Strategic Talent Development

An excerpt from the forthcoming book “Organizing and Managing Insanely Great Products” by David Fradin with RN Prasad.

Strategic Talent Development Chart

In this section, I will discuss the impact ofthe Perfect Storm on the tremendous need for strategic talent development, howuniversity alliances can help in that development, the importance of successionplanning and mentoring.

The Perfect Storm

The disruption caused by the Perfect Storm hassignificant consequences for jobs and skills. IBM forecasts that as many as 375 million people worldwide will havetheir roles disrupted by 2030. 

IBM says, “We used to talk about wordprocessing and spreadsheet skills, now it’s cybersecurity, big data analytics,and coding. Tomorrow’s workforce needs to be equipped to navigate technologieslike AI, blockchain, automation, and innovations on the horizon.”

The same is true of tomorrow’s productmanagers.  They will need to understandhow these new technologies will affect their products and their customersbefore they do.

First, you need to understand what skills yourorganization currently possess and what skills or competencies will be requiredin the future.  Second, HR and seniormanagement must build a culture of mobility. For example, when I was at Hewlett-Packard, I launched and rolled outword processing for the public relations department.  I knew that the transition from an electrictypewriter to word processing would work because the PR department was the onlygroup in the company that knew how to type. That enabled me, and HP encouraged it, to do a lateral transfer intoproduct management in the office systems group of the networking division. 

Third, you will need to empower your employeesto take action and ownership of their careers. 

You can start for your product successmanagers and product marketing success managers with the competency frameworkdiscussed in this book. Then assess what you have.  Spice Catalyst has an assessment tool underdevelopment so, check our web site for status and availability.   Then identify the skills you will need inthe future and lay out a plan to get them. 

The plan should go down to each individual inthe organization and be updated should there be anyone that leaves orjoins.  The plan should say who needs toget what training by when and obtain what level of competency. The talentmanagement plan should align closely with the company’s strategic plan. 

Artificial Intelligence could help define thecompetencies your organization needs and for the delivery of the right trainingto the right people at the right time.

The goal of talent development is to create ahigh-performance, sustainable organization that meets its strategic andoperational goals and objectives.  Doingthis well and having the capability to develop talent before it is needed willrapidly become a significant competitive advantage for the organization.

The talent development plan consists of plansfor talent acquisition and retention, performance management, learning andmotivating, compensation, career development, and succession planning.

The plan should also include the need for specialiststo be trained.  For example, noteverybody can do market research or pricing, so plan to develop specialists inthese areas to be accessed by multiple product teams.

Amazon, Starbucks, and McDonald’s are allspending millions to take the Perfect Storm into consideration. You should too.

University Alliances

You could also forge university alliances fortraining on some of the key competencies. 

However, few universities worldwide offerproduct management coursework.  But keepyour eye out for them.  There will bemore, a lot more.

My new nearly 800 page Wiley book”Successful Product Design and Management Toolkit: Foundations in theSuccessful Management of Products”:,  has been designed for Universities to deliveras part of their executive education programs. Look or ask for it at youruniversity of choice.

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