Rethinking Talent Management?

A recent little blurb about talent management in Procurement Leaders gave me reasons to rethink about the best ways to think about talent management within procurement. But I must say that I don't entirely agree with David Thompson, director of talent management at ABN Amro, who is quoted in the blog entry. Thompson argues that previously, "being a leader has been about setting goals for the team ... But the Generation Y-ers -- those born after 1980 -- are demanding different things from their leaders." What do these next generation of leaders demand? More "space" to innovate, according to Thompson. But I don't entirely agree. I've observed that space with any generation can be little more than a license to do things inefficiently or incorrectly (or simply not to do them as expected at all). Rather than encourage space and artistic license, per se, I'd argue that within procurement what is needed to better get the most from this generation is the creativity to fail.

Why? Remember, many in the current generation of college graduates care less about traditional rewards (monetary, career, etc.) than self-fulfillment and playing by their own rules. If those rules work, great. We should encourage them to use them. But if not, let them fail, quickly learn from the experience and re-chart their course. And besides, given the need we all have to better manage information and knowledge -- both internally and externally -- perhaps the most we have to currently gain from this generation in procurement is creative ways of building, sharing and leveraging intelligence -- and knowing how to filter "out" as much as knowing how to filter in.

- Jason Busch

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