Managing Talent: Strategies for Success

On Wednesday 25th May, AMT-SYBEX held a round table event for clients with a number of top speakers addressing the issue of Managing Talent: Strategies for Success.

This event was the latest in an on-going series presented under the Centre for Essential Industries initiative – a programme of conferences, events, papers and roundtable discussions organised by AMT-SYBEX in conjunction with our clients and industry partners.

Lord Coe, recently appointed as a non-executive director of AMT-SYBEX, kicked off the session with an enlightening and entertaining discussion of “Revolutionising Coaching Philosophy”. The Olympian, Politician and Olympic bid winner, gave an inspiring view of strategies for success.

Taking the audience through the London 2012 Olympic bid, Seb highlighted the need for focus when faced with a challenge such as competing with other great world cities like New York, Paris, and Madrid. The London team knew they would have to offer something other than great restaurants and shopping to differentiate their bid and decided on a strategy which highlighted the potential for greater engagement with young people. This was against a background of the acknowledged problem of the older age profile of recent Olympic audiences.

Seb highlighted that his previous life as a competitor showed that the difference between winning and losing was having a vision. A key success factor for the bid would be ensuring that everyone involved understood the significance of their own input into realising this vision.

The difference between winning and losing could be characterised as “Why?” that is, understanding why we do things?, what makes us want to do it?, and how does it fit into the overall vision. Each member of the bid team was interviewed, and encouraged to ask themselves these questions and understand that the vision extended beyond winning the bid and into encouraging young peoples’ interest in sport.

This keynote presentation was an exciting start to the day and certainly paved the way for our panel of key business decision makers to give their thoughts on managing talent and strategies for success.

Kevin Gaitskell, Western Power, Australia.
Kevin spoke about the unique challenges that Western Power faced regarding retaining key staff in a relatively isolated environment. He outlined how they had developed a successful strategy for people development by first looking at the reasons why people were leaving and then taking steps to counteract them.

Chris Murray, Chief Executive, Xoserve,
Chris Murray addressed the issue of “Engineering Our Future” and presented some interesting findings about the threat to the engineering industry due to a lack of interest from young people. The key message was the need to change the perceptions of the role of an engineer and close the generation gap, by identifying what inspires the youth of today and how the industry can meet those requirements. Communication was a major part of this presentation.

John Shine, Deputy CEO, ESB,
John Shine went on to address the room on “A Decade of Delivery Through People”. John explained that, as a vertically integrated business, ESB had not had to face the challenges other speakers highlighted in offering varied career paths to staff members and as a result had not really struggled with retention.

He suggested that the integrated framework in which the company operates gives a sense of vibrancy, and emphasised the importance of revisiting training exercises that contribute to success. In ESB there is a strong focus on coaching, through the use of internal and external coaches.

Paul Cuttill, Managing Director, The D Group,
Paul Cuttill looked at 21st Century Leadership in a very specific presentation that looked at the competency map for CEO’s and the skills and attributes that one should be looking for. Qualities such as situational awareness, emotional resilience, true management of risk, intelligence of interdependencies, and confident, believable communications, were demonstrated through specific examples using well known organisations.

Paul placed special emphasis on communication in the digital era, where stories can take on a life of their own and where “wait and see” can all too quickly turn into “wait and watch” allowing little or no control over the communications regarding your business.

Terry Morgan, Chairman, Crossrail Limited
Terry Morgan gave his personal perspective on Leadership – that managing change is an important competency, especially in a changing industry, where engagement and buy-in is needed from the top down. Terry also emphasised his personal experience that leaders need to manage their own behaviour to ensure respect from employees, concluding that Leadership is not just about words, but deeds and actions.

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