May 19, 2020

Is Talent Management Really HR's Job?

human resources
business tips
Curtis L. Odom
Bizclik Editor
5 min
Is Talent Management Really HR's Job?

Written by Curtis L. Odom, Ed.D.

In corporate America, leaders and executives often forget that their leadership objective is not only to manage the company processes, or to supervise the production of widgets. Their role is essentially made important by their charge to lead people. As executives tasked with running a company, this is a fundamental and critical component of business that you cannot push off or delegate and expect that someone else has it covered.
Most executives consider talent management a Human Resources (HR) function and as such, best left to the tactical leaders in HR because it is part of their duties to support the company in that effort. The truth is that for talent management to be pervasive and effective in an organization, the primary responsibility should be placed in the hands of the direct managers of employees. Most companies don’t formally expect this of their managers and executives so it’s not surprising that they just don’t do it, and don’t know how to do it.
That’s why it’s important for organizations to realize this and make a change in what tasks with respect to talent management are the responsibilities of management. Innovative companies that thrive and grow, have leaders at all levels that know they are
responsible not just for managing their budget and numbers, but also for the people that work for them—understanding where each person is in their development, and how to best either keep them engaged in their current position, allow them to be seen as that key person in the role, productive for the good of the company, or prepare them so that they can flow to the next level.
When you get to be a senior director, or VP, in my opinion, your job should be focused on helping to build the bench strength of the organization. And that starts with your own team. If you are a leader, your primary job focus should be leading people. That cannot be seen as less important than balancing the department budget. You are on the front line managing the talent of the organization.
This is a classic revisiting of the 70-20-10 model as discussed by the Center for Creative Leadership. If you are a leader, your work breakdown should match the development percentage mix. You should be spending 70% of your time developing your people by giving them challenging assignments, spending 20% of your time on coaching and mentoring them around both tasks and behaviors, and spending 10% of your time ensuring that they received the needed training to be effective in their jobs, or growing their knowledge through learning and development.
In reality, in many organizations it’s the other way around. I know this from my own experience. At one organization, I spent 70% of my time doing administrative work, 20% coaching and mentoring people, and 10% leading them—because I was told that by doing my administrative work I would be seen by those people as a good leader. That’s not how it should or did work in my opinion. I was instead seen by my direct reports as the executive whipping boy, jerked around by my leader and forced to do tactical work outside of my area of expertise that I was hired for. Regardless of what the job description read, or what I was told in multiple interviews, this was not a leadership role. I was being mismanaged as a high potential, as top talent. I found myself seeing all the classic signs of being stuck in the middle. I was stuck between the job I was hired to do, and the role I was being allowed to play. I did not stay stuck for long. A confluence of circumstances helped me make up my mind and served as a roadmap out of the valley mentioned before. Or, in this case, out of a valley of despair.
Talent management needs to be seen as every leader’s responsibility and they need to be equipped with how to manage that talent. They need to know (or be shown) what that effort looks like in the context of their organization remembering that each organization is unique. A set of metrics could be established so leaders understand that this is important to the organization. Here’s a scenario to give some thought to:
At one organization where I was employed in my career, at the end of each year, they do a survey of the direct reports of each Director and above to find out how well they feel that they’ve been managed by their leader through the year to come up with a fair overall assessment. And that becomes 25% of the leader’s bonus structure. That is taking talent management seriously. That is the point where the leader would see talent management as their responsibility and to not push it off by saying, “That’s not my job, that’s HR’s responsibility.”
No—it is your responsibility. You need to change your effort from being a 70% doer of tasks, to being a leader for 70% and a mentor and a coach for another 20%. Using straight addition, 90% of your time should be developing the current bench of talent for the future needs of the organization. That’s talent management.
About the Author: Dr. Curtis L. Odom is Principal and Managing Partner of Prescient Training Strategists, LLC, a consulting firm focusing on integrated talent management. Author of Stuck in the Middle: A Generation X View of Talent Management, Dr. Odom has recently been a featured expert in’s “Ask Annie” column. He has over 15 years of experience in talent development, performance consulting, training, and instructional design as a practitioner, researcher, author and speaker. Dr. Odom earned his doctorate of education from Pepperdine University and has been industry certified as both a Human Capital Strategist and Strategic Workforce Planner from the Human Capital Institute. Formerly serving in the United States Navy, he is currently a member of the International Society for Performance Improvement, the American Society for Training and Development and American Mensa. For more information, please visit

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May 12, 2021

How innovation is transforming government

United States Air Force
Bizclik Editor
3 min
Leidos is a global leader in the development and application of technology to solve their customers’ most demanding challenges.

According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.

Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.

The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.

“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”

That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.

To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”

“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”


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