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, including GE, Verizon, Novartis, Dupont, Thomson Corporation, Honeywell, KLM, Bank of America, and MeadWestvaco. He has shared his insights with many others through teaching and writing.
Born in India, Charan moved to the US to attend Harvard Business School, where he earned MBA and doctorate degrees. After receiving his doctorate degree, he served on the Harvard Business School faculty.
Charan is the author of "The Talent Masters," "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done," and many other books and articles.
Question: What are the best ways for leaders to attract and nurture great talent?
Ram Charan: The most important point about talent is for the leaders to understand that their effectiveness is directly related to the effectiveness of the talent they actually are responsible for. To motivate them beyond the money and the status and titles, it is helping the talent realize their potential. This is where they become the magnet. They provide challenges, they are very good at judging what the raw talent of a person is, and if that talent fits with the assignment, the energy comes. And that is a great secret. Most leaders fail by not knowing what the person’s real raw talent is. This is true today more in the knowledge workers whereas, in the past, the factory workers, there was less use of the brain. Today it’s the use of brain, it’s the use of social networks and it’s the use of the information that gets generated every second.
So the leaders of today really need to invest their time to really find out what is person’s god’s gift, how to expend it, how to hone it in, and should not forget, the brain has, for all practical purposes, unlimited capacity.
There have been many leaders in the past at the top who, through the incentive of high bonuses are hoping the people will work harder. They can work hard or harder, but if the talent doesn’t fit, it works in the wrong direction. So that the worst practice is assuming money alone will do this, is the wrong practice.
Recorded January 4, 2011
Interviewed by Max Miller
Directed by Jonathan Fowler
Produced by Elizabeth Rodd