founder of naked leader

Leadership – The Only Talent Programme that Actually Works

Please add your comments at the bottom… many thanks.
(No 2 in series of 3 – Diversity – Differences make The Difference)

Did you miss no.1?

Time to Read:  1 mins 40 secs   

Time to Listen:  4 mins 38 secs

Time to Watch:
  2 mins 27 secs

Leadership – The Only Talent Programme that Actually Works (with everyone)
  1. Realise that the word “competency” is quite simply the most boring HR word there is, so throw out your competency based anything, and remove the word from your mind set, forever.
  2. Your new mind set is one in which everyone has value, and craves to be valued. That is everyone in your organisation who chooses to show their value, through their behaviour. Those that don’t – get rid. Equally, forget Talent Programmes that select only your “Top XX” – they are at best divisive, and at worst you will be preparing your best people to leave.
  3. Talent is a combination of strengths, ideas, passions and personalities. The “strength based agenda” is really cool at the moment. In an ideas-led economy, ideas are quite… well… important. Contrary to what the media tell us, most people do not care about their pension as much as their passion and personality because, have you ever noticed, wherever you go, there you are?
  4. The fastest way to unlock people’s talents is to match your Talent Programme around the way people actually are, and not the way we want them to be. Everyone shares three top drivers at work – A desire for freedom, to use a strength they already have and to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
  5. Ask everyone who works for / with you, what is their number one strength that they do not use each and every day, when (and where) they come up with their best new ideas, and ask them what they are really passionate about in the organisation (it will often match with their strength).
  6. Ensure they have a chance to use their number one strength on a day to day basis, and put in place an incubator for new ideas in a way that keeps them alive, even if they are not implemented straight away (more on that at our conference), and combining passion and personality, stop your people taking work home, and start ensuring they bring themselves to work.
  7. Replace or complement Job Descriptions with People Descriptions – rolling CVs.
  8. Allocate a mentor, or “personal manager” to everyone in your organisation, outside of their line reporting, who is responsible for ensuring that person’s full talent is unlocked, focused and then unleashed.
  9. Keep this a living, breathing adventure – and measure its effectiveness in hard financial terms.
  10. Finally, what has this got to do with “diversity?” – everything – we are all different, indeed, each and every one of us is unique. Yes, we share common drivers and similar characteristics, however the holy grail of unlocking talent is to identify, unlock and unleash that unique quality in each and every one of your people. As a leader, it is the most important job you have.


With my love and best wishes


10 Responses to Leadership – The Only Talent Programme that Actually Works

  1. Every one of us does things at our own pace and in our ow n unique style.
    I like to think we all have the power to do what we want we just have to attack each task differently because we are so different from other.
    Doesn’t mean there’s a right and wrong though.

  2. Using your number one strength is not always feasible at work as some constraints can mean it’s difficult.
    my boss never asks me what I’m good at or what i don’t prefer or do prefer doing.
    I just get on with my job to the best of my ability.

  3. So right about the word competency, David.
    Competent is merely sufficient.
    Competent is efficient.
    Competent is just doing enough, nothing out of the ordinary.
    How about skills?
    What about what are you exciting at?
    How can you make a difference to the company/
    Is there something about your make-up that can benefit the company, a skill that we are not using?
    Companies are so blase about training and need to up their game if they are to allopw brilliant minds to flourish.

  4. Mentor, rather like a buddy system, is a great idea.
    Some schools do a buddy system as a means of protection.
    Mentoring to seek a person’s potential is a whole lot more rewarding on both sides.

  5. Thank you all for your comments – this one has proved very popular, and unpopular! If competencies work for you, great, keep using them, if they make your eyes glaze over with boredom, then do something else. David

  6. Your NL Week’s are always popular. They are so thought-making and make me sit up and take notice.
    Looking at life from a different angle is always a good thing.

  7. I like the idea of mentoring to extract the potential from an individual.
    Providing they are driven to succeed it will work.
    Trying to drag it out of them, not so easy.

  8. ‘Differences make the difference’. Very true, David.
    As you know, I had the privilege of speaking to a man whose different and positive approach to his IT Director role has not only made a difference in his company since he arrived in Feb 2012, it has revolutionised it and earned him national recognition.

    An article about Steve Capper will be up online later next week and will be in this month’s The Leader Board, published at the end of the month.
    Well worth a read. Amazing success story which has culminated in a nomination for a prestigious award.

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