Identifying and cultivating key talent, employees with high potential or “rising stars” as tomorrow’s leaders will be important to fill the management void created by retiring baby boomers. Successful companies offer development opportunities, career goal planning and resources (training, compensation, coaching, recognition, etc.) to these employees.
It’s smart business to invest in top performers and rising stars. They are typically responsible for generating a significant percentage of a company’s innovation, improvement and bottom-line results. Bill Gates once said, “Take our twenty best people away from us, and I can tell you that Microsoft would be an unimportant company.”
Today’s managers require special skills and competencies to be effective. In a recent survey by the Center for Creative Leadership, more than 97 percent of senior leaders identified the ability to collaborate as essential to future leadership success. Yet many managers lack this key skill. Only 30 percent of respondents in the same survey believed leaders in their organization are skilled in collaboration.
Why the gap? The times have changed. Employees are under pressure to do more with less and working in environments of continual change.
Effective leadership today requires more than technical skills, expertise and solid work ethics. Collaboration (versus the old-school style of authoritative management) is essential for effective management of today’s cross-functional operating groups and teams.
Top performers and employees with high potential have high expectations: They want to be heard, have influence, receive constructive feedback and be engaged in meaningful work. They are generally intolerant of what they believe to be unreasonable or ineffective company policies, processes and leadership.
Stars expect companies to support and provide opportunities for their growth and development.
“If you don’t make an effort to provide an environment in which this generation can do their best, they’re going to find one where they can,” said Dan Black, Ernst & Young’s director of campus recruitment.
Companies concerned about creating that environment need a talent management program to identify, support and develop their current and rising stars. Most talent management programs include the following steps:
- Defining the core business and/or position competencies that are required to meet current and future business objectives. These typically include (but are not limited to):
Emotional intelligence. People who can handle stress and conflict well, understand their impact (self-awareness), manage their emotional reactivity and have strong interpersonal and communication skills.
Leadership/team skills. The ability to collaborate, motivate and inspire others to achieve their potential while setting clear direction.
The “right stuff” or drive for excellence. Those who do their best every day. It’s about attitude — and, by the way, you can’t train a good attitude or initiative.
Adaptability. Being open to new ideas and change.
Vision. Being able to “see beyond the edge of the desk.” People with vision can effectively challenge and inspire others with “what could be” rather than accepting that “it’s always been done this way.”
Results-focused and innovative. These employees don’t get stuck in the muck of problems. They can find their way around obstacles and have excellent problem-solving skills and sound judgment.
- Identifying employees who have both competencies and potential for future leadership positions.
Assessments and software programs are available to help evaluate employees’ suitability and skills for particular positions. Internal programs also can identify consistent or exceptional performers, and performance reviews can effectively measure core competencies.
- Designing and executing programs to address career and employee development plans. Elements often include advanced education, skill and technical trainin, mentoring, and leadership development training and coaching.
Most senior managers recognize that new skills are required for leadership success in today’s workplaces. Investing in high potential and talented employees has never been more important. The best programs offer new job challenges and opportunities and actively involve employees in the creation of their own career plan.
The wisest business investment you can make is in yourself and your people’s leadership development. I can help you identify, grow and develop your leaders. Call me: 360 682 5807 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org