By all accounts, 15 out of 100 is not a good score. It’s certainly nothing to aspire to. And yet, when it comes to future-ready leaders, that’s where we’re at. Korn Ferry’s latest study on self-disruptive leadership finds that just 15% of leaders have the qualities necessary to lead their organisations successfully through the age of disruption.

The brutal truth is the traditional models of talent management that have been carefully crafted over the years are simply not delivering the required pipeline of future-ready leaders. Things have to change. And quickly.

To build the required pipeline, companies need a collective model of talent management that empowers everyone in the company to develop their leadership capabilities. Leadership development must be made available to everyone in order to cultivate the self-disruptive mindset at all levels of the organisation. This isn’t about tinkering at the edges. A new approach is needed.

A disruptive approach to talent management is required

This thesis was confirmed by our report, Re-imagining Talent Management. We spoke to 29 of the world’s leading organisations to understand and learn from how they’re approaching the seismic changes taking place in the world of work.

The work these companies are doing on talent management is telling. Companies that are refreshing or disrupting their talent processes typically achieve better total shareholder value. In short, changing up talent management processes may well deliver greater business performance.

Talent processes need to be re-designed to unleash the self-disruptive mindset necessary to deliver real market advantage. Our research identified the critical imperatives to enable you to do just that.

The four imperatives discussed in this article offer a blueprint for reimagining talent management – and a framework for shaping a talent strategy that will deliver the right balance of direction and freedom needed to cultivate self-disruptive leaders at all levels of the organisation.

Four imperatives to reimagine your talent approach

  1. Think mindset, not role: Rather than preparing specific people for specific leadership roles, forward-thinking organisations are shifting to mindset development. We can’t know the skills and capabilities that will be required five years from now. Instead, organisations must support leaders to develop the adaptable, flexible and inclusive mindsets that will enable them to constantly shift in response to customer needs and market demands.
  2. Talk career, not development: Leadership development needs to be reimagined as a career-long journey embedded in daily work. It needs to be as nimble as future leaders will be required to be. This means ensuring employees are empowered to direct their own careers and that new pathways are developed to embrace the breadth of critical experiences needed to develop Self-Disruptive Leaders.
  3. Think person, not process: Future-ready leaders are defined by their individual ‘fit’, not just skills match. Organisations need to facilitate always-on development not only by providing learning opportunities but by helping busy employees navigate training easily and rewarding them for learning.
  4. Simplify and democratise: Right now, the value offered by talent management is often thwarted by complexity and the effort required from managers. This makes it “too hard” for talent management processes to stretch far beyond the top few tiers of the hierarchy. But by then it’s too late. Simplicity must be a guiding principle to ensure everyone in the organisation can access talent processes as and when needed, rather than being dictated to by policy.

Self-Disruptive Leaders might still be rare, but they don’t need to be. Disrupt your talent management approach today and reap the rewards tomorrow.

To learn more, read our latest report: The Self-Disruptive Leader.

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About Contributor

Patrick is a Client Development Director at Korn Ferry's Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and Professional Search business. He partners with current and potential clients to assist them in reaching their goals through tailored talent acquisition solutions.

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