A professional basketball coach once told me, “The key to getting the right team is not just getting all the best players, but getting the right players for the team.” In sports as in other arenas, assembling the right team of people is a dynamic challenge of crucial importance. It requires understanding each player and the interaction between members.
Whether you are assembling a sports team, organizing a task force, or building a functional department at work, talent management is the process for assembling, developing, and promoting the right people. Talent management is a process that aligns people’s roles with strategy. It requires an assessment of key roles in the organization relative to people’s competency, interests and organizational needs.
The talent management process starts with defining the organization’s needs to deliver its objectives. This is best done by describing the core competencies required now and in the future. With a strategic view of the knowledge, skills and experience required to succeed, you can best decide if you have what it takes within your organization, or if you have to supplement with external talent. The core competencies cannot be compromised without compromising the organization’s objectives.
Once you have defined what competencies are needed, you can assess what talent you currently have. Collecting information from multiple sources, the talent assessment includes the candidate’s track record, leadership qualities, and growth potential. A combination of surveys and peer feedback, coupled with behavioral interviews helps obtain an objective and relevant of people’s competency levels and professional interests.
Key Point Getting the best possible team is far more important than getting all the best players. By conducting an effective talent management process, leaders get in the habit of resolving performance issues with a fair process and valid data. Talent management helps right-size and upgrade your talent.
A talent review is a valuable annual process for leaders to review each person’s talent assessment relative to the needs of the organization. The talent review provides the critical input necessary for making strategic people decisions. During the talent review meeting, the team paces through each person’s profile, one at a time, holding meaningful and informed discussions about each player.
The outcome of talent review is to allocate resources, assign development opportunities, and promote key players to positions where they can best contribute. This is also a time to resolve the role of current poor performers. The decisions to retain, grow, engage, and resolve specific individuals’ roles have a direct and immediate impact on the overall group performance.
There are cases when a person does extremely well in some areas and very poorly in others. For example, a person who is highly competent at getting results but is difficult to work with can be identified as a top performer by some and poor performer by others.
How leaders decide to deal with such a person sets the precedent for what others in the team can and cannot do without consequences. Ideally, this can be resolved by presenting the choice to the individual to either shape up or move on.
Often, people who work hard and are loyal and caring are taken for granted, as they habitually deliver positive results without disruption. Their needs tend to be ignored unless there is talent management process in place.
On the other hand, those who regularly struggle in their jobs, or are openly vocal about their needs tend to receive more attention receive undue attention, which reinforces attitudes of entitlement.
In most organizations there are employees who have not received a meaningful evaluation in years. The longer their poor qualities or negative tendencies go unchallenged or ignored, the most difficult it is to bring them up.
By conducting a regular talent management process, leaders and individuals get in the habit of resolving performance issues with a fair process and valid data. Getting the best possible team is far more important than getting all the best players. An impressive array of “A-Players” does not necessarily make for an “A-Team.” A-Players may win games, but A-Teams win championships.