Sunday, May 3, 2009

Is really managing talent our biggest managerial challenge? I don´t think so

I was having lunch with a couple of good friends of Saturday, he (Juan Villalobos, Juan Villalobos Linkedin profile )is a former CMO in the internet banking and insurance sector and now thinking of doing something more Entrepreneur and she (Silvia Diaz-Montenegro, Sylvia Diaz Linkedin profile ) used to be a former CTO of an internet bank and now manages her own and successful company
We were chatting about what we did learn about management and our principles and we all refer what we learn by working on consulting firms for our first career years, managing talent.

The key challenge on our managerial lives was supposed to be nurturing, coaching and making sure all the talent around us will grow. well we will discussing about the dramatic change we have seen around us in the workplace, the lack of ambition of the new generations, the lack of compromise and we question if there was a lack of talent and if so how to deal with it. Was really our biggest challenge just managing mediocrity? I really hope we don´t but we have to be open about it

Like to leave you with this quote I read on a blog today
Did you ever think about……..

If one trains at the limits of ability, never trying to push the pace beyond current capacity and never exposing the body to an overwhelming stimulus, improvement does not occur. Even worse, ability slowly travels in the other direction, gathering speed on the gradual slope of suckdom."

Christopher Frey

Link to Christopher Frey blog


  1. Such an interesting topic!
    Our biggest challenge is certainly managing talent, in no matter how much quantity and which shape it comes. It might not come with ambition, it might not come with glossy CVs, it might not even show. I would say that rather than managing mediocrity, unearthing talent, whichever kind, and coupling it with commitment is the name of the game.
    The difference in the way new generations face their carreers should widen our scope of search to plenty of new sources that are yet untapped.

  2. I think the question is different. SME's capacity to enroll good proffessionals in their payroll is not too high. Why would a very clever, with a outstanding CV person start working with a unknown (but promising) small company (with a very limited budget) when he/she can join a big consulting company or multinational with a strong and reputated brand (whichy actually is able to pay more)? The consequence is that the kind of proffessional that finally decides to join a SME is not the top of the top. And here comes the challenge: on one hand, normally a shareholder (i.e. venture capital) who wants a clear and strong and fast return from the investment, on the other hand, a new market, or a new product, or the junglish fight of an entrepreneur 24 hours a day. All this mixed with a team of proffessionals who need much more -you can call it- control, or surveillance or coaching... How does a new entrepreneur cope with this situation: no money, no time for "nonsense", ambitious goals... How does the entrepreneur not end up doing it all by him/herself? The resulted mediocrity of the recruiting is another characteristic of the SME management, mainly in the start-up phase. Denying it will be as denying a strong competitor with an expensive entry-barrier, or a lack in competiveness in the quality of the product. An entrepreneur has to face the situation and learn how to manage this mediocrity...

  3. Very true, buth what if we try to sort that situation out: nowadays, the ability to attract bright people laid out from big companies for an exciting adventure is a real possibility. Not only today, but usually, there are other sources of talent than the regular MBA top-school and in a SME you better get prepared to find them.