Future Of Talent Creation: Buying, Building or Borrowing Talent?

In today's VUCA world where technology gets outdated before it is even implemented, where one app replaces the other before the users have downloaded it, or an idea can get replicated and duplicated with minimal technology barriers, organizations in their need for speed and ambition prefer to buy talent at any price to get their business going.


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This is understandable at the start up phase of the organization, when there are no systems in place and the proposals have just gone in, to get the round of funding required to even get the product or idea in the market place. However, when businesses stay in the start up phase past their prime, when the lack of investment in building leadership and functional capability continues, then this ‘buy culture’ starts to reflect in their ability to sustain their pace or even have innovation beyond the first idea or the first CEO. The talent so poached, groomed by other organizations, while contribute to the success and launch of the new ideas in the initial phase gets fatigued. Over time as no investment is made into their own skills, especially in leadership domains they start over leveraging what they had learnt in the past and stop growing. At this stage the founders of such organizations have 2 choices, keep up the cycle of buying new talent and replace the ones who have matured or invest in systems and processes to build leaders from within. Each choice clearly determines the future of the organization leadership pipeline and long term growth of the business beyond the founders or the investors.

Borrowing talent in niche areas or in new domains is not a new phenomenon or restricted to any one business type. The role of the borrowed talent is very clear. The term borrowed implies short term and in doing so the organization does not forfeight its focus on investing in the competencies it has borrowed. In fact, there has to be a doubled up effort in this area. When countries import doctors, then the government needs to build medical colleges to groom doctors from within the nation. Similarly, when organizations borrow talent either from their partners or stakeholders they have to build interventions to bridge these gaps.

Investing in building talent across functions as well as leadership levels enables an organization to truly harness the power of the people within. The empowerment, decision making, and power of different ideas colliding to fuel the innovation and growth is only unleashed when the leaders, managers and people are energized. Exposure to masterclasses with the best in the industry enables the talent to jumpshift gears within their own functions. CEOs taking time to invest in building the next gen leaders inspires leaders from every layer to build their pipelines. Managers taking time to refresh their capability to ensure they are able to inspire their teams to be the best they can. These are just some examples of how organizations can exponentially build leaders and great managers. However, there is a catch even here. When leaders believe that all leadership positions are only for internal talent, a complacency sets in. the spirit of competition so needed to propel oneself to build new muscles is imperative to be the best in class.

Each vector of building the talent quotient in an organization has an important role across the lifestage of the organization. Buying at the start up, or at the time of setting up a new product or innovation, borrow when you need functional expertise or leverage the learning from another market and building to continually energize and sustain the growth within. PepsiCo, also known as the college of leadership has had the mantra of BOLT – building outstanding leaders for tomorrow. Our mix of buy, build and borrow has enabled us to generate continued business growth, while launching innovations and leveraging best in class practices from other markets. This has also jumpshifted the leadership quotient within India Inc where we see leaders across many organizations having started their journey at PepsiCo.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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