We all talk about how we are in a global economy and the many ramifications that that brings to business and employment as well as the economy in general. This conference was of particular interest as HR/HRD professionals from around the globe were present. In addition to the delegates, a number of speakers were "C" suite representatives to talk to business and HR from their company's perspective in a global economy. I personally found these presentations of key interest as they focused on the message of "what I and my leadership team would like to see from HR/HRD professionals". Surprisingly, the messages are similar around the globe.
Of first interest was the discussion around employment. When we think of a position posting in the US, we expect a couple of hundred resumes to be sent to our organization. This is certainly different in India. When you realize that our population is around 330 million and India is 1.3 billion, the size of the labor force potential is immense. Balance that with the lower overall levels of education in India which will prevent many from applying, but that is offset by the average age of the population, which is significantly younger, with many educated outside of the country. One can easily see how recruiting and employee programs need to be responsive to each country's labor force. I was amazed as to the enormity of this issue and how different countries are dealing with balancing their labor and talent management to stay competitive. With over 40 different countries represented, there was a diversity of solutions.
A message that did not change was the role of senior leadership needing HR/HRD to sit at the table and be part of the creation of the strategy and operations of their respective organizations. While all agreed there is an abundance of people looking for work, there is a real shortage of talent that can operate at the global level. All agreed that education and experience are foundational to talent; however, they lamented on the shortage of those who understood how to lead people in different countries, cultures and business segments. It was stated more than once by presenters that a leader without dedicated and motivated talented followers is really not a leader! They are just a manager with a larger area of responsibility.
In reflecting on these presentations, it is obvious that the issues we face here are the same around the world from Australia to Europe/UK, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. True leadership is as elusive around the globe as it is here domestically. With that as a back drop, all the senior leaders agreed that Leadership Development is the key global issue. Not surprisingly, they look to all of the prosperous global economies for examples of how to "fast track" development of their internal performers. Common language such as succession planning, coaching, and development were unanimous issues for all growth companies.
Thinking about this message should help each of us look at ourselves and our organizations and ask the question when looking into the mirror, "What am I doing to advance my own approach and development as a leader?" Many of the attributes that brought us to our current levels may be outdated for this global high growth world we are competing in today.