Centerlines - December 2008 - (Page 11)

A S S O C I AT E S ’ C O R N E R Succession Planning The airport infrastructure approach to human capital LEA DERSHIP IS T H E most critical suc- cess component of any enterprise and the single most important differentiator. Elevating the human capital issue as one would address infrastructure growth will enable airports to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. The Human Capital Component Historically, airport leadership in the U.S. was organically grown or addressed by recruiting people from other airports. Today we have a changed paradigm which frequently calls for non-traditional approaches in addressing leadership and succession planning needs. A targeted recruiting strategy is required that encompasses a broad cross-section of industry and non-industry talent in developing a diverse candidate pool. There is a linkage between aging infrastructure and past human capital approaches, in that today’s demands necessitate a new set of “best practices.” structure to succeed or fail. As more airport outsiders enter the industry, attention must be placed on effectively on-boarding new executives in a holistic fashion. Attention must be paid also to mid-level executives: those who are high achievers and have significant growth potential need to be identified, and a rewarding career track ensured. Jack Welsh, the former CEO of General Electric, illustrates the importance of these principles when he stated that he spent 70 percent of his time on leadership development. Leadership as Infrastructure Getting talent acquisition right will strengthen your brand and have a significant impact in advancing infrastructure development. The human capital issue has not always been the most elevated in airport organizations, and generally has been addressed when there is some material event. Airports need to address people issues more strategically, just as they do infrastructure. This requires a longer term and more methodical approach in planning and problem solving than in the past. What was right for the organization yesterday is not likely what will be required tomorrow. The talent pool should be assessed similarly to how infrastructure is evaluated, with an eye on strengths and shortcomings and sustainability in mind. In an increasingly competitive market environment, bold decisions need to be made. Looking at yesterday’s solutions to today’s human capital challenges simply will not work, so the time is now for creative and visionary thinking in driving airport success at every level. ■ TIM C. MCNAMARA MANAGING DIRECTOR BOYDEN GLOBAL EXECUTIVE SEARCH Tim McNamara leads the Washington, D.C.-based Boyden’s Global Transportation practice as well as the Airports and Aviation sector specialty group. Earlier this year, McNamara was named to Business Week’s World’s 100 Most Influential Headhunters. He was also appointed to the Airports Council International World Security Standing Committee. | CENTERLINES Recruiting Costs and Risks Beyond compensation, airports must take a hard look and a long view at hiring risks and costs—not only in terms of initial outlay for recruiting and executive compensation, but the financial and non-financial costs of a hiring failure. The downside of a failed new-hire must be considered. Recruiting talent into your organization is an investment decision and should not be primarily driven by compensation. In their book Topgrading, Brad and Geoff Smart’s GETTING talent acquisition right will strengthen your brand and have a significant impact in advancing infrastructure development. Leadership Development and Planning Creating a culture that attracts, values, and retains talent requires work. Infrastructure is the hardware of the airport industry, and people are the software that enable infracalculations consistently show that the average cost of making a wrong hire can be 15 times base salary. They report that most organizations say they are less than 25 percent successful at hiring externally or promoting internally. 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Centerlines - December 2008

Centerlines - December 2008
President’s Message
Canadian Airports
Associates’ Corner
Policy Center
On the Hill and On the Stump
Cover Story: Airport Belt Tightening
On Management: Pooling DBE Resources
Revenue Arena: New Revenue Streams
Griesbach Concessions Award Winners
Security: Employee Screening Pilot Tests
New Technology: Wireless Growth
Now Underway
Grand Openings
New Members
Index of Advertisers/
Box Scores

Centerlines - December 2008