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Strategies to develop your top talent

Archive for the ‘Top Talent’ 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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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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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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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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Key truths of leadership

There are plenty of myths about what leadership is.  What can we say is true about real leadership?

We learn some of the truths of leadership by listening to people who are great practitioners of the art of leading people.  

1.  Leadership is not about the leader. (more…)

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Myths and truths of leadership

“In days of yore when giants walked the earth…”  that would be a dead giveaway that we aren’t talking about the real world and what follows is probably mythic, legendary or a parody of some kind.  What’s strange is that so much that is accepted as “truth” or wisdom about leadership is actually not grounded in the real world at all.  It might as well be cast in a fairy tale, because the common view of leadership is all wrong.

(more…)

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talent-money-gameAbout a year ago we looked at Wall Street’s approach to retaining top talent through outsized compensation packages.  Consider this the latest installment in that saga.  The most recent news is that CEO and C-level executive compensation took a large cut last year, while the traders and money managers received the largest collective payout in history.   The bosses took the bullet (public outcry, congressional hearings, pay czar scrutiny, etc.) in order to keep the restive troops from jumping ship.

CEO pay at 18 financial companies was down 30%.  No surprises there–they are under lots of pressure from the public and the media.  At the same time, 38 financial service firms on Wall Street paid a collective $140 billion in compensation and benefits, a record number, and up from $123 billion in 2008 and the previous high-water mark of $137 billion in 2007.  What does this all tell us? (more…)

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leadskill-website

Do you know how hard your online employees are working?  Did you say you don’t have any employees?  If you have a website, blog, Facebook page, eBay store or any other kind of online commercial presence, I suggest you do have online employees, and it would be in your interest to think of them that way.

I was coaching another consultant today who does not have a website but who said she wanted one and knew she needed one.  She’s not super-savvy on web technology, nor does she care to be.  I suggested that she think of building a website/blog as if she were hiring an employee.  Here’s how the logic works… (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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