Executive Development Blog

How to Identify High-Potential Talent in the Workplace

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jan 29, 2015 1:25:09 PM

The ability to recognize high-potential talent builds an organization’s competitive advantage for the future and allows an organization to fill mission-critical roles. Currently, there is a problem with the effectiveness of organizations to identify high-potential employees, and many organizations lack formal, high-potential development programs. The adoption of such programs will help organizations retain these valuable employees.Setting Organizational Goals- UNC Executive Development

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Topics: high-potential talent

Accelerating Diversity for a Better Bottom Line

Posted by Kip Kelly on Dec 9, 2014 10:43:00 AM

Below is an excerpt from a recent white paper written by Horace McCormick, a program director here at UNC Executive Development.  The paper explores the value of diversity and offers tips to help organizations leverage diversity to boost the bottom line.


Organizations rich in ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation diversity are more innovative, creative, and demonstrate better decision making and problem solving, all of which leads to an improved bottom line (Philips, 2014). Josh Greenberg from The Multicultural Advantage website also notes that diversity boosts an organization’s adaptability because it helps employees generate a better variety of solutions to problems and allocation of resources than more homogeneous workforces. Diversity also helps employers more effectively offer a broader range of services because they retain employees with a deeper set of skills and experiences (like language and cultural understanding) that can give their organizations a competitive advantage by providing more effective services on a global basis (Greenberg, n.d.). Diverse organizations also foster a variety of viewpoints, and when CEOs and leaders really take heed, can generate better ideas that lead to improved creativity and innovation (Blanchard, 2014).

There have been a number of studies that demonstrate the benefits of workforce diversity. A 2012 study by business professors Cristian Deszo from the University of Maryland and David Ross from Columbia University found that having women at the top management levels led to an increase of $42 million in firm value. The study also examined “innovation intensity” and found that organizations which promoted innovation intensity experienced more financial gains when women were part of the top leadership team (Philips, 2014).

Diversity white paper from UNC Executive Development

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Topics: leadership, Gen Y, UNC, talent management, talent development, high-potential talent, leadership development, multigenerational workforces, learning and development, diversity

On-Demand Leadership Development

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Nov 20, 2014 9:11:55 AM

Read below, a summary on Jessica Brack's white paper discussing the potential of on-demand learning.

Unlocking the Potential of On-Demand Learning in the Workplace

Employees and employers face the same dilemma these days when it comes to keeping skills sharp; neither has the time nor the money to spend on long-term learning and development opportunities.

“It’s a real challenge,” notes Jessica Brack, managing director for UNC’s Executive Development program.  “There is a direct, positive link between providing meaningful learning and development opportunities to employees and job satisfaction--when you train employees, job satisfaction increases, as does employee retention. With budgets being so tight these days, training is too often the first place employers look to cut.”

“On-demand e-learning may be the answer to meeting tight budgets while still offering employees the training and development they need and desire,” reports Brack. Today’s e-learning takes advantage of technological advances to allow all participants to interact and collaborate with each other without the costs (like time, travel and accommodation expenses, etc.) associated with traditional classroom-style instruction. E-learning can save employees valuable time by eliminating travel time and offers much-needed flexibility because it can happen at any time and anywhere.


E-learning has rapidly evolved over the past decade, growing from a traditional, transfer-of-learning approach to include new technologies such as discussion boards, blogs, wikis and other social interaction tools that allow participants to engage with each other and their instructors.

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Topics: leadership, high-potential talent, learning and development, e-learning

The Big Data Talent Gap

Posted by Chad Vamos on Aug 14, 2014 1:03:21 PM

Check out the summary of a white paper by Stan Ahalt and Kip Kelly:

Big data—the massive amounts of information companies collect through web crawlers, social media feeds, server logs, customer service databases, and other sources—is quickly becoming big business in today’s competitive marketplace, and if business leaders haven’t added big data to their strategic agendas yet, they will be compelled to in the near future. Few organizations, however, have the talent with the expertise needed to collect, organize, and analyze the data and to provide meaningful insights. Even fewer organizations have business leaders with the knowledge and experience needed to create value from big data.  HR and talent management professionals should understand how big data will affect their organizations and should be thinking about how best to build big data talent in their organizations.

Big data is transforming every industry as companies realize the opportunities they have to leverage big data analytics in marketing, sales, and operations. Google, for example, uses big data analytics to identify flu outbreaks in the United States in real time—a feat that takes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about two weeks to do because it relies on slower reporting mechanisms. Google can identify the outbreaks faster because it receives more than three billion search queries on a daily basis and saves them all. Through big data analytics, Google was able to identify 45 search terms that, when used in a mathematical model, showed a strong correlation between their predictions and the CDC’s figures.


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Topics: talent management, high-potential talent, data

The Importance of Mentoring in Leadership Development

Posted by Chad Vamos on Jul 17, 2014 9:26:35 AM

Check out the summary of our most recent white paper by Horace McCormick discussing the importance of mentoring in leadership development.

How to Launch a Successful and Sustainable Mentorship Program

Mentoring is a strategic tool that when done right, can attract and retain high-potential talent and accelerate leadership development and readiness. Mentoring is also an effective tool for shaping organizational culture and closing engagement and generational gaps. Employers are increasingly recognizing the benefits of mentoring in leadership development. According to a Corporate Executive Board survey, 25 percent of U.S. companies now host peer-mentoring programs, a significant increase from before the 2007 recession, when only 4 to 5 percent of U.S. companies reported sponsoring mentorship programs. Unfortunately, as many business leaders can attest, it can be quite challenging to develop and maintain successful mentoring programs.


Many mentoring programs miss the mark because of a lack of alignment to business goals and strategy and because they fail to clearly articulate the goals of the program from the outset. Others fail because of poor mentor/mentee matches and insufficient training at the beginning of the program. To avoid these pitfalls and launch successful, enduring mentoring programs, HR should use the following steps:

  • Lay the groundwork – business case, buy-in, sponsorship
  • Prepare for the launch – tools, communicate intentions with laser focus
  • Launch the program and train mentors and mentees on process and tools
  • Build relationships and assess progress and momentum
  • Evaluate effectiveness of the mentoring program and pairings at regular intervals

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Topics: leadership, talent development, high-potential talent, leadership development, learning and development

Talent Management: How to Accelerate Leadership Development

Posted by Nancy Tannenbaum on May 15, 2014 12:00:00 PM

Check out this executive summary of our newest talent management white paper which summarizes findings from the UNC Leadership Survey 2014: How to Accelerate Leadership Development.

Accelerating Leadership Development Research

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an eye-opening statistic: by the year 2020, a quarter of the workforce will be over the age of 55. As large numbers of Baby Boomers retire, organizations are facing the difficult challenge of replacing senior talent with qualified incumbent employees. The remaining younger employees lack the years of experience and knowledge of their predecessors. According to recent research, 47 percent of survey respondents highlight gaps knowledge between current and future leaders as an important issue in their organizations. This shortage in qualified leaders in the midst of impending retirement places pressure on organizations to develop employees into qualified leaders and to do this at a faster rate. In addition, as the pace of change in our knowledge economy continues to increase and the global leadership learning curve becomes longer, there is a need to accelerate the development of leaders. How are organizations developing the knowledge, skills, and experiences of its future leaders to overcome this deficit?

In this signature research, conducted in partnership between the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Human Capital Institute, we investigate ways organizations are accelerating the development of their leaders. From a sample of HR professionals, we can understand the current climate of talent development, including budgets, leadership competencies and anticipated changes for the future. 

The following results were revealed:


  • Organizations are concerned about their leadership bench strength, as 85 percent agree that there is an urgent need to accelerate the development of their leaders.
  • Over a quarter of organizations report that 20 percent or more of their employers will reach the retirement age within the next five years.
  • Senior leaders are not satisfied with current bench strength and are concerned that their high-potentials are unable to meet future business needs. Only forty percent report that their high-potentials can meet future business needs.
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Topics: executive development, executive education, talent management, talent development, high-potential talent, leadership development

Leadership Development Research - Live Webcast May 15th

Posted by Kip Kelly on Apr 3, 2014 9:00:00 AM

We recently partnered with the Human Capital Institute (HCI) to explore how companies accelerate leadership development.  This research project sought to understand the current climate of leadership development including budgets, leadership competencies and anticipated changes for the future. The survey was completed by 378 HR and L&D professionals in February of 2014.
Join us May 15 at 1:00 pm EST as we share results from the study and take questions. 

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Topics: leadership, talent management, talent development, high-potential talent, leadership development

Keeping Up with the Demand for High-Potential Talent

Posted by Kip Kelly on Jan 9, 2014 3:09:19 PM

The following article is featured in the January 2014 issue of Talent Management Magazine.talent-management-mag-logo 

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Topics: leadership, talent management, talent development, high-potential talent