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Anne Libby Management Consulting
Spring, 2008

Transforming "People Problems" into Opportunities

"Habits of mind are the real barriers to talent management."

- unnamed executive,
quoted by McKinsey

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Greetings, Friends and Colleagues!
Thank you for joining me for my inaugural newsletter.  I'm planning a quarterly note with news and views about managing people, information about my services -- with potential for occasional digression.

I appreciate your companionship in my new venture!
The U.S. Army's War For Talent
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the Army's challenge to retain mid-grade and noncommissioned officers.   Army officers are looking for choice in assignments, particularly to manage two-career families:  just like your employees.  

Business Week recently addressed the movement of talent out of the military and into business schools.  

Both articles took me back to my brief discussion with a young Marine officer at last year's Wharton Leadership Conference.   She commented that she and her peers assumed that it would easier to get things done in the private sector, where people did what they were supposed to do.  

Though I laughed, I was a bit sorry to tell her that many civilians might have the same view of the military.   

A nice reminder, though, that our human nature transcends organizational purpose and form.

(And if you don't have a subscription that lets you past the WSJ paywall, let me know:  I've ordered a few reprints, and I'd love to share.)
A Different Talent "War"
McKinsey recently followed up on their 1997 study, The War For Talent.   In the update, senior executives expressed beliefs that line management is:
  • Insufficiently committed to people development;
  • Unwilling to differentiate employees by performance;
  • Ineffective at addressing underperformance.
Those middle managers sure sound recalcitrant!  I don't see them as uncooperative:  I think it is increasingly rare for employers to train them in some of the basics required to meet these everyday challenges. 

Arguably, if you don't build it, you can buy it.   But as I talk with executives, many agree that their firms aren't consistently or effectively recruiting and hiring managers based on their track records for developing and managing people.  

Get the McKinsey update here; there's even an MP3 for your iPod, though downloading it was a little klugey.
Management Pro (and my draft website)
Starting this summer, I'll be running small groups for managers who want support on some common themes in people management:   dealing with "fit"; managing individual performance; having difficult conversations.   We'll meet weekly in midtown Manhattan.  

For more on Management Pro, click to my new website!   I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Be well!

And thank you, everyone, for your well-wishes and support in my new endeavor.

Anne Libby   

(212) 513-7385