A recent report of business confidence* noted that while U.S. business leaders are confident in their ability to succeed in the future, far too frequently they are not aligning investments, incentives, and organizational changes. They are not innovative enough; leadership is not bold. Organizations are not keeping up with the pressure to find, develop and keep the right talent.

While technology companies live by innovation, it is just as important for all organizations, including traditional, old line companies, to be imaginative. Whether a multi-billion-dollar, a mid-market, a start-up or a family-owned organization, the challenges are similar. Technology will be the tipping point between growth and decline. Having associates who understand and effectively work with this technology is critical. You must recruit them if they aren’t already part of the organization; if they are, you must encourage them to stay.

Technology is something that you can touch and feel. It sometimes comes with instructions. That’s the easy part. Talent is the “magic potion” that makes it happen. The rate of change in technology creates a skills gap within many organizations that few are committing sufficient resources to overcome. Future-thinking organizations have a culture that attracts talented individuals and encourages their development. Most organizations aren’t there yet. Some aren’t even trying.

Leadership that can help an organization look for new ways to do things as well as consider new ideas is at a premium. The pressure will continue on finding, attracting, challenging, developing and retaining these talented individuals.

There is a lot written about a talent shortage. At the same time, LinkedIn has thousands of individuals who are interested in another job (articles indicate that more than one in five workers plan to leave their job in 2016, and in certain age groups, perhaps as many as 80% of people working today want to make a change).

So where’s the disconnect? It’s fit.   Many of the people an organization can easily identify do not have the ability to help it attain lofty goals. Simply put, they don’t bring what is needed, either in terms of skills or compatibility, or both. Hiring them is the first step toward losing momentum.

Recruiting individuals who can help an organization attain its goals involves more than just considering “easy to find” people. It requires three steps: understanding what the organization really needs; identifying individuals who can provide this; and attracting them.

Once they are part of the organization, challenging these high performers and helping them attain their full potential becomes the next concern. That’s difficult, yet it’s the only way they will stay.

Successful organizations have alignment as well as determination and commitment. Are you investing enough in the future and taking appropriate steps to ensure sustainability?

*“Deloitte Business Confidence Report 2016: The bold organization—innovate, lead, attract”


Larry Shoemaker is President of Shoemaker & Associates/Cornerstone Atlanta. He helps organizations identify, recruit, assess and retain talent. He is also President of Cornerstone International Group, a global retained search organization comprised of about 70 independently owned offices located around the globe, with headquarters in Shanghai, China and Atlanta, GA. He holds an International Coach Foundation ACC Credential.