When Apple came out with the iPhone, it revolutionized the way people access information and interact with each other. Apple now faces immense competition in a crowded industry.

The grocery industry in the UK has undergone a major step change in the last few years with the introduction of low-cost supermarkets from Europe (Warren Buffet has said his investment in Tescos, at a time when the competition was intensifying, was one of his worst investment decisions ever).

What major global organization hasn’t, in the last decade, set their stall on the Chinese dream – recent uncertainty underscores success in this market isn’t a foregone conclusion.

The lessons? Create a new product and it can be copied. Someone will always be willing to undercut you. Potentially lucrative new markets can be difficult to cultivate.

Copying a high-quality workforce however is for all intents and purposes impossible, especially since the global financial crisis has put an end to most companies being able to simply buy talent from competitors.

Few companies exist with an adequate supply of talent at all levels. And while organizations have been aware of the relationship between high-quality employees and performance for most of modern corporate history, over the few of years there has been a surge in interest in talent development.

An organizational talent development program aligned with business strategy is difficult to implement successfully when one considers culture, strategic priorities and business drivers. And while not the be all and end all, training in all its forms plays a vital role.

A holistic approach to training with respect to talent development fully recognizes that people learn from new experiences, learn from others, as well as learn in formal in-class training and other mediums such as project work, mentoring, coaching, peer feedback – the list goes on.

Talent development has three main purposes. Prepare future leaders, allow people to achieve their potential within an organization and to develop a diverse pool of human capital.

Talent development professionals that work with external training vendors need to have confidence these vendors understand the role training plays in recruiting, hiring and retaining an organisation's one true competitive advantage.

Hopefully, these talent development professionals can partner with vendors that are passionate about helping organizations assessing the skills that organization needs to successfully implement their long term strategic goals.