May 19, 2020

Is Talent Management Really HR's Job?

Leadership
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 CNNMoney.com’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 www.stuckinthemiddle.me.

Share article

Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

Share article