Mastering Talent Development

“The Talent Masters” is a new book written by Bill Conaty, the recently retired senior vice president for human resources at General Electric Co., and Ram Charan, a business adviser and author, that focuses on talent development.

“The Talent Masters” rests on three principles:

  1. A focus on talent development. “Talent masters” claim that they spend more than a third of their time developing their people.
  2. Differentiation. Talent masters create a meritocracy by constantly evaluating their people
  3. Candor. Ruthless honesty in evaluating the performance of people and businesses.

The book begins with GE-related examples, but some of its most arresting stories come from outside the company. A particularly interesting chapter involves Hindustan Unilever, Unilever’s $3.5 billion Indian subsidiary. The company routinely evaluates candidates for management jobs by putting several applicants together to discuss a specific business issue in a group. This shows how they interact with each other and who has leadership potential.

Wall Street Journal columnist Alan Murray concludes that the book “offers a valuable window into the skills of talent development.”

Does your company have a Talent Development Strategy?  Contact a senior consultant with the Ember Carriers Leadership Group for a complimentary 30 minute consultation by send an email to

Source: Wall Street Journal (12/08/10) Murray, Alan


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