Analysis Of Strategic Talent Management Architecture


Many business gurus have based themselves on a comprehensive review of the scholarly and practitioner literatures, they have developed the Strategic Talent Management architecture. This framework consists of the following two major sources that influence an organization's performance effectiveness:

(a) Leadership drivers and

(b) Organizational enablers.

Figure: The Strategic Talent Management Architecture

Source: Korn and Ferry Institute 2009

Drivers are those factors that derive, clarify, motivate, and communicate (i.e., "drive") the fundamental business of the corporation. There are two different leadership drivers - vision and vigor. Organizational Enablers are those factors that provide structure, talent competencies, and execution in an organization. Organizational enablers include three key dimensions - capability, architecture, and action. Finally, they identify two additional factors in their model. They call them company-wide Enterprise Accelerators, and they consist of Enterprise Alignment and Enterprise Agility. These latter two factors ensure that leadership drivers and organizational enablers mesh with the external and internal environments relevant to the company, as well as facilitate the adaptability of internal and examine its impact on the operations of an organization.

Leadership Drivers

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Leadership is a central variable in nearly every model. Senior leaders usually establish the organization's mission, identify target customers, determine the products and services delivered, hire the managers who execute plans, and create a shared vision that rallies stakeholders to drive toward shared objectives. In many ways, leaders are analogous to the prime mover of a machine. The model contains two dimensions within the Leadership Drivers factor:

(a) Vision and

(b) Vigor.


Vision represents the ability to effectively define the business and set its direction. Vision requires a high level of general business acumen, an ability to establish strong, effective governance for the organization, and the willingness and ability to shift course as required by the changing business conditions. Porter (2008) contended that understanding the forces that shape industry competition is the first key to developing strategy. Lichtenstein and Dade (2007) asserted that delivering the highest shareholder value comes through aligning the leaders 'vision to the goals and strategy, and that this process can be aided or hindered by the extent to which leaders understand each other's needs and values. Crossan, Vera, and Nanjad (2008) proposed that leaders need to demonstrate a proactive stance in aligning strategy, the environment, and the organization under one vision. Montgomery (2008) emphasized the need for leaders to see strategy and vision as a dynamic process requiring ongoing monitoring and tweaking.


Vigor represents the ability to drive the enterprise forward. It requires that leaders and employees possess an infectious passion for the business and strategy, unflagging energy and drive, and relentless, aggressive, and competitive spirit.

For illustration, Kanji (2008) posited that the ability of leaders to drive the organization toward quality and excellence is the prime aspect of organizational effectiveness. Burke, Sims, Lazzara, and Salas (2007) also argued that a leader's ability to foster organizational effectiveness is the degree to which subordinates and co-workers trust the leader to get the job done. Paradoxically, effective leaders work to both engender predictability and order as well as to produce organizational change (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2005). The use of language in the literature to describe the competitive characteristics of leaders reinforces the notion of vigor.

The organizational Enablers

Organizational enablers represent the talent, processes, and structures put in place by the leaders to achieve the business goals. This factor represents the key elements in the business machine that are driven by the prime mover - leadership - to deliver the organization's work output. The organizational enablers' factor is comprised of three dimensions:


architecture, and



Capability denotes the organization's capacity to empower it to achieve its strategic objectives. It represents the deep expertise in mission-critical competencies required by the organization's mission and unique value proposition.

Capabilities in this sense are inherent to the organization, not simply the collective aggregate of individuals. According to scholars, capabilities influencing organizational effectiveness can include talent management systems (Bassi & McMurrer, 2008), information technology (Batra, 2006), supply chain management (Carter & Rogers, 2008), and research and development (Tirpak, Miller, Schwartz, & Kashdan, 2007). Ulrich and Smallwood (2004) contended that organizational capabilities are derived (in part) from the manifested abilities of the company's employees.


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Architecture refers to the organization's hierarchical structure and organizing principles. It includes the structure and design that serves the organization's business model and unique value proposition.

In their seminal work, Katz and Kahn (1978) challenged leaders to achieve effectiveness by moving beyond traditional, bureaucratic structures. Kim and Mauborgne (2009) emphasized the role strategy should play in shaping structure. Oftentimes, they noted, leaders are prone to allowing their organization's structure to be dictated by its environment rather than by strategy. Raisch (2008) also suggested that companies striving for profitable growth need an organizational design that balances mechanistic and organic structures. Many authors assert that organizational culture can be a source of competitive advantage if it is aligned with strategy (e.g., Sadri & Lees, 2001).


Action represents the organization's ability to develop, implement, and execute tactics that directly serve the strategic goals. Bossidy and Charan (2002) argued that the biggest obstacle to organizational effectiveness is the absence of execution. Mankins and Steele (2005) found that most of the executives they surveyed failed to deliver the financial performance forecasted in their long-range plans. These authors concluded that the gaps between strategy and performance often are not analyzed by typical organizational metrics. Finally, Higgins (2005) viewed execution as so critical that he added "Strategic Performance" to the McKinsey 7-Smodel to emphasize the effort needed to drive outcomes.