Many CEOs believe implementing a fresh, new strategic plan will lead to success and growth, but often they’re missing a critical piece: having the talent with the right skills and competencies to execute.
Understanding and addressing gaps between goals and talent has become necessary in order to gain a competitive advantage. Currently, only 31% of executives map leadership competencies to their business strategy, according to the 2021 State of Talent Optimization Report from The Predictive Index, a Vistage member company.
David Zerfoss, a Vistage Chair based in Charlotte, North Carolina, encourages members to conduct an evaluation exercise to identify gaps in talent and skills on a regular basis throughout the year. He calls it an essential activity to “build a bridge to the future.”
“You must clearly identify the functions, deliverables and talent to execute the plan, if you ultimately wish to build a successful, sustainable and relevant business,” he says. “You can’t scale on past business plans or skills. To grow — and grow exponentially — you’ve got to grow skills dramatically.”
Need a simple tool to help you align your goals with your talent? Download the Leadership Evaluation Guide at bit.ly/vistage-leg. Go through the exercise with your Chair, uncover any gaps and make an action plan.
Robby Shaul, President of PMMC, is a member of one of Zerfoss’ four Vistage groups. Shaul takes his Chair’s guidance to heart. “We revisit the skillsets of the team constantly as we’re changing our organization and shifting our culture,” he says. “We’re always asking, ‘What am I missing? What am I not getting?’”
Shaul says he thinks it’s important to develop leaders at all levels, and he’s among the few to put belief into action: while 83% of organizations believe it’s important to develop leaders at every level of the company, only 5% of businesses have implemented leadership development at all levels, according to the career resources site Zippia.
“You’ve got to grow the skillset of the whole team,” Shaul says, “especially the people who can take their teams and the company to the next level.”
Going through the exercise of identifying talent needs and gaps led Shaul to employ a variety of learning opportunities to grow his staff, including Vistage Leadership Development Programs such as Key Executive for his direct reports, Advancing Leader for experienced managers and Emerging Leader for rising stars. Shaul and two members of his team have also gone through the Vistage Executive Leadership Program in collaboration with Stanford Graduate School of Business.
“Everyone on the team is leveling up,” Shaul says. “People are thinking more strategically and planning quarters out versus days out. They’re solving problems on their own and proactively driving improvements. From a retention standpoint, employees are asking, ‘How do I grow within the organization?’”
PMMC’s investment in talent hits the bottom line too. The company has grown an average of 20% per year over the last three to five years, Shaul says. “We couldn’t do that without implementing better processes and building the skillsets of our team and infusing new talent to augment when necessary. … That’s really helped us scale and plan for our future.”
Since the program’s launch in 2017, 265 leaders in the Vistage community have graduated from the Vistage Executive Leadership Program in collaboration with Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The year-long program is a unique combination of online, self-paced lessons from Stanford faculty and monthly workshops facilitated by Vistage Chairs who help members apply concepts for immediate impact on their business’ strategy and growth. Join us in congratulating our 2021 graduates:
If you’re a member looking to sharpen your strategic thinking, spur transformative change, or better align your strategy and organization’s structure, learn more at vistage.com/stanford.