Companies are failing to make best use of their talent because they are still ‘pigeonholing’ people on the basis of their age and experience. That’s the message from Simon Wright, former CEO of Virgin Entertainment and now a US based consultant to fast growing companies.
“In some instances experience can actually get in the way of solving problems, because of the preconceptions it can engender,” say Wright. “There’s a strong argument for approaching challenges with a ‘beginner’s mind’. But achieving this means putting people in place who combine a commercial mindset with the ability to adapt and use common sense.”
Wright cites instances at Virgin where individuals were ‘parachuted’ into areas where they had little or no directly obvious experience. “One woman, for example, went from store manager to IT director to very successful managing director of a new acquisition within three years because of his excellent people management skills .”
According to Wright, who will be delivering a lecture on the theme at the Ochre House Symposium at Wentworth on 14th September, the reason why so many organisations shy away from this approach is a lack of imagination coupled with fear of the consequences. “Businesses of all sizes need to trust in their instincts and take more risks with people if they are going to manage their talent in a truly effective way,” he says.
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Notes for editors
The Ochre House symposium is an annual knowledge sharing event for business leaders and senior HR professionals held at Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey on Wednesday 14th September. The theme of this year’s event is “Re-defining Business Value Through a Talent Centric Approach” . Speakers at this year’s event include Simon Wright - former CEO and President, Virgin, Gyan Nagpal - former Head of Talent for APAC, Deutsche Bank, Arvinder Dhesi - former Group Talent Director and David Stephenson - Head of Learning and Development, Telefónica O2. More information is available at the events website (www.ochrehouse.com) or contact Prashanie Dharmadasa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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