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Strategies to develop your top talent

Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category

Bringing it Home

Talent management is a great field to work in.  You get to work with clients to solve real-world problems that greatly impact the lives of people in organizations.  It’s no fun to be in a job that sucks.  It can be painful to find yourself in a company culture that cuts right across your own personal values, even if other parts of the job are positive.  To be a leader who sees the organization losing good people consistently is frustrating, especially if you don’t know why.  These are just some aspects of the job that I find really engaging.

People often asked me why I went to China.  (more…)

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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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Keep Your Top Talent

Leadership development programs aimed at rising stars have become a staple of most large organizations.  Here in Shanghai I see this in the people practices of global multinational companies, whether American, European, or Asian.

Most people acknowledge that the top talent is where you can have a great impact on business results, either in a positive or negative way depending on how you manage it.

An article in Harvard Business Review by Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt shed some interesting light on the topic.
What I have found surprising in my own experience is that despite the effort, money and time being spent, the results are often lackluster, at least initially.  Maybe our expectations timeline is too short.

Here are some ideas about what works and what doesn’t in developing your top talent.  This came from research in more than 100 organizations worldwide over 2005-2011, which clearly has been tumultuous time in the global economy.

10 Critical Components of a Talent-Development Program

1. Explicitly test candidates in three dimensions: ability, engagement, and aspiration.

2. Emphasize future competencies needed (derived from corporate-level growth plans) more heavily than current performance when you’re choosing employees for development.

3. Manage the quantity and quality of high potentials at the corporate level, as a portfolio of scarce growth assets. (more…)

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Failing Forward

“‘Failing forward’ is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.” John Maxwell

When you develop talent, you need to be ready for failure.  It is just crazy to expect people will learn something well the first time.  Of course, you shouldn’t put people in a position to fail especially if the stakes are high, either for them personally or for the organization.  But failure is a necessary part of learning and leadership formation.

Talented individuals also need the right mindset.  Sometimes if they have not met much adversity the first experiences of failure can be hard to face.  That’s when “failing forward” needs to be learned.

This is not the same as the Peter Principle, which basically says people get promoted to the highest level that their incompetency can handle.  It assumes a static case or stalled development while promotions continue.   Failing forward is not about career promotion and covering up incompetency.  It’s an attitude of learning to recover, to demonstrate both resiliency and course correction.  There is no real “failing forward” without positive change involved.

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Headed to Shanghai

Since late last year I have been making monthly trips to China to work with a consulting firm that helps large companies develop their people and specifically their management.

At the same time, my family and I are up for a challenge and change of environment for us to grow.  So, we are headed to Shanghai for a multi-year assignment.  I will probably be posting less but I will try to put some interesting ideas on the table.  Stay tuned for more developments!

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One client, a consulting firm, faces several challenges.  They are in a high growth market and they are eager to win market share, so they are hiring consultants to prepare for the work demand.  They need to manage internal operations more thoroughly while systematically developing their talent within.  Where do you start? (more…)

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How do you make the unruly world of sales more manageable?  One way is to align your salesforce on a generally agreed-on sales process and then train them on it and coach them to success.

Key to such an approach are the sales managers: getting them to support this approach and then giving them the tools and training and support to make it successful. (more…)

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We remember today a speech given 100 years ago in Paris by Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne one year after he left the presidency.  The larger speech was about Citizenship in a Republic, and the most quoted section talked about the man in the arena.  Many people have borrowed the words or echoed the sentiment, perhaps most famously Richard Nixon in his 1974 resignation speech.  The original attribution to Roosevelt seems mostly forgotten except by historians.

But I think it’s important to look at the fuller context of this speech which I’ll show with some select quotations and my own comments as they relate to personal development.  Roosevelt addressed an educated French audience and his topic was about the kind of citizenship that makes a republic strong.

“In the long run, success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average women, does his or her duty, first in the ordinary, every-day affairs of life, and next in those great occasional cries which call for heroic virtues.” (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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Time to get moving

“Let him who would move the world first move himself.” (Socrates)

January’s resolutions are long gone–time to get moving on what you’re really committed to.  I’m still hearing from people who are writing their own version of what the year ahead looks like using my free workbook “The Year Ahead 2010″.  You can get a copy for yourself and start  moving yourself, then watch out–the world will move too.

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