"If businesses managed their money as carelessly as they manage their people, most would be bankrupt."
That is the opening sentence in Bill Conaty's and Ram Charan's book The Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers. If that does not make you uncomfortable as a healthcare CEO, then you must be in the above average category in terms of hiring, training and retaining the best talent.
Mr. Conaty, who was Jack Welch's Senior Vice President of Human Resources at GE, and Ram Charan, a top business advisor/author/speaker, have written one of the best, if not the best, books on talent management. They argue that the best companies are those which excell in identifying and developing raw talent.
As healthcare providers enter a period of financial uncertainty and turmoil, the quality of an organization's talent will be the single most critical determinant of an their success; not their location, the stylishness of their big box facilities or their existing reputations. Those will seem so insignificant when the fight for survival turns deadly serious. Less you think that all the big healthcare provider success stories of today will be around in five to 10 years, think about the hundreds of former market leaders in retail, services, computers, consumer products or even banking that are now but a distant memory, an "oh yeah, whatever happened to those guys?" They didn't find or keep the best people.
It always comes down to that fuzzy, soft concept of talent management. Organizations that fail to build their talent management around an exemplary CEO/Chief Human Resource Officer partnership, are running down a risky path.
The hospital Chief Financial Officer is the trustee of the financial resources. "The human resource function will only be as strong as the CEO wants it to be. If the CEO does not have high expectations for HR, then it will be second tier," even reporting to the COO or some other vice president, Charan and Conaty write.
"Why wouldn't the CEO want an HR function that is as important an managing the financial resources? HR is, after all, the trustee of an organization's human capital."
Being a talent manager — becoming a talent master — is now an essential leadership comptency.
© 2011 John Gregory Self