What’s Working in Top Fortune Companies (and Nonprofits Too!)

The following is a guest post by Jerry W. Mabe, president and CEO, RightPath Resources Inc. 
As the economy improves, the battle for talent continues to heat up. With new job opportunities opening up and more forecast on the horizon, organizations must respond by executing better strategies for recruiting and retaining talent. What are some of the proven best practices that you can replicate in your organization? Here’s what is trending on the talent management “front lines.”
A Culture of Development
A culture of development communicates this message: We may not be perfect, but we are committed to continued leadership, team and individual improvement.  This commitment doesn’t alter the current culture – it appends and improves it.  A culture of development says, “We will challenge ourselves to improve and provide the tools and training to fulfill this goal.”  It is a mindset that mandates continuous improvement and, to be sustainable, usually starts at the top then cascades throughout the talent pool.
Focus on EQ
As companies focus on development, many realize that EQ (emotional intelligence) is a key part of the journey. In his book “The 5 Levels of Leadership”, RightPath partner and top-selling leadership author, John Maxwell, aptly accords EQ the level of “pinnacle” – the highest and most difficult level of development.
EQ development, once considered the domain of executive leadership, now weaves into the development of high potentials, emerging leaders and those preparing to transition into higher level roles. Individuals both with and without direct reports need strong EQ. When EQ is emphasized, the development of individual contributor leaders, who lead by influence and role modeling, hits the fast track. The impulse control components of EQ quickly help younger generation leaders gain emotional maturity.
Our research indicates executive leadership continues to experience a deficit in EQ.  Development is needed for them to succeed at achieving the pinnacle levels ahead. In our LQ360 research, which measures 64 leadership attributes in the categories of results, relationship, EQ, develops others and trust, more than half of Fortune executives find EQ items listed in their bottom 10 rated attributes. EQ must be included in any impactful leadership development, present or future.
Coaching and Developing Others
With baby boomers retiring from leadership in droves and younger generations placing a premium on continuous development, we are experiencing a landmark change in leadership development. The successful leader of the future will be a true three-dimensional leader. Leaders who merely produce results and those who find ways to build relationships will be eclipsed by leaders who also exhibit the third dimension – developing others. The sought after leaders of the future will produce the result, while building relationships and coaching and developing others. The trait of developing others is already appearing in pay and performance standards for many Fortune 1000 executives.  It is headed for Fortune 500.
Clorox, as an example, is piloting RightPath’s new one year curricula “The Leader As Coach” for key leaders in the PSO group as a result of surveying their leadership needs. This is not an attempt to certify leaders in coaching but rather to bring coaching techniques into everyday leadership. Leaders who coach effectively will be in high demand in the years ahead.
More companies are turning to assessment, recognizing that this taps into all areas of talent management – recruiting, selection, professional development, performance management, retention, match and succession. Assessment is growing in favor due to objectivity and the ability to target developmental needs and measure subsequent improvement. Tools like the RightPath Path4 and Path6 behavioral profiles measure hard-wired behavior and are predictive of leadership strength and struggles. Our LQ360 assessment is an example of a multi-rater tool that assesses key leadership attributes including EQ and develops others.
Another assessment coming into vogue is the 9-box grid, referenced in another post earlier this month, to help rate an organization’s bench strength and overall talent pool. We often customize this tool specific to clients’ needs and business.
Companies will continue to face talent management challenges as long as we have talent. However, these examples provide insights into how top companies – and successful nonprofits – are meeting and overcoming the current challenges.