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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

Tag: talent management

Bill Conaty: Passionate And Compassionate Leadership

The Bill George Team is covering the World Business Forum 2009 (#wbf09).  We are posting to Twitter, FB, and liveblogging. We’ll also post some speaker summaries on the blog.

Bill Conaty, the longtime GE talent management guru, spoke about managing human capital.  “Great leaders balance passionate leadership and compassionate leadership.”

The four essential talent management functions:

  • Attract: Hire outstanding talent.  This is important, but it’s just the beginning
  • Develop:  Provide opportunities for people to excel, develop their skills,  and to achieve their dreams
  • Assess:  Create and rigorously manage a performance-driven culture
  • Retain: Keep employees with high performance

How many of us really have a performance-driven culture?  You have to start with a CEO committed to this.  Most CEOs say they are, but they can’t actually do this unless you have well understood company values, performance goals and measurements, candor and trust in evaluations, and consequences for achieving or failing.

From the Q&A with Professor Paddy Miller of the University of Navarra:

“What’s the prevailing attitude of executives towards management consultants in these times – is there a role for management consultants in the post-economic crisis world?”

The discretionary dollars companies can spend are extremely limited.  “Nice to have” consulting projects will be cut back or limited.  But many companies have also cut back their internal resources so deeply that they must have external consultants.  Ultimately, the test is “how value add” are you?  And heightened competition will drive down fees. 

“As organizations move from general labor staffing to knowledge-worker based where individuals are more focused on specific deliverables rather than enterprise success, what form of management structure or hierarchy delivers the best decisions?” 

People seem to want to be part of something bigger than themselves… We talk about the values and the operating systems of the company as the social architecture of how the company works.  So social networks are great but they must tie into the company’s overall picture.”