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Strategic Integration of Talent Management, Leadership Development and OD Initiatives

Friday, August 17, 2012  
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On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, Julie Staudenmeier, Executive Director, Leadership and Organizational Development at Boehringer Ingelheim, facilitated (her word) the joint ASTDNY/ODNNY chapter event, Integration of Learning and Development, Organizational Design and Talent Management.  Much thanks to New York Life for providing the room and refreshments to the 111 attendees (which was a "packed house" of 55 ATD NYC and 56 ODNNY members) and especially to Evelyn Levine of ODNNY for her time and effort over the last several months to help coordinate this event.

Julie has extensive experience in Talent Management but stated upfront that she didn't have all the answers.  What she does have, however, is a framework of which she developed the foundation early in her career and has over time evolved into her current Seven Principles for Success.  She employs these principles in her own situations and was the basis of her presentation.  As members of two organizations who face the daily challenges of integration were present, she decided that having an interactive session would be a great way to provide a real life element to her case study.

To start, Julie posed a number of questions to everyone regarding their areas of focus, current local and global business issues and perceived and real obstacles to achieving specific goals.  The audience agreed that the human capital elements must work together to produce the same result, yet the integration of these efforts is often difficult on many levels.  Julie cited four main reasons why integration often doesn't work. 

1)      Ad Hoc Development of Initiatives

a.      Limited Resources

b.      Attraction to the "latest thing"

c.      Different leadership philosophies

2)      The (Dis) Integration Drift

a.      "Green field" systems build ‰ÛÒ starts out beautifully but not sustained over time

           b.      Initial build is too complex

3)      Structural Issues

a.      Leadership, OD and Talent Management report to different leaders
b.      Shadow organizations
c.      Good intentions for collaboration just not enough

4)      Individual Issues

a.      Power and Control
b.      "Branding" running amok

Reviewing all of these elements simultaneously appeared overwhelming. Yet, Julie assured that integration is not insurmountable.  She then provided her Seven Success Principles to Integration.

1)      Find the Energy: And Expand It!:  Find a Champion(s)

2)      Take a Long Term View: Recruit a broader circle of leaders with a long range view

3)      Align the Structure

4)      Establish Linkage Points: Mutually define what informs integration and create an agreed                upon framework of values and competencies

5)      Senior Leaders: Engage, Inform and Challenge: Create a community to keep everyone                  engaged

6)      Focus on Execution and Results: Results may not necessarily be ROI numbers

7)      Strategic Business Focus: This is the centerpiece ‰ÛÒ all of the other 6 Principles must bind              together around this one.

Julie presented us with a case study (see below) and requested everyone break into small groups to discuss and suggest a solution.  When we reconvened several groups shared their approaches and rationale and, as imaginable, there were all different based on the group members' experiences but also returned with many additional questions.  One which generated a lot of conversation was how do you balance commonality vs. diversity, especially when you are trying to maximize resources, integrate systems and build sustainable, long term programs? When and where is it appropriate, particularly when working globally, as in this situation?

The session concluded with this discussion and brought Julie's opening full circle as there is no one definitive answer for all of our individual situations.

I also left with a few myself:

Using Julie's framework for reflection, what I have encounter in the past that I can now dissect? What can I do to customize it for my future projects and needs? What activities outside the scope of project tasks can be done to facilitate better integration?

Below is the case study which Julie presented to us that night.  Additional resources from Julie's presentation are available in the "Resources" section of the website.  Click on "Knowledge Center," then "Member Resources."

Chrissi Boryk is an aspiring L&D professional with experience in training, e-learning, project management and program design and development in both corporate and non-profit settings.  Her most recent experience is in medical education where she conceptualized, implemented and managed an e-learning product line to help physicians meet their board certification requirements.  An avid recipe collector, yogi and cyclist, she would consider changing her mantra of "life is one continuous wardrobe change" if Donna Karan created a moisture wicking suit with discreetly hidden bike shorts.


The Situation

You've just started a new role as head of learning and development for the Americas for a large global consumer products organization headquartered in France. You're accountable for deployment of global programs in the US and for designing local learning and development programs that meet the needs of the US businesses.  You have been with the company for six weeks, and have spent much of that time meeting with senior line managers and their HR leaders.  You are beginning to understand what the global and US business challenges are, and to define the implications for learning and development priorities for your team.

However, you have not yet met Giselle Bernhardt, who is the Division President of the business unit that contributes the highest annual revenues and profits, both in the US and globally.  Giselle and Marty Engel, her VP of HR, are both so busy that it's been hard to get time on their calendars.  Then one day out of the blue, your manager forwards a message to you from Marty. Giselle wants to introduce a 360-degree feedback process for leaders in her business unit.  She's had great experiences with 360-feedbacks in her prior company, and she's asked Marty to "make it happen." You have a meeting with Marty and Giselle tomorrow morning.

More Background

  • There is general agreement by Giselle's leadership team that 360-degree feedback surveys are an effective tool to reinforce the highly accountable, high performance culture they want to create.
  • Several different 360-degree feedback tools are currently being used in your company's leadership development programs and for coaching engagements with high potentials.
  • To introduce more consistency in the behaviors that leaders are encouraged to model, your company's Global Talent Management team plans to create a global 360-degree feedback process, based on the company's Leadership Competency model.  The Leadership Model was introduced two years ago, and is used as part of the performance management evaluation and feedback process.
  • The projected launch for globally approved 360-degree feedback tool is at least nine months and the Global Talent Team has reputation for launch delays.  Realistically speaking, the new 360 tool may not be available for at least another year.
  • In creating feedback delivery solution for Giselle's business, you want to avoid duplication of effort as well as "survey fatigue," from people being asked to complete feedback surveys too frequently, or on behalf of too many people.
  • At the same time, you don't want to appear unresponsive. You've heard that if Giselle doesn't get results fast enough from internal consultants, she simply hires external consultants to get the job done.  Giselle is anxious for her team to understand now how they are being perceived now, so they can make any necessary course adjustments to deliver better business results and build a positive, feedback rich culture.

What Would You Recommend?

Please discuss which of the following approaches you would recommend to Giselle and Marty. Describe the rational for your recommendation.

What else would you do in this situation to drive business results, and at the same item contribute to integrated talent management, leadership development and OD practices at your company?


  • Wait for global 360 tool to be introduced. Delay providing 360-degree feedback until the global Leadership Expectations 360-degree feedback tool is launched.
  • Create a shorter, more focused on-line survey process that is less comprehensive and more focused than the global tool that is being built, e.g., including behaviors especially critical to Giselle's business right now, e.g., accountability, customer focus, expense reduction, etc. Work with and external provider to distribute surveys and create feedback reports and keep project investment as low as possible.
  • Add structure and uniformity to e-mail/conversation-based approach.  Create a uniform process for requesting and returning feedback via e-mail and/or face to face conversations with peers, direct reports, and direct managers.  The process description would specify the feedback themes/ questions, provide sample language to use to request feedback, establish timelines for feedback gathering and reporting, and describe techniques to use to deliver effective feedback.


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