Monday, June 13, 2011

Talent is What?

Talent.  Cool word.  Talent Management.  Even cooler phrase.  Sounds like a major corporate initiative, doesn't it?  Ever hear anyone talking about Talent Management as a strategy?  As if you could program your skilled employees to behave in some sort of bizarre Cirque du Soleil performance when they walk into their offices each day.  I guess I don't fully understand it...yet.

No Easy Answers
There is no shortage of terrific discussion on this topic, like the recent post from TLNT on the State of Talent Management or the fellas at Talent Anarchy who are not only taking up the issue, but are also challenging us to define what talent means for our organizations.  And my initial two-cents => throw out the best practice crutch, and figure out what all of this means within the four walls of your shop first.  Who cares if "Zappos Southwest Airlines" does something better than you. You don't work at "Zappos Southwest Airlines."

Take the Challenge
So in the spirit of being a leader in the world of HR versus being a victim of it, I'm doing two things to try and get Talent Management moving even further in my organization.  I've asked my team to provide me some input on their view of Talent; and I've gained the support of my Senior Leadership colleagues to push our current program to a new level.  Yes, it's more than hiring good people; and yes, it's more than developing them in some sort of logical manner.  But what the heck is it?  We're diving in head first to find out.

How About You   
Are you ready to jump into the conversation?  What about getting your people involved?  Too scary?  Well it shouldn't be.  The talent in our organizations is by far our most valuable asset.  Make sure you understand what they need, so your organization can be successful.  I know I need to find out as soon as I can.  Don't you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

pic courtesy of Mackie and Ryan


  1. I agree with you Jay...throw out the Zappos Southwest Airlines best practices. While I do like to hear what other companies do, I don't typically walk away thinking that I can implement their tactics in my environment successfully. It's because culture is a very specific and unique thing.

    I believe that the best of an organization comes from staff input. Staff who live and breathe the culture and can reinvent the wheel. How many times do we hear, "Why waste time reinventing the wheel?" That only leads to everyone trying to work the same way, create presentations the same way, evaluate problems the same way. I want to challenge myself and others to create new ways to identify ways to improve our environment. Only through involving talent can we elevate our performance individually and at an organizational level.

  2. Hello Jay - another nicely thought provoking post :)

    I think talent is practice and persistence in disguise. Talented folk are so because they take the time to practice what they love and they don't quit. I wrote a little something about this recently over at my place titled Working Mann, and you were kind enough to comment "When we start believing that we don’t have to do the hard work anymore, it’s time to call it a day. Nothing beats hard work and effort!"

    And to your point about best practice - I agree - throw it away! Here's a recent post on this subject which sparked a good conversation:

    Keep up the practice - you are very talented at this stuff :)

  3. Trish - Great points. I agree that if we don't involve our employees we're missing a huge opportunity. Part of our plan is to test our new leadership/talent strategy with some of our strongest performers. We need their direct input as we push ourselves to get even better. It will be a great project!

    Doug - Many thanks for your comment and encouragement. I love the concept of "practice and persistence"...they truly are what get us to the highest level possible!