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Archive for the ‘Talent’ Category

A lot or a little?

I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.” coach John Wooden

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Talent or hard work?

Talent is cheaper than table salt.  What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” - Stephen King

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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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Three dimensional leadership

When people describe leadership they often use contrasting concepts:  either command and control, or servant leaders.  Others contrast hard-edge management by the numbers with a softer and emotionally intelligent “coach.”  Even personal styles are seen as either loud, direct and aggressive, or quiet, indirect and reflective.  When leaders reflect on their own expressions of leadership, I’ve noticed they also tend to self-define in contrasting terms.

When we frame leadership in these either/or bipolar contrasts, we tend to get more of the same:  two dimensional leadership.  It’s either black or white, hard or soft, aggressive or reflective.

It’s time we embrace three dimensional leadership.  We value leaders primarily for their 1) good judgment,  2) decisions and 3) their ability to craft and communicate a compelling vision that others want to follow.  Since these are all part of the domain of value, I turn to the foremost expert in valuation and value analysis for some guidance. (more…)

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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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At the ChinaSourcing Business Conference (Guangzhou, China) this week I shared some ideas about effective performance management.

There is tremendous potential for improvement in how companies handle talent management. A new generation of scientific tools and processes are available to make the job manageable. We discussed a few of these tools and best practices, from recruiting to talent development, in companies that are effectively rising to the challenge. (more…)

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Culture clearly plays a part in leadership and how it is expressed in different places.  People who live or move within different cultures encounter these differences and know they are real; the words to accurately describe or understand the differences, however, are often lacking.  We resort to general observations or broad-brush statements that are riddled with exceptions.

The experiences of leaders in different countries clearly shape them.  Two researchers looking at leaders in China, India and Singapore noted difference in challenging assignments, developmental relationships, dealing with hardships, education and personal experience.  All of these influences shape individuals into the leaders they are, and gaining an appreciation for each individual’s personal biography is insightful and essential for understanding their own expression of leadership with its gaps and its strong areas.

One way of understanding leadership differences is through behavior styles.  (more…)

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Top talent in China

Companies doing business in China face several challenges today.*  On the macro level they face the ongoing global financial instability, questionable consumer demand for their goods (especially in export markets), price pressure from competitors, and the uncertainties of government policy.  Weighing these factors, the dynamic market in China is still a vibrant place to do business today.

That presents its own problems.  Because the market is growing and the activity level is high, there is plenty of competition among companies for scarce resources.  Attracting and retaining talent in the form of qualified employees and managers is a top concern.  Maintaining morale and high productivity is clearly another.  (more…)

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Strategy-driven organizations

“We’re so busy putting out fires and trying to keep the business going that strategy just doesn’t show up on the screen.  We seem to drift a lot,” one leader confided in me.  I could relate because I’ve been part of an organization that couldn’t maintain a strategic focus.   We had flavor-of-the-month and reliably we would worry over sales each quarter, but strategy never got consistent attention.

The lack of strategic focus is a leadership issue, even when the leaders of an organization “live and breathe” strategy or see themselves as very strategic (but you might be surprised how many don’t).  Such organizations also find it difficult to hang on to their talent for long. (more…)

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A mark of great leadership

You know that sucking sound you hear?  It’s caused by the vacuum of leadership we continue to experience. At this exact time in history we continue to muddle through the mess we’re in and there is an absence of leadership to show us the way forward.

Is that too bleak?  I’m not a pessimist even while I try to stay realistic.  Since the worldwide “reset” (recession, currency devaluation, drop in trade–whatever you want to call it) that began in 2008, the signs are clear that we’re looking for direction and the old order has passed.  We’re not too sure what the new order is, while many act confused, some put their heads down and soldier on while the true entrepreneurs smell opportunity and are moving aggressively into action.  You’re going to hear their stories become public in the coming years, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

What are some signs of the times?  (more…)

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