Feedback from Talent Initiative 3.0 and Improvements for 4.0

09/09/2013 in

We continue to learn a great deal about how to do this work most effectively and to plow that learning back into ever more improvements to our consulting, training and coaching approach.

Increasingly the changes we’re making feel like smaller refinements to an already very very program. There is still lots of room for improvement, but it will come in the form of hundreds of small changes rather than a handful of big ones. I think going forward more of my focus in this blog will be on describing what we’re learning in implementation of specific facets of human capital management -- in talent acquisition, leadership development  or performance management, for example -- and less on this one program.

Nonetheless, here are some of the improvements we’re making in response to what we’ve already learned.  


  • Expanded Alignment (Planning) Phase: Previously, in a typical engagement, we had talked extensively with the CEO and Director of HR plus a few other key leaders during the RFP process and thereby gotten a high degree of agreement about what we all wanted to accomplish together, how we would tailor the program to meet those needs, the roles that we would all play, the project plan with key milestones, etc. As we’ve moved the Human Capital Management Steering Committee into a more central role (that’s working really well, by the way), we’re seeing the need to spend more time early on bringing that team together, and helping all involved get on the same page about what we’ll all be doing together over the program’s six months.

  • Metrics:  We continue to see the need to expand our existing metrics efforts. Our approach to human capital management is very grounded in data, analysis, quantifiable returns on investment, and the like but we’re finding that some clients need more support in that type of work in general, let alone the specifics we’re working to accomplish in this program.   

  • Coaching: The coaching work was very well received as a new feature, and we’re finding that people’s appetites for coaching is quite expansive. As a result, we’re moving in this upcoming release of Talent Initiative to create a more clear scope and structure.  

  • Growth vs Change Clients: Over the past few years we have successfully delivered Talent Initiative to two types of organizations: those undergoing rapid growth and those undergoing rapid culture or strategic change. Even though both groups have been very well served by Talent Initiative, we’re finding that there are ways for us to tailor the program to meet their slightly different needs. We’ve been making these changes client by client all along, but we’re now seeing patterns of what works best. For example, the alignment process for change clients should often be longer. Why? Because change clients are often larger; the members of the Human Capital Management Steering Committee are more often less familiar with each other and less comfortable assuming an organization-wide perspective; there often a more varied response among key stakeholders to the prospect for change as compared to the prospect for growth which further lengthens the time required to gain alignment among the members of the leadership team and Human Capital Management Steering Committee.   

  • Strengthened Communications Component of Change Model: It has always been part of Talent Initiative’s change approach to use organization-wide communications. We have typically structured about one communication every other week from the Executive Director, Director of Human Capital Management, Human Capital Management Steering Committee or similar leadership roles. What we’re doing now is creating a richer connection between those communications and our 3-part change model.

There are many more improvements, but they are smaller and even more difficult to explain. I would love to hear your thoughts. You can respond on the blog or email us at Thanks, James