5 Mistakes to Avoid for Long-term Success

While short-term goals are important to meet, long-term goals will ultimately determine business success.
business long-term success

When it comes to talent management strategies, most organizations make the mistake of focusing exclusively on their immediate needs. While this may help in attaining short-term goals, the ultimate success of the business requires cultivating a longer-term view.

Learning to anticipate and navigate roadblocks and mistakes can determine whether the business will succeed or fail in the long run.

Here are five mistakes to avoid to ensure long-term business success:

  1. Assuming that immediate recruiting efforts always support the larger business strategy

Recruiting is an important component of any organization’s growth process, but it does not always support the larger business strategy. Unfortunately, in today’s dynamic business climate, it can be tricky to achieve the perfect balance between hiring the right people required for the here and now and cultivating the talent that is needed to support the organization’s longer-term sustainability.

Hiring leaders from the outside to support the organization’s immediate needs is sometimes unavoidable, but in order for the enterprise to survive and thrive in the medium- and long-term future, it also needs to grow leadership from within by developing a diverse pool of talent.

Aligning recruiting efforts with internal talent management to support the organization’s larger business strategy sets a course for individuals to achieve their potential within the business. This complex process must require and enable people at every level to identify and develop their growth goals.

But perhaps more importantly, organizations that truly listen to what their employees are hoping to achieve and develop the kind of culture that people want to stay with have a huge advantage in retaining good talent over organizations that focus only on recruiting to fill immediate gaps. Developing a listening culture within an organization leads to more inclusive and transparent communication, more authentic feedback and a clearer path to action. Team members become more engaged in the organization and productivity and morale improves.

  1. Failing to see beyond the windshield

To build a strong future, tomorrow’s leaders need tomorrow’s skills and abilities, not just a younger version of what is required today. The long-term talent management strategy requires the vision to predict the company’s needs into the next 10 or 15 years.

Evaluating the contribution people may make a decade or more into the future is incredibly difficult but is now more than ever vital to future business success.

Trust is a basic element of the business — it’s nearly impossible to succeed without it.

  1. Not aligning HR and business strategy in executive planning and decision-making

In the era of digital disruption, the business is always changing — and so is the role of in-house HR.

It is crucial that HR has a seat at the executive table to ensure that they can inform and guide the organization’s decision-making process by contributing informed judgments on how to best align the company’s business strategy with its most important asset: the people who work there.

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HR needs to clearly articulate the value of talent development in the medium and long-term business strategy in order to override immediate knee-jerk pressure from stakeholders who may be reluctant to invest in what can often not realistically be measured as a short-term gain.

  1. Not having the right assessment methodology to evaluate talent

Most organizations place a high priority on acquiring new talent to support the company’s growth but few have effective criteria for selecting the right candidates. In order to encourage and develop the next generation of excellence in leadership, current performance cannot be the sole basis for selection.

Line managers and supervisors have the closest and most accurate view of an employee’s current performance and they also have a high degree of influence in the decision-making process about that employee’s growth path. But they are also highly susceptible to the belief that the current state of an individual’s performance automatically translates into a clear view of future potential. This is a common trap that many fall into and one that needs to be resisted.

  1. No meaningful connection between people development and culture

In many businesses, we often see a disconnect between people and organizational development; training often doesn’t align to the actual work. This can create a forced fit between learning and training programs and the practical needs of the people being trained.  Consequently, workers have little context for the knowledge and inadequate support in applying the learning that they have acquired in their day-to-day work.

Culture can also have an adverse effect on the success of a training program. Within the organization, is the focus on supporting the status quo and doing things in the same way that they’ve always been done in the past? Or is there an emphasis on agility, openness to learning, the motivation to continuously develop and to improve individual performance? Accurate evaluation of these factors will ensure the development program supports the transfer of the right skills and mindset for future growth.

In conclusion, a properly crafted, business-specific talent management strategy should help individuals develop into the roles that a changing and successful organization will require in future. The processes that support the talent management strategy need to be agile, inclusive, fluid, dynamic and multifaceted. Investing in this kind of responsive, forward-thinking approach in the longer term will ensure that the organization is equipped with talent at every level to deliver continued and enhanced business success, both for the here and now as well as in the medium and longer term.

Anton Franckeiss is head of consulting at Waggl. To comment, email editor@talenteconomy.io.