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Brian Schwartz Acclaimed International Leader in Talent Management and Career Planning

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Brian Schwartz.

Brian SchwartzBrian Schwartz Profile
36 years and over 1700 individual career planning clients who have designed their career direction from the inside out. Over 20 years organization development experience building participative management cultures in the USA and Europe. Visionary for 21st Century online tools to assess career fit and talent management strategies for individuals and organizations using CareerDNA, TalentDNA and TeamDNA products and services.

Chairman of BenchmarkAsia Consulting Company, providing employment readiness training and assessment to university and high school students as well as consulting, training, assessment and research services to companies and government agencies throughout China. Career assessment programs are based on my Six Factor Career Planning model.

Currently Founder and CEO of SuccessDNA, LLC and now forming new partnerships in the USA and building consulting and career/talent management company in China, Malaysia and Singapore. Now Senior Advisor and Visiting Lecturer at Tsinghua University's Yangtze Delta Regional Institute and forming strategic brain trust for their education and training department.

Training career counsellors and coaches, career and executive assessments, career counselling/planning/management. Talent management consulting, executive coaching, organization development consulting, succession planning, performance management, career transition.

LinkedIn profile:

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:21: Brian, thank you for sharing your work and experiences with our audience.
"....It's an incredible opportunity to take advantage of the modern technologies we have to share information...."

:00:52: Brian talks about differences in entrepreneurship between China and the West.
"....China is a very traditional and conservative culture and in terms of societal organization it's an authoritarian culture. Entrepreneurship very much relies on innovation, creativity and freedom of expression....The fascinating thing is there is a far more sophisticated industrial policy and talent development and education policy around these challenges than exists anywhere in the West....The Chinese central government plan issued in mid 2010, that every single political entity in China had to develop a talent development program for its area in order to promote, amongst other things, far more entrepreneurship than is currently the case..."

:05:11: When I sometimes talk to my Western colleagues they still exhibit a lot of doubt about China. Why do you think that is?
"....I think that doubt, at least in part, is based on lack of information....I think the world is going through a time in which there is flattening of the advantage that the West has had, (certainly since the onset of the colonial period several centuries ago) and we are seeing a seismic shift in the general distribution of wealth, intelligence and brainpower all over the world...."

:09:22: An interesting perspective. I remember hearing one quote saying that when the 'sleeping giant awakens the world will shake'.
"....I think that China is much more interested in investing its national treasure in raising the economic well-being of people but also in maintaining some of the best of its traditional culture than it is in expansion....The world will shake, but not shake in its boots...."

:11:08: Brian further profiles his background.
"....There is so much pain that people experience around trying to figure out who they are and where they need to go with their work life. Mental health and happiness is built on love and work, so my mantra over the years has been 'if you can figure out what kind of work you can really enjoy then at least you have one leg to stand on'...."

:19:35: What usable lessons can you share from your career history?
"....The power of synchronicity....Failure and mistakes in life are the best university for people....Employee engagement is itself based on intrinsic factors, things inside all of us....Human beings really thrive when they are in environments that provide freedom to explore and freedom to innovate, but also challenge people to be who they really can be...."

:26:28: What are your current roles and how will you achieve your goals for each role?
"....I have a tremendous interest in organizational life and talent development practices so I've recently been appointed chairman of the new consulting and training company based in Suzhou, China, called BenchmarkAsia....I am also a strategic advisor to Tsinghua University based in Beijing....In addition, I have signed a contract with the biggest workforce development company in Philippines to use my online application in career development...."

:30:45: What are your best practices for Talent Management?
"....The 6-factor model is what underlies my approach to talent management and if we have the good sense and the good will as employers, partners and colleagues to have a more open and transparent environment in which we get to know each other better and at a deeper level, we will find ways of finding the most productive, fruitful and most potentially beneficial sides of ourselves as a human race...."

:44:24: What are your best practices for Career Planning?
"....I consider it a privilege and honour to have clients trust me enough to share with me who they really are and then to allow themselves to go on a journey of self-discovery, which they actually grow the answer organically for themselves of who they are and what they should be doing with their lives. You talk about best practices and I think that about sums it up....See iTV-Asia interview...."

:48:45: Please share useful lessons from your work training career counsellors and coaches.
"....I've developed a program based on what it is that I have come to learn about career counselling....It focuses on different models for who human beings are on a developmental psychology basis, so career counsellors have some sense about how people become who they are...."

:52:28: Profile your top recommendations in executive coaching?
"....Executive coaching is a term that covers a whole variety of activities and goals....My kind of executive coaching is really oriented to helping the executive unleash the power within himself or herself. I take a depth approach...."

:55:29: How can organization development consulting be of benefit?
"....It really does speak to the core of who people are and how that collectively gets organized into the mission and strategy and other objectives of an organization....The Organization Development people really are the catalysts for greater understanding and communication between teams and people and layers of organizational life...."

:58:29: What are your recommendations in succession planning?
"....What I discovered was that people in leadership positions (who have the responsibility for the longer-range health and welfare of the organization) need to understand who the talent is and that has been the guiding principle that I have used ever since....If we do succession planning and we don't take into account the changes that can unfold over the next 2, 3, 4 or 5 years, then we will be doing succession planning in a stagnant and ill-conceived way...."

:01:03:07: How do you get the most from performance management?
"....A good performance management system is all about what Judith Glaser calls 'vital conversations' ⁚ the quality of the communication and the authentic communication between people all looking to help the organization to be as effective as it can be in a teamwork basis. All of the parts of the organization working together for some positive end...."

:01:05:28: What factors do we need to consider in career transition?
"....For me career transition is basically people discovering the true core of who they are....We all need to live a far more authentic life on our selected field of destiny....Overcome our internal barriers....Challenge the parts of ourselves that say we don't believe in ourselves....Identify what our strengths are...."

:01:11:26: Describe some areas of controversy or much discussion in the areas that you work.
"....There is much discussion on employee engagement....Another area is the use of assessment instruments...."

:01:14:04: What innovations in your areas of expertise should we be watching for in the next five years?
"....We all need to increase our mixing of social media and mobile applications to provide communities of common interest in people; information sharing being a critical factor in the drive for personal authenticity and development....Greater use of technology to ensure 'best fit' between talent and employers of whatever kind...."

:01:19:29: What specific challenges and opportunities should IT practitioners and businesses embrace today and in five years?
"....The socio-political changes that are taking place in the world at rapid speeds are all running up against what Gallup found out in their first global poll back in 2007. The most compelling need that people have, (actually trumping, believe it or not, health and security), is having a good job...."

:01:21:39: From his extensive speaking, travels, and work, Brian shares some stories (amusing, surprising, unexpected, amazing).
"....If you know how to mine the talent you will find incredible treasures in what appears to be the most unlikely places....There are reasons why we find each other in our respective orbits and so every situation is pregnant with possibilities we can never imagine unless we keep our hearts and our minds open...."

:01:27:36: If you were conducting this interview, what questions would you ask, and then what would be your answers?
"....In the neverending 'pursuit of happiness', how do we mortals in whatever professional and work situation stand a chance of maximizing the possibility for that pursuit of happiness?....What is the role of career and organizational/talent management professionals in the changes taking place in global job markets and organizational life?....How do we plumb the depths of who we are to understand our natural talents, our immutable brain wiring and the careers that it often points us to?....Why are you in China....what is your mission there?...."