Thursday, 11 March 2010

Who is setting your capability development agenda?

I read an interesting article written by McKinsey earlier this week discussing who is setting the agenda for capability development in organisations.

They have published a survey with some interesting results:

"Nearly 60 percent of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey say that building organizational capabilities such as lean operations or project or talent management is a top-three priority for their companies. Yet only a third of companies actually focus their training programs on building the capability that adds the most value to their companies’ business performance."

The article brings out a couple of key points:
  • Most organisations do not focus on developing the capability that they need the most
  • When senior executives are involved in setting the focus for capability development companies are more successful at aligning those agendas with the capability most important to business performance.
When I think about the different organisations I have worked with and worked for I have seen a wide variety of ways in which L&D budgets and focus areas are set. Some organisations follow a rigorous training needs analysis each year from which they recommend the focus areas for capability development. Other organisations just take a punt on what feels right to focus on. Are either of these right or wrong?

For me the most important part is looking at the business strategy of the organisation and then looking at the capabilities needed to achieve this. Whether you do this through some detailed analysis or not you have to make sure that there is a clear link. Having the 'top team' involved in this process is critical and without this you are having to second guess what the priorities really are.

The key question is how do you get the 'top team' engaged in the process? In some organisations (the successful ones) they already are engaged but for others there is still work to do....we'll leave that to another post though I think (I feel a discussion about HR having a seat at the board table coming on...!).

PS. This is my first post for a while following a bit of a break from blogging to focus on some other stuff. I doubt if anyone noticed but if you did......thanks!


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