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The Talent Mandateby Andrew Benett Buy
The Talent Mandate - Why Smart Companies Put People First

I Am ...

a talent manager

Culture is what happens when you are not looking.

— David Wilkie, CEO, World 50

Ideas flow only sluggishly when talent find themselves confined to musty silos, glued to their workstations, made to keep to themselves all day.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

From the perspective of employees, culture is what makes some workplaces a pleasure to go to and others a source of dread as Monday morning draws near.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

The talent challenge is, if people are ambitious and want to win in a knowledge economy, they are always looking for new challenges every 18 months. So you must rotate them. It’s your own darn fault if they leave you, otherwise.

— David Kenny, CEO, The Weather Company

The way I see it, if you are only hiring to fill open positions, your business model is nothing but the status quo.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

What most of us are looking for—or should be looking for—are employees who do not simply fill a position but create one unique to them.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

With the influx of millennials into the workforce, who are not attached to the company forever and want more out of life than just a paycheck, companies have got to create a compelling environment and mission for their employees.

— Henry Sauer, Vice President of Human Resources, Rackspace

You can replicate what a company does, but not its culture—that has become a business’s biggest differentiator and advantage

— Deborah Borg, Vice President of Human Resources, Dow Chemical Company

…perks, we can survive without. The culture, we cannot.

— Kris Szafranski, Director of Organizational Change, The Nerdery

I am looking more and more with an eye toward passion and energy and smarts. The skills can be picked up in whatever area you need.

— Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments; Chairman of the Board, DreamWorks Animation SKG

If you really want to communicate trust, you should constantly be looking for ways to instill in your talent a feeling both that they belong to the company and that the company belongs to them.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Companies are looking for the future, but they hire on the past. If people are truly innovative, they probably have not done it yet.

— Paul Brown, CEO, Arby’s

In the past, we tended to look for mental horsepower and skill sets, but mental agility is something we now particularly value as the world gets smaller every day.

— Carlos Abrams-Rivera, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Mondelez International

I am glad to hire people who are smart, but I am more glad to hire people who are agile and flexible.

— Carlos Abrams-Rivera, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Mondelez International

People need to work amid ambiguity, to be adaptive and agile. If you can find the right people, they will want to stay and roll up their sleeves.

— Bob O’Leary, Head of Global Marketing, Citi

If you set the right tone in saying goodbye today, you may find yourself saying hello to the same talent at some point down the road—but in the next go-around, they will bring enhanced abilities and experience.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Everything is about talent now.

— John Sculley, former President, Pepsi-Cola and former CEO, Apple

Why would we measure an individual’s productivity in terms of the sheer number of hours he or she puts in at the office? That’s nonsensical.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

People want a sense of personal fulfillment and acknowledgment. You cannot take a cookiecutter approach; people are not cookies.

— Kelli Richards, Chief Executive, All Access Group

Autonomy, passion, purpose—those are the motivators for people as individuals.

— Kelli Richards, Chief Executive, All Access Group

in the c-suite

Culture is what happens when you are not looking.

— David Wilkie, CEO, World 50

Values are the underlying truth that defines who we all are and who we want to be.

— Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

There are three or four things the CEO simply must get right. One of them is culture.

— John Ciancutti, Director of Engineering, Facebook

Culture depends on the leadership. The leader sets the tone for the team.

— Belinda Lang, Marketing Consultant

Everything about you sends a message— from the size of your office to the hours you work, to the way you treat your subordinates.

— Randy Altschuler, Executive Chairman, CloudBlue

Everybody in senior management must be culture carriers. It is empty of meaning if you don’t walk the walk every day.

— Kathryn Hall, CEO and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Hall Capital Partners

Having the right talent—and creating an environment in which they will flourish—is now the prime differentiator between companies that innovate and grow and those that are doomed to stagnate and sputter out.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

If you do not grab the very best talent and nurture and grow them, rest assured your competitors will swipe them—and your business opportunities— right out from under you.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Survival lies one way; extinction, the other. And talent makes all the difference.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steel-making.

— Richard Florida, Trends Expert

In the future, the strongest companies will be distinguished by the CEO’s hands-on involvement in identifying, grooming, optimizing, and retaining talent.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

I strove to create a culture where people didn’t need to park any part of themselves at the door, especially not their hearts and souls.

— Walt Freese, former CEO, Ben & Jerry's and Stonyfield

As a top executive, you are not just overseeing scattered individuals. You are responsible for organizing them into effective teams—the sum totals of which are greater than its parts—by the magic alchemy of good team building.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Team making is a subtle art, but it is one that all of us in the C-suite have got to master—for teams are the talent wave of tomorrow.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

The best CEOs… spend a tremendous amount of time with their people, making sure they understand their roles. It is not directive anymore, but being a servant: ‘How can I help you?’

— Justin Menkes, author of Better Under Pressure, consultant, Spencer Stuart

…to be an effective leader in a highly digital environment, you need to make room for individual dialogues, face-to-face. You need to look them in the eye and hold them accountable.

— Eric Motley, Managing Director, Henry Crown Fellowship Program at Aspen Institute

For younger people today, a higher purpose is of paramount importance. And they should worry about it and be passionate about driving change and pushing companies to do good: They will be the ones living in it!

— Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

Putting people first is central to our business.

— Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

Everyone is watching the top brass: Are they in the trenches with the foot soldiers or studying lines on the map from some cushy headquarters far from the front?

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

building a company

It is a thin line between success and failure.

— John Sculley, former President, Pepsi-Cola and former CEO, Apple

If you look at the Dow in 1910, only one of those companies is still around. Little organizations have nothing to lose; they are willing to take risks. Most old-line businesses tend to get left behind.

— Frank Biondi, former President/CEO, Viacom and former Chairman/CEO, Universal Studios

The seeds are being sown today for a very different type of company, culture, and employee.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Rather than closely monitored and hierarchical environments, workplaces are becoming more collective and holistic—highly interdependent networks in which everybody’s interests are woven together.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

In the Industrial Age, products were king. Today, business success is more likely to center on something far less tangible: ideas.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

The new talent model is based in large part on a fundamental premise: You need to trust your employees to do the job you hired them to do.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

The great challenge is, as scales increase, to maintain an innovative, disruptive culture. Because someone is going to eat you up. You want it to be you.

— John Ciancutti, Director of Engineering, Facebook

You get bigger; you have more at stake. You become more averse to risk. You become less spectacularly good . . . and bad.

— John Ciancutti, Director of Engineering, Facebook

You are looking for the caveman with the flint in his hand who then figures out how to create the spark.

— Elizabeth Zea, Partner, JUEL Consulting

Throughout history, product ideas typically have started out with a person being frustrated by something…and then figuring out a way of fixing it. That is how we ended up with everything from the disposable diaper to earmuffs.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

As companies get flatter, we need people with integrity, with self-confidence, who will take risks and take responsibility. It is OK to fail—just take responsibility, and give credit to others when things do work out.

— Stewart McHie, Program Director, Catholic University

A company that is creative is not dogmatic, and therefore it is more inspiring and dynamic.

— Alexis Nasard, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Heineken

In this hyperinnovative and hyperdynamic environment, where tomorrow will be entirely different from today, you need people who see the big picture.

— Dolf van den Brink, Managing Director, Heineken USA

For your top talent, flexibility is an absolutely essential offering. You have to provide this if you do not want to lose really good people over piddling issues concerning scheduling.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Companies are increasingly making the connection between culture, values, talent, and society. And the ones who don’t are going to pay the price: They will be losing talent.

— Walt Freese, former CEO, Stonyfield Farms and Ben & Jerry’s

building my career

I think the whole notion of talent is changing. It is more about what you know, what skills you go acquire, and not just your resume.

— Stephanie Tilenius, Former Vice-President, eBay and Google; current Executive, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Today’s business environment requires more agility and more cross-functional collaboration. Managers have to have better awareness of not only their own jobs but the world around them.

— John Costello, President, Global Marketing & Innovation, Dunkin’ Brands

People are no longer starting at a company and then spending decades there. Now, it’s a string of experiences.

— Joe Kennedy, CEO/President, Pandora Internet Radio

In the old days you stayed a long time, in a kind of indentured servitude; you worked your way up, and there were hierarchies. Today, the average tenure in Silicon Valley is two years.

— Stephanie Tilenius, Former Vice-President, eBay and Google; current Executive, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

In the past, the ascent up the corporate ladder was measured in time. But with digital it’s, ‘Can you handle the task, or not?’

— Matt Howell, Chief Digital Officer, Havas Creative Group

…it is extremely important to consider the company’s core values before applying to make sure that they align with your own values. If you firmly believe in a company you are working for and love what you are doing at that company, you will ultimately be more successful.

— Mike Bailen, Recruiting Manager, Zappos

The job of manager is about coaching and guiding and serving the people that work for you, not being directive and telling them what to do.

— Henry Sauer, Vice President of Human Resources, Rackspace

…you need to constantly be listening to the chatter in the group. You have got to have a pulse on what is going on.

— Bob O’Leary, Head of Global Marketing, Citi

The people you are managing are so global, and there is so much data your direct reports have that you do not have. You have no choice but to be more dependent now on your people and their expertise.

— Justin Menkes, author of Better Under Pressure, consultant, Spencer Stuart

I put 25-year-olds in front of chief marketing officers from multibillion-dollar companies, and they are incredibly persuasive. I think clients are smart enough to realize that this is not a stupid oversight, but rather, we are showcasing somebody of real ability.

— Matt Howell, Havas Creative Group

Talent—almost the definition of the word—has changed lately. It is not just the ability to do specific things anymore, but who has the mindset to get around what may have worked four years ago but is not adequate to what needs to be done today.

— Steve Forbes, CEO, Forbes, Inc.

The old attitudes won’t cut it anymore.

— Steve Forbes, CEO, Forbes, Inc.

Millennials consume so much content every day, and we have a real notion of how that can improve what we do in the workplace.

— Daniel Maree, Senior Global Digital Strategist, Havas Worldwide

I love people who come from a place of ‘yes’—I say, find the ten reasons an idea could work, not the one reason it would not.

— Bill Damaschke, Chief Creative Officer, DreamWorks Animation SKG

The CEOs that I know tend to be aggressive and want aggressive people working for them; they want people to take smart risks—not stupid risks, but smart risks.

— Peter Bregman, CEO, Bregman Partners

Everyone needs to be an entrepreneur in his or her own career.

— Stephanie Tilenius, Former Vice-President, eBay and Google; current Executive, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

I think the whole notion of talent is changing. It is more about what you know, what skills you go acquire, and not just your resume.

— Stephanie Tilenius, Former Vice-President, eBay and Google; current Executive, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Early career people need to be flexible and adaptable because priorities are changing very quickly. It is not just enough to know your narrow function.

— Belinda Lang, Marketing Consultant

Just being smart is no big deal. Being smart and having a great idea, that’s not unique either. I look for a leader who has the ability to be inspiring regarding what they are trying to do.

— John Sculley, former President, Pepsi-Cola and former CEO, Apple

an academic

In my board meetings, talent is front and center. Where I am sitting, the people issue is everything... Talent is critical. Products and services are not enough.

— Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments; Chairman of the Board, DreamWorks Animation SKG

The old ways of working are neither sufficiently nimble nor sufficiently speedy to accomplish all that we need to in the new century. We have no choice but to adapt.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Millennials are looking for a much greater balance between life and work—they’ve seen that the brass ring may not be there at the end, so they want a good balance of life throughout the journey.

— Jim Davey, Vice President of Global Marketing, Timberland

An innovator will perform 300 times more than the average person. Innovators are constantly engaged. They don’t need doughnuts or even money.

— John Sullivan, Professor of Management, San Francisco State University

It is a world of continual reinvention now. I want a labor force that reinvents itself every day.

— Michael Powell, Former Chairman of the FCC, Head of National Cable & Telecommunications Association

We will all be in school forever.

— Leighanne Levensaler, Vice President of Application Project Management, Workday

Instead of the rebirth of corporate universities, I believe we will see a rise in higher education institutions partnering with businesses to offer requalification in the sciences, engineering, and healthcare that are paid for or subsidized by the company.

— Leighanne Levensaler, Vice President of Application Project Management, Workday

It is all about being a learning human being.

— Stephanie Tilenius, Former Vice-President, eBay and Google; current Executive, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

The people who are most aggressive about learning new skills and trying new things will be the most successful.

— Stephanie Tilenius, Former Vice-President, eBay and Google; current Executive, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

If people come through their educational years without any embrace of the concept of learning, or having learned how to learn, that is a problem. Societally and culturally, we have to embrace the fact that learning is foundational.

— Joe Kennedy, CEO/President, Pandora Internet Radio

People are challenged in today’s world to continue to develop. That is a better and more natural place to be than in the very artificial world of the past, where you worked for a company for 35 years and left with a gold watch.

— Joe Kennedy, CEO/President, Pandora Internet Radio

We need continuing education reoccurring at all levels concerning retention and the importance of talent. We must train all supervisors so they understand that and use 360-degree ratings to make sure they are building strong relationships.

— John Costello, Dunkin’ Brands Group

Liberal arts majors who have studied past events—peering around the corner of yesterday—are uniquely suited to the wizardry of peering around the corner of tomorrow, a skill we all need right now.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

talented

The end of jobs for life means companies can easily jettison deadweight. But it also means top talent can shed companies.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Today, a growing number of employers (and employees) are stressing not longevity within a single field but an individual’s ability to adapt and learn.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Brilliant young engineers today are not going to Google or Apple, but starting their own companies.

— Dan Walker, Founder and CEO, The Human Revolution Studios

…in this hyperinnovative and hyperdynamic environment, where tomorrow will be entirely different from today, you need people who see the big picture.

— Dolf van den Brink, Heineken

Talent is the number one asset we have. If you don’t pay attention to it, it dies on the vine.

— Bob O’Leary, Head of Global Marketing, Citi

Talent cannot … be a second-order chore palmed off down the chain of command. It must be the top business priority of the most senior people in the company—starting with the CEO.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Company culture is the ambient feeling of what is right and what is wrong. An unwritten principle or covenant about right and wrong.

— Alexis Nasard, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Heineken

Businesses must always remind themselves, ‘What is their purpose? What are they trying to do?’—whether the means change or not.

— Steve Forbes, CEO, Forbes, Inc.

Today, the means have changed drastically. I am looking for someone who knows, intellectually or instinctually, that it is a very much changed environment .

— Alexis Nasard, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Heineken

Every great transformation in human history—every great crisis—has propelled some people to success and fortune while burying others. The digital revolution is no exception.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

We are doing things at a relentless rate and confuse being busy with being productive.

— Michael Powell, Former Chairman of the FCC, Head of National Cable & Telecommunications Association

Don’t email me if you are within 30 feet of me. That’s a rule.

— Michael Powell, Former Chairman of the FCC, Head of National Cable & Telecommunications Association

My computer may be an access portal to knowledge . . . it may be a tool . . . but my computer is not Descartes.

— Michael Powell, Former Chairman of the FCC, Head of National Cable & Telecommunications Association

Bad bosses are choking off the lifeblood of American businesses. We need to get rid of them. Or, if you think you may be one of them, you need to turn your act around.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Today, employees expect that they will be trained, developed, and truly will be able to say, ‘I’m going to come out of this job better.’

— Walt Freese, former CEO, Stonyfield Farms and Ben & Jerry’s

I have a vision of a future in which talent is put front and center, properly regarded as central to the business of making money, growing the company, and expanding its reach and influence within the larger community.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

Through talent, I believe, all things are possible.

Andrew Benett, Global President, Havas Worldwide

About the Book

"Our employees are our greatest asset"—it's a cliché companies feel obliged to spout. Some may even believe it. But as with eating healthy food and getting exercise, lip-service doesn't make goals come true. In this groundbreaking book, Andrew Benett explores how truly "talent centric" organizations thrive in today's changing economy.

Based on original research and in-depth interviews with outstanding leaders of talent-driven organizations such as Zappos, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Nestle, Dow Chemical, The Motley Fool, AnswerLab, and more, Benett uncovers emerging trends and benchmarks and shows why it is so important to invest in and develop tomorrow's talent.

The Talent Mandate
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About Andrew

Andrew is the global CEO of Havas Creative Group and Havas Worldwide, one of the largest advertising agencies, with clients that include some of the world's most renowned brands. His previous books include Good for Business: The Rise of the Conscious Corporation and Consumed: Rethinking Business in the Era of Mindful Spending. Andrew is a member of the 2012 class of Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter at @andrewbbenett