Rebuilding Competitive Advantage

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Case Chapter 01: Rebuilding Competitive Advantage As the U.S. economy moves from recession to recovery, businesses are obsessively focused on risk management, cost containment, supply-chain sustainability, resource efficiency, and maintaining their competitive edge. Yet a company’s success—or lack thereof—in any or all of these areas will be moot unless it recognizes and deals with its vulnerabilities related to retention and succession. Business results will be predicated by an organization’s approach to executive talent management. Bill Conaty, who spent four decades in human resources leadership roles at General Electric (GE), effectively synthesized this agenda. He stated that gaining a decided advantage over the competition starts with attracting the right talent to the organization. He added that companies must also invest in executive talent development, assessment, and retention because they’re just as critical to business performance. The market leaders in any industry recognize that attracting and developing the best executive talent is a continual, institutional priority, no matter what the economic environment, Conaty said. He pointed out that development needs—even for people at the most senior level—are not fatal flaws for a corporation or an individual unless they go unaddressed. Claudio Fernández-Aráoz of Egon Zehnder International says that despite [today’s high] unemployment numbers, companies still need to focus on attracting superior executives because demographics already indicate that the number of managers in the right age bracket for leadership roles will drop by 30 percent in just six years. “Companies need to beef up their ability to attract great leaders,” Fernández-Aráoz contends. “While over the long run companies should focus on becoming more attractive by developing the type of culture, environment and team that outstanding executives want to join, they also need to immediately focus on winning the coming fight for executive talent...
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