forces and influences that build up over time. The business strategy provides the context for effective organizational structure. For example, if your business strategy requires innovation and collaboration you’ll need an organizational hierarchy that’s flat, with little middle management, so that communication will flow freely. Additionally, the behavioral requirements of roles in this type of organization will favor taking risks and processing information quickly.

The right organizational structure is one that’s aligned with your business strategy. For example, a small startup with a strategy that’s focused on competitiveness, customer intimacy, speed, and intensity will need an operating model that enables rapid decision-making. This type of organization requires a flat structure with relatively few middle managers. Think about what would happen if you turn it around, and create an organization with several layers of management in this small startup. They will set themselves up for failure.

The start of a design can be done very basically and over time become more mature. It is an evaluation.

 Step 2 - Evaluate your leadership team fit.

The execution of a given business strategy will require certain leadership abilities. For example, an organization that seeks to increase quality and predictability will require executives who are able to design systems and processes, communicate effectively, and coordinate complex cross-functional initiatives.

A senior leader in an organization will naturally be proficient in a given leadership style based primarily on their behavioral style. For example, a highly extroverted leader may naturally be adept at collaboration and persuading others. That same executive may need to develop leadership abilities that don’t come as naturally, such as an ability to design complex systems. Quantitative tools such as surveys, skills inventories, and strategy maps give context to a leader’s behavioral profile and abilities.

To ensure effective leadership for your organization, you must:

  1. Map leadership competencies to the strategy.
  2. Identify senior leaders’ fit to the required competencies.
  3. Develop and execute a plan to address leadership gaps.
  4. Embrace a philosophy of “leaders at every level.”

Step 3 - Understand senior team dynamics

Your senior leadership team must work well together to execute your strategy, and the best way to ensure team synergy is by understanding team dynamics. Having an awareness of what each leader is good at, and where each leader might need to stretch and develop new skills, is critical. When everyone on the leadership team has this awareness, individual and team productivity blooms.

Step 4 -  Establish your culture

Any senior team should view establishing their company culture as one of their most important activities as leaders. Culture is a result of deliberate, intentional action. Not only should an organization’s structure have tight alignment with the organization’s business strategy, but a purpose-built culture should also be consistent with that strategy. Culture, along with organizational structure, is a lever that the most successful leaders use to drive performance. Leaders can purposefully shift an organization’s culture by modeling desired behaviors.

When these steps are being implemented and reviewed, the organization is able to make necessary changes to create leaders that will enable their teams to perform and deliver results.  

Would like to discuss how we can support your organization in optimizing the performance of your team? Let's connect. Let's talk: Schedule a call with Mirjam! click here 

Photo by "My Life Through A Lens" on Unsplash

Learning Bites

Weekly email with learning bites around Talent Optimization.


Tips to optimize your talent

Subscribe to receive our emails with tips and workshops on how to implement the Talent Optimization Framework.