Posts Tagged ‘Agilent’

Press Release: The Talent Masters

October 29th, 2010

“Enduring principles and powerful practices combine in this must-read human resource manifesto for leaders at every level.”

— Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric

In a new book, GE HR icon Bill Conaty and legendary business guru Ram Charan put it simply, “No Talent… No Numbers.”


Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers

By Bill Conaty and Ram Charan

Is managing talent a “soft art” or can it be as rigorous, precise, and verifiable as the analysis of a financial statement?

Only two men have the combined experience and insight to bring the practice of talent development into the cache of modern business practice: former General Electric Senior Vice President for Human Resources Bill Conaty and legendary business advisor Ram Charan. In THE TALENT MASTERS: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers (Crown Business; November 2010), Conaty and Charan combine their unparalleled expertise to break down the specifics of how companies regarded as world-class talent masters analyze, understand, shape, and build talent to achieve stellar performance, decade after decade.

Few companies have so far discovered how to manage their talent really well. But those that do have shattered the myth that the judgment of human potential is a “soft” art. They develop talent with the same discipline and intensity as they manage their finances, and as a result they achieve unprecedented levels of accuracy in judging individuals. They use formal and informal social processes to identify and consciously develop leaders’ talents. These processes are rigorous, iterative and repetitive. Just as disciplined financial analysis brings meaning to numbers, the processes convert subjective judgment about the talent of a person into an objective, and verifiable, set of observations. 

Some of these companies have been talent leaders for decades; others are works in progress. Regardless, whether old hands or newcomers, they follow the core principles of talent mastery consistently and intensively—with almost religious fervor.

In The Talent Masters, the authors examine:

— General Electric, which has long been the “gold standard” in developing world-class leaders, yet, prior to The Talent Masters, no one has revealed the real how-tos of the GE system. For example, Conaty and Charan reveal how GE carries out an instantaneous, same-day succession when a key leader leaves (an event that all too often causes chaos elsewhere as recently seen at Hewlett Packard); or how its leaders react when a recognizably talented person stumbles, a situation typically resolved elsewhere with a pink slip; and how it integrates an outsider into its hard-nosed, driven, and close-knit culture.

— How Proctor & Gamble, for decades, has been the forerunner for developing global leaders by expanding both their capability and capacity to embrace emerging market and consumer insights.

— Why Hindustan Unilever CEOs, and other top leaders, travel five plus times per month to remote villages to spend hours coaching recent recruits.

— How, in a world becoming ever more sophisticated, Agilent turns talented technologists into general managers versed in both the technical complexity of their specialties as well as a deep understanding of how the business makes money.

— How Novartis helps leaders discover the emotional etchings buried within their “inner core” and determine whether they can bear the stress and pressure of the modern business environment.

— How Goodyear, a tired rust-belt company, LGE Electronics, an inwardly focused Korean firm, UniCredit, the Italian bank transforming itself into a pan-European institution, and private equity firms like Clayton Dubilier & Rice and Texas Pacific Group, once viewed as the barbarians at the gate, rapidly reinvented themselves using the seven talent master principles crystallized by Conaty and Charan.

Talent is the leading indicator of whether a business is up or down, a success or a failure. Conaty and Charan say “nothing is more important to a company’s performance than its ability to develop and deploy talent with ‘the right stuff.’ Almost everything else, from economic downturns and interest rate upticks to surprise moves by competitors, is an excuse.”

THE TALENT MASTERS is the definitive tool for developing and managing that crucial key to a company’s success. The authors address the questions—How do you accurately judge raw talent? Understand a person’s unique combination of traits? Develop that talent? Convert what supposedly are “soft” subjective judgments about people into objective criteria that are as specific, verifiable and concrete as the contents of a financial statement?—that will help elevate any company to the ranks of the talent masters.


BILL CONATY, long recognized as a world leader in his field, recently retired as senior vice president for human resources at General Electric, the company consistently ranked as without peer in developing world-class leaders. The management development and training programs that Conaty engineered provided GE with one of the world’s most talent-rich management benches. Conaty has served as chairman of the Human Resource Policy Association, and the National Academy of Human Resources, where he was named as a Distinguished Fellow, the organization’s highest honor. He has served as a personal advisor to the CEOs of companies around the world, including P&G, Boeing, Dell, Goodyear, LG Electronics (Korea), and UniCredit (Italy). Conaty is often featured in Businessweek and The Wall Street Journal, and is very active on the worldwide speaking circuit.

RAM CHARAN is a highly sought after business advisor and speaker, famous among senior executives for his uncanny ability to solve their toughest business problems. For more than thirty-five years, Dr. Charan has worked behind the scenes with top executives at some of the world’s most successful companies, providing advice that is down-to-earth and relevant and that takes into account the real-world complexities of business. He was named as a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources, the organization’s highest honor, and was India’s Economic Times Global Indian of the Year for 2008-09. Dr. Charan is also the coauthor of Execution, The Game-Changer, and Confronting Reality and the author of What the CEO Wants You to Know, Know-How, and Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty. He is a frequent contributor to Fortune, has been profiled in Fast Company and Newsweek, and has appeared on CNBC, MSNBC, and CNN.

THE TALENT MASTERS by Bill Conaty and Ram Charan

On-sale: November 9, 2010; Hardcover; 320 pages; ISBN: 978-0-307-46026-4; Price: $27.50

Also available as an eBook

For more information, contact Dennelle Catlett at 212-782-9486 or

The Crown Publishing Group