Knowledge, Talent and Capability Development Programmes

Knowledge, Talent and Capability Development Programmes based on Critical Success Factors and Winning Ways

Compared with the effort devoted to general training, ‘leadership’ and the development of strategy, often relatively little time is spent on helping particular workgroups to access knowledge of how to excel at key tasks when and wherever required, and the delivery of strategy and policies, especially by those in the front-line and who can contribute directly to the achievement of priority corporate objectives. While much generic knowledge, talent and change management and other advice is offered to those struggling to cope with costly, complex, time consuming and disruptive transformation programmes, less guidance is offered on quicker and more cost-effective ways of achieving beneficial results and delivering multiple objectives.

Available Support

Key findings of many of the investigations led by Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas into the differentiating approaches of high performers in the areas below are now available in publication, presentation and course module form. These can be combined and adapted to provide bespoke support programmes that help under performing boards, workgroups and companies to adopt the winning ways of their higher performing peers. The experience of firms adopting elements of such support suggests workgroup productivity and corporate performance can be transformed to deliver greater commercial success for organisations and greater personal satisfaction for individuals.

Bespoke programmes can include customised presentations, courses, diagnostics, best practice guidance, reviews, methodologies, consultancy and support tools to help companies build critical success factors and how high performers operate into their processes and practices. The approach outlined in this and forthcoming reports can be quickly and systematically rolled out across the largest of organisations independently of other initiatives, corporate cultures, and available technologies.

Underpinning Investigations

The knowledge and support provided to enable existing people to excel at key and difficult tasks is based upon a series of investigations led by Prof. Coulson-Thomas into why some people are so much more effective than others who undertake similar activities in equivalent circumstances. Investigating teams identify what high achievers do differently in areas such as visioning, communicating, building relationships and businesses, competitive bidding, pricing, corporate learning, exploiting know-how and transforming public services.

Critical success factors for key business development activities and the major drivers of corporate performance have been identified, and the findings are remarkably consistent across sectors, professions and different sizes of organisation. Findings to date suggest most companies devote much effort to activities that do not differentiate or make a difference to whether or not particular workgroups succeed or fail at activities that determine corporate profitability, survival and growth. At the same time, every company so far examined is missing opportunities to improve performance and generate incremental revenues.

Areas examined range from understanding the business environment to purchasing and new ways of working. Because most success factors concern approaches and behaviours, investigating teams can distinguish the practices of high performers or winners from those of low achieving losers. They have also examined and compared the various ways in which organisations are seeking to transform their performance in order to identify the approaches which can most quickly and cost-effectively change behaviours and achieve results.

Support Building Blocks

In addition to approaches and methodologies over two dozen individual books and research reports, many with case studies and checklists, have been produced. The publications are designed to bring together findings for those setting out with a particular purpose, for example to win more business; differentiate; exploit know-how; innovate or create new options and offerings; attract, motivate, enable and support entrepreneurs; implement projects; transform organisations into flexible networks for competing and winning; and enabling people to excel at difficult jobs.

Knowledge, talent and capability development programmes and support systems can draw upon a portfolio of over thirty courses which can be tailored to the particular requirements of individual businesses. Companies and other organisations in over 40 countries, and locations from South Africa to Siberia, have already benefited from presentations and courses, while several hundred companies have used methodologies and tools produced by individual projects led by Prof. Coulson-Thomas.

Research databases have been constructed so that commercial companies and professional firms can also now benchmark important activities such as winning business, building key account relationships and purchasing. Completing a questionnaire enables them to compare their own approaches with those of their peers and most successful competitors who have participated in a continuing investigation led by Prof. Coulson-Thomas. Participating companies receive a bespoke report and confidentiality is observed.

A bespoke knowledge development programme and/or support system can bring various elements together in an integrated package that can transform overall corporate performance, and simultaneously contribute to multiple objectives. According to Prof. Coulson-Thomas, “Identified winning ways can be quickly adopted. Every participant in the underpinning research programme could boost performance by embracing additional critical success factors and adopting more winning approaches.”

Creating a Bespoke Development Programme

Boards and directors and their teams can design corporate events, masterclasses, workshops, and other support activities, by selecting a combination of modules adapted to address particular development needs. Outlines, presentations, exercises and handouts are available for the topics mentioned in the next two paragraphs, all of which have been delivered within at least one development programme.

Areas in which findings and support resources particularly relevant to boards are available include leadership, creating high performance organisations, understanding the business and market environment, issue monitoring and management, competitive intelligence, visioning, corporate governance, creating an effective board, selecting and developing directors, risk management, compliance, differentiation, implementing projects and strategy, innovation, and creating a competitive company.

Support is also available for key corporate activities such as creating new offerings, winning business, competitive bidding, pricing, building customer relationships, collaboration and partnering, managing supply chain relationships, customer service, providing technical support, process and service improvement, re-engineering and transformation, change management, corporate communications, new ways of working, corporate learning, purchasing, knowledge management, exploitation and entrepreneurship, workgroup productivity, internationalisation, supporting network organisations, and achieving commercial success and personal fulfilment.

Each topic module, or area in which knowledge and support is available, is based upon one or more investigations into what the most effective work groups do differently and benefits from continuing work with ambitious boards, senior management teams and entrepreneurs to improve performance in particular areas. Handouts and support provided can include summary comparisons of successful and unsuccessful approaches to activities that are critical for delivering priority objectives.

Further Information

Requirements can be discussed, and information on knowledge, talent, director, board, management and capability development and support programmes obtained, by contacting Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, leader of the research and best practice programme.