IBM Finds Adaptability and Collaboration Key to Talent Development

Last Updated Oct 23, 2007 1:37 PM EDT

IBM Global Human Capital recently released a study with some interesting results. Their survey of 400 human resources executives reveals that a vast majority (75%) are concerned about their company's ability to groom future leaders. This, of course, is a major aspect of attracting and keeping top talent, and a key to any successful enterprise.

If good leadership is such a priority, as evidenced by the astronomical compensation packages that companies dangle to attract leaders from other firms or government posts, then why are companies struggling to groom this talent from within their own ranks? Not only would you have a leader who's already familiar with the company, but one who is already familiar to the employees and doesn't have to be lured away from their previous post with exorbitant incentives.

So what stands in the way of companies keeping and fully developing leadership talent? Here are some of the study's more telling findings:

36 percent of companies find it difficult to provide their top talent with well-rounded experience by moving them through different teams and locations.

27 percent complain of a generation gap that makes it harder for current executives to effectively mold and mentor their young proteges.

27 percent cite attracting top talent as an issue, while only 18 percent cite retaining talent.

52 percent say that helping top talent develop skills quickly enough to keep up with the rapidly changing demands of the marketplace is a big challenge. Along these lines, only 14 percent of businesses feel they are comfortable adapting to change.

Seemingly, it is this inability to adapt in a fluid manner that is at the heart of the leadership problem. In fact, the study's results show that companies lack the vision and expertise to predict the skills that their leaders will need a few years down the road, they have trouble locating expertise and talent in their own company and cannot seem to foster collaboration company-wide. The companies that claim they are comfortable with one or more of these organizational challenges number just a few dozen.

Some discouraging numbers, indeed.