Managing All Talent in the Workplace

Today we’re going to talk about talent. Not just the management of talent, but “All Talent”. You think about the organization and teams, you may have people who are considered talent for promotion, so they’re on executive resources and they’re identified. But isn’t the entire team and all in the organization, weren’t they all hired for their talent. We need to be mindful of that because a team is made up of a group of people, individuals – All Talent.

And the question that begged every day is: Is it the right talent for the team and for the organization? We measure who they are at great expense to the organization. We know their MBTI scores, their DISC scores, their performance productivity scores, so we know who they are but don’t we also need to know what they have done? And don’t we have to assess what is it that we need to make our group, team, organization the most efficient and productive.

I’ll tell you a couple of stories. One is about a branch manager for IBM many decades ago named Bernie Curran. He was in Wall Street, New York and he had an algorithm that he used in the recruiting and in the development assignments for his people. He knew what he needed on his team to succeed, and he made sure that each member of the team participated in the contribution to that success. So he had non-negotiables – because it was a technical team, the non-negotiables were the value systems, the behavior, and the technical skills that were needed for the job. He also had negotiables and that was on what did the team need to be better. Did they need people who could influence others and other teams in the organization or with customers? Did they need somebody with enthusiasm that could help keep the team motivated? You can go on and on in this algorithm of assessment – What do we need to improve ourselves and be better.

Another is a sixth century saint, Saint Benedict – one of the fore founders of leadership. Saint Benedict, who used to live in a tree as a hermit, said when he started his monastery a group of monks: We have to make this a select group. We have to make sure we have the right people. So he began what we would call an apprenticeship, and for most it went about two years. And that was after they’ve been vetted for their behavior, their value system, and as individuals what could they potentially do in his particular order. This long apprenticeship allowed him to weed out the people that didn’t fit because he wanted an organization that could achieve its vision. That could achieve the missions and they could take responsibility for all facets of a growing organization.

Another individual that I mentioned only briefly but for your thinking is a Catholic bishop – Bishop Hsin. Many have seen him on television. He was one of the first televangelist, very flamboyant in his enthusiasm and in his knowledge of the Bible. Quite a guy, but he lived in a cell. He had a cot. He had a night stand with a light and his Bible. He gave away his winter coat year in and year out to those that needed it more than he, but he never forgot his values. He never forgot why he was there and he never forgot his job was to build the organization.

So leadership today gets used – political leaders, management and bishops in churches. They get used to largesse, they get used to it. They get used to power, prestige etc. The leaders who are effective through history always remember their roots, their values, their morality, their philosophy on life and how they treated others.

So the key is what do people do – their interaction with others, who has good ideas, who is influential and enthusiastic as some – and how does the team achieve their goals and how do they help achieve the team’s goals.

So the metrics that we need to focus on to achieve our goals are not just, did we make our targets but did we get better – better as individuals, better as groups and better as an organization.

All Talent, in talent management is about who you are, as well as what you are and are you getting better.