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Strategies to develop your top talent

Archive for the ‘Performance’ Category

We have looked before at best practices in developing top talent.

Sometimes, we need to also admit and learn from the mistakes that have cost us the most (and in many cases are still costing us).

In their HBR article, Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt give us more to ponder about these six mistakes.

Mistake 1: Assuming That High Potentials Are Highly Engaged

Let’s begin by talking truth about your bright stars.  

Why is the picture so negative?  Rising stars are young, talented and usually know it.  Their gigantic personal expectations are matched with lots of alternatives. (more…)
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I was speaking at the ChinaSourcing Summit in Hangzhou, China, last week and got the chance to share some research and ideas with other industry leaders about how to upgrade the quality of management conversations with employees in a service and data-intensive industry.

ChinaSourcing Summit Hangzhou

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Recruit and develop talent

A recent article put out by Gallup had some interesting things to say about how talent–and the way companies manage it–separates top performing companies from the rest.

Here’s the bottom line about companies that lead in growth: they have a relentless focus on talent. It is intentional and the executives who lead these companies have created systems that nurture it.

Here are the five elements singled out as success components.

1. A succession plan that works

2. An audit of your talent pool

3. Raising the bar in recruiting and hiring

4. Breakthrough experiences for high-potential managers and leaders

5. Ongoing development, engagement, and performance management

The Gallup research behind these findings is pretty compelling.  If you want to read more, go here.

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Question:  What are the three critical numbers you use to manage your business?  As a leader, what’s your backup system (or at least your plan) when the game suddenly changes?


I’ll get to that question in a minute, but first let me share a personal story.  I continue to be surprised by some of the misconceptions that people have about flying.  This past weekend I was in a conversation with a man who had a friend that was a pilot of a small plane.  This man’s friend took off on a trip cross country and not too far along he had an instrument failure.  (more…)

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Top talent goes the distance

olympic-ringsThe Vancouver 2010 games are now history.  What a ride it has been!

I watched a lot of the games and was inspired and energized by the displays of dedication, hard work and concentration.

Training and preparation are the obvious ticket to get a participant to the games.  Some trained harder than others.  But on gameday itself, in the hour of competition, at the exact minute and second when fractions count, that’s when the small things become really big.  Leaning too far this direction, and the favored front-runner takes a fall.  A moment of hesitation on the short track and you don’t get to pass the person in front of you and qualify for the medal round.  It was clear that the mental game is a really big part of top performance.

What inspires so many is the all-out effort and dedication that these athletes show.  For those of us in the working world, how often do we push up against limitations and our own desire to stop, to move on to something else instead of taking the time to get it right?  Developing top talent isn’t done in days, or through a short training program.  It requires dedication, investment, going the second and the third mile, revising and honing performance, review and feedback, great coaching and a coachable spirit.

I’m glad we have the Olympics to show us these things.   There are too few places dedicated to producing top talent, champions and world-record results.  It’s time to bring the Olympic spirit, ethos and training regimen inside of more organizations.

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Measuring talent

Can talent really be measured?  Many people will tell you it cannot.  I have a different view.

Every day we size up talent by observation, through conversation and based on our own personal experience.  Imagine that you are hiring someone for a job.  When a person is sloppy, cocky or self-centered, it tends to diminish our assessment of them.  When they are confident, open to learning and focused on others, we tend to give them higher marks.  We have just measured talent.  It may not be the best way (more…)

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How to stay fit

Earlier this year, I started back on a path to physical fitness (see personal training).  It’s been good to get back in shape and build stamina, endurance, strength, balance and more energy.  I sought out a trainer to teach me more about a system called CrossFit, which I recommend to anyone.

I was also intrigued by an article last month in the Wall Street Journal about marathoners and the impact on personal fitness.  If you have run a marathon, my congratulations to you.  If you’re a serial marathoner like the optometrist I met on the plane last month between Boise and Denver, you’ve got my respect.  For those who have run a marathon (and those who never will) and who struggle now to stay fit, read on. (more…)

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