As a Chief People Officer and leader of human resources, you play a critical role in fulfilling the strategic direction of your company by acquiring talent that will deliver upon those strategic objectives. A misaligned, or mismatched, talent strategy and corporate strategy will result in significant execution problems. Successfully connecting the dots between talent strategy and execution is imperative.

As an executive, your success depends upon architecting a clear talent strategy that aligns with the overall goals and objectives of the entire organization. While strategic planning is necessary and worthwhile, it is no longer good enough. Truly effective and transformative leaders balance strategic planning and execution to maximize results.


To provide evidence of HR’s impact across the company you need to effectively drive the execution of the strategy that you’ve established. More importantly, you need to ensure that your team is executing that strategy in alignment with the overall corporate strategy to drive maximum impact. You must effectively connect the dots between strategy and execution to drive results, but where do you start? Let’s begin with defining some terms.


Download the Connecting the Dots Between Talent Strategy and Execution Questionnaire to thoroughly identify the talent your team will need to acquire, the types of performance management frameworks to deploy, and the tools, metrics, and systems to utilize for your team and your stakeholders.


What is Strategy?


If your organization’s mission defines what you will achieve, your strategy defines how resources (time, talent, money) will be deployed to accomplish the mission. Talent strategy is where the direction for the company’s talent acquisition department is determined and aligned with the strategic objectives of the broader organization. It supports the talent needs of the other revenue-generating functions – Product, Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, and Customer Experience. In summary, a well-executed Talent Strategy assesses, recruits, on-boards, develops and retains the people required to execute the functional strategies.


What is Execution?


While it’s imperative that HR leaders develop a sound talent strategy, it’s meaningless if you can’t follow through with execution. Implementing a talent strategy means leaders will have confidence that their teams can execute the go-to-market strategy and positively impact the bottom line. You must be able to break down the broader strategic vision into actionable steps, establish plans with key milestones, develop metrics and KPIs to track progress, involve the right stakeholders to ensure cross-functional alignment and success, and create methodologies to address challenges or adjustments to priorities along the way.


This article further defines the differences between strategy and execution.


How Do Leaders Connect Strategy and Execution?


  1. Develop the Strategy


    Your talent strategy should be an extension of your company’s 3-5-year strategy. Your strategy must supply the various organizations with the necessary talent to successfully execute the intended strategy. You also need to gather the commitments of the other C-level executives. At times, the corporate strategy may call for a set of competencies that the existing team does not possess. And sometimes your competitors will have a talent advantage that results in them winning more than they should. A misaligned, or mismatched, talent strategy and corporate strategy will result in significant execution problems.


  2. Acquire the Right Talent


    Fully document the role profiles for the talent that is required to fulfill the overall strategy. Once this is understood and agreed upon, your acquisition team will be equipped to source, recruit, and hire the best people to support and execute the strategic plan. This will save your team time during the pre-hire process because they will know who they are looking for and can fulfill the internal requisitions more effectively.


  3. Manage Performance


    Once the right talent is on board, their performance needs to be assessed and managed. Performance programs provide a basis for under-performers to correct course and meet expected standards. These same programs can also be designed to drive sustained performance from your A-Player talent, providing them with the means to exceed expectations. This leads to an overall increase in productivity for the organization.


  4. Support the Business


    Utilize tools that help manage your talent in a cost-effective way. Integrate systems for a seamless process, improved performance management, and improved data visibility. With quality technology and software tools on hand, information can be centralized, and communication can be streamlined enabling you to share information with other leaders and determine where the talent strategy needs to be adjusted to drive better execution.


  5. Monitor and Adapt


    Monitoring and evaluating the activities and status of the execution plan is as important as documenting the business strategy. By using established monitoring methods (dashboards, project plans, status reports, team meetings) you will ensure that the organization is following the direction established during strategic planning. It is likely that you’ll need to deviate from the plan at some point. That is expected. Understand the reason for the change in direction and update the plan to reflect the new priorities. This data-driven, agile approach will reduce your time-to-results and keep your talent strategy aligned with the ever-shifting priorities of the entire organization.


To get started, we’ve developed this brief questionnaire to help you uncover the elements that you’ll need to connect the dots between talent strategy and execution.


Download the Connecting the Dots Between Talent Strategy and Execution Questionnaire to thoroughly identify the talent your team will need to acquire, the types of performance management frameworks to deploy, and the tools, metrics, and systems to utilize for your team and your stakeholders.


For more tips and best practices, read this insightful case study about how BlackRock put their talent strategy to work.



How SBI Can Help


Toggling between strategy and execution does not come naturally. Leaders usually excel at one and not the other. Leaders who can both define a strategic vision and generate results through operational execution are transformative. Download this brief questionnaire to get start connecting the dots between talent strategy and execution. For more insights about talent strategies, download our latest research report. Finally, for more information about how to get the most out of your organization’s human resources, leverage SBI’s new Talent Strategy.



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Eric Bauer

Drives business growth through brand strategy, sales and marketing alignment and marketing effectiveness.

As a global marketing leader, Eric helps clients identify and implement strategies that result in sustained growth. He works closely with marketing and sales teams to help clients align go-to-market strategies and navigate the complex, multifaceted issues that affect branding, demand generation, and lead qualification. He oversees projects that help clients optimize their marketing resources and deliver measurable return on investment. He counsels clients on emerging trends in marketing automation, content marketing, demand generation, marketing operations, sales and marketing alignment, and lead management.


Eric is the author of many marketing and sales related articles. His recent experience includes developing a scalable campaign development process for a software company. Eric identified gaps in their existing process and created a standardized, repeatable process that addresses all aspects of demand generation, lead nurturing, and result reporting. He also helped a global petro-chemical company optimize their marketing and branding efforts to identify and recruit top site operators and retail locations for their products and services.

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