Recently I had the opportunity to talk with a few business leaders who sought my counsel regarding talent issues. The first was an owner of a rapidly growing business. This person had experienced tremendous success in developing a scalable business based on the demand for his products, but was struggling with managing the growth. He was handling too much himself and needed help. His board of advisors had suggested he develop a talent plan in order to determine how he would attract and retain the talent needed to manage the growth of the company.

The second person I talked with was an HR leader for a global manufacturing organization. The company had struggled with a decline in demand in major sectors of the business, and had hired a new CEO. The new CEO immediately turned her attention toward keeping the best people in the company before they “abandoned ship”. The HR leader was asked by the new CEO to provide data regarding employee engagement and leadership development efforts for the top talent and high potentials in the company. He called me to ask for help since his previous CEO had never asked for that kind of information.

Business leaders are often asked to deal with challenging issues and questions like these. Talent shortages, under-engaged employees, under-developed leaders and other talent issues are well publicized. CEO’s and Boards of Directors have a heightened awareness of these issues, and will seek answers for their organizations. Here are ten talent-related questions every business leader should be prepared to answer:

  1. Do we have a vision for our future and a talent plan to support the vision?
  2. Do we have the right leaders and talent to reach our goals?
  3. Do the best people (ours and others) want to work for us?
  4. Do we know who our best performers are now, and for the future?
  5. Are our people equipped to get us to our goals?
  6. Are our people maximizing their strengths?
  7. Do our people know what top performance looks like and how to reach it?
  8. Are our people excited about our vision and understand how they fit?
  9. Are our people committed to our vision?
  10. Are we tracking our people progress in these areas?

If you answered yes to all these questions, congratulations! You are prepared to address talent questions from your CEO or Board of Directors. If not, join the club. Most organizations do not have the answers to all these questions. How can you get there? With a talent strategy. A talent strategy supporting your business strategy can help you develop a strategic advantage with your people.

Want to learn more about how a talent strategy can help you be prepared for tough talent questions? Here are a few other organizations who believe in the importance of having a talent strategy (click on the name for links to articles and websites):


McKinsey & Co.

Harvard Business Review

Korn Ferry


Bersin by Deloitte



CEB Global

Right Management

Talent challenges will not get any easier. Now is the time to get strategic about your talent.

Want to get hands-on with talent strategy? Here at Future State Talent Solutions, we have created a tool to help you. Our talent strategy framework is part of our Future State Talent Management Model. Using this model, you can develop your own talent strategy. We also have experienced consultants who can help.

For a confidential conversation about developing a talent strategy for your organization, please contact us.


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