Is Your Organization Building a World-Class Talent Pipeline?

By Bill Henderson and Daniel Linna Jr.

If your answer is “no,” keep reading. Step 1 is to identify the type and quantity of the skills you need. Step 2 is to conduct a careful build-versus-buy analysis. Step 3 is … who are we kidding? Very few legal service organizations take the time to plan out a talent pipeline strategy and follow it with discipline.

One organization that has actually done this, however, is Cisco’s legal department. According to Steve Harmon, deputy general counsel and head of legal operations at Cisco, the planning and construction of a talent pipeline is a “Quadrant II” activity.

What’s a Quadrant II activity?

If we plot all organizational tasks onto a 2×2 matrix based on level of urgency and level of importance, we end with four quadrants. Harmon learned this technique while an information systems major at Brigham Young University. At the time, Stephen Covey was on the BYU faculty and taught a course based on his “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” research.

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