Restocking the Talent Pond

Fulcrum Associates - Leadership Training and Development, Team BuildingLast month I attended the Virginia Leadership Summit in Richmond. Convened by Virginia Senator Mark Warner, it was a gathering of people who are active in the over 30 community leadership programs across the state.While it was officially about leadership, the discussions focused on the various challenges and solutions for developing a workforce that has the skills required to meet the job demands of employers in the new economy. The conversations were Virginia-centric but they applied to local and regional economies across the US and Canada, as well as many other nations beyond.Here are just a handful of observations and key points, in no particular order, that I took from the conference:

  • The idea of employers joining forces in a region to build up, through aligned or combined apprenticeship and internship programs, a pool of appropriately qualified individuals from whom the companies can hire. To quote Tom Dale of Rolls Royce, “let’s stock the pond collectively and then fish the pond individually.”
  • The greatest skill shortages are in the skilled trades, not the professional and white collar sectors.
  • William Bell of Newport News Shipping says our K-12 system is currently designed to prepare 90% of students to qualify and go through a 4-year university program. We are training many of our kids for a path that they will never take.
  • Following a technical trades educational stream, however, doesn’t cut you off from pursuing a university degree later on. Many do so in mid career as they move up into managerial positions.
  • Power generator Areva has forged partnerships with local community colleges where students in a 2-year degree program work for the company temporarily during its peak employment demand months.
  • “It takes a village” is a popular expression in today’s lexicon. Well, it takes a region to develop a regional workforce’s skill set for sustained employment in high quality jobs. This means partnerships between universities, 2-year colleges, employers and local government. No longer can one educational institution do it alone.

Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling summed it up well: “The states that figure out how to do this well will be the ones which will dominate the economy, going forward.”


Ian CookBest wishes,

Ian Cook


Changing On The Job by Jennifer Garvey Berger What I’m Reading

Changing on the Job by Jennifer Garvey BergerI’m just starting to read this. It is a dive into the subject of adult development and its direct link to leadership effectiveness. I regard this as one of THE two cutting edges (along with neuroscience) of leadership development. The book first explains the various levels of adult development and then speaks particularly to those of us whose roles support the growth of people in organizations–BTW, this includes you, managers. Changing on the Job comes recommended by both Bill Torbert and Robert Kegan, two giants in the field.

Terra Nova In the Spotlight this Month

IN-HOUSE MEETINGS FOR YOUR MANAGEMENT GROUPYou don’t always want a full day (or longer) training program. Often you have time for only a shorter “injection” of skills and ideas. For example, do you convene your full management team, from across the organization, for an annual meeting? Perhaps you use the time to go over the past year’s results, finalize next year’s budget, announce a new initiative, or launch a new product or service.With all your managers together in one place, what a perfect time to include a shot of leadership skills development in your agenda! We have just such a session to meet your needs here. We can deliver a high powered program of 1 to 3 hours.

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