Talent can be judged? Think back to a time when you thought this person was going to be the cat’s meow, did they end up that way? I always thought that I could judge talent. Pick the raising star from a herd of folks! Well, it is amazing how many times I have gotten it wrong. Why? When you are judging talent, you put forth your bias toward the folks. You may find a person that is a younger version of yourself and think, well, that is the star. Take a look at the criteria that you are using to judge. Is it really fresh? Does it cover everything? Probably not. I was asked to judge a Spelling Bee for a local elementary school. I thought way not test out to see if I could pick the winner after sizing up the 12 participants. I watched and listened as they were getting ready to start (using my filters to see which one would stand out). Once again, I did not do well.
Since I normally would get it wrong, I stopped really judging and just let the work define the person. It is easier to focus my attention on the team and the folks that are the real talent will raise to the top. Set up an environment where those folks can flourish. How is that?
- Teamwork: As the manager you need to set up a truly team atmosphere. Have it be a collective group, that works on the complete picture. I like to involve everyone in the setting of goals, timelines and have them work together to achieve those amazing results. There are many traps to watch out for… So, it takes a lot of effort on the managers part to make sure everyone is aligned and moving in the same direction.
- Diversity: It is something that is talked about a lot. Some folks think of this as only the different cultures, but it can include age. Make sure that when you are hiring that you keep in mind, your team. If you already have a very mature team, maybe hiring someone younger or fresh out of school – can help add to the team. You have to be willing to take chances to make the team better.
- 8-5, no way: Don’t know any other way to put this category, it is not about being in the office from 8-5, Monday thru Friday. It is about getting the work “DONE.” It is simply about the productivity of each individual and the team as a whole. I used to have status review meetings that were about 20 minutes long. It was a simple way for the team to keep an eye on the work. Work that they knew would be coming their way and when.. Work that they could help out another, if needed. As a manager, it is great to witness the team helping each other. Mandatory hours don’t really work…
- Set stretch goals: When the team has worked out their plan and timelines – add a stretch goal. Everyone loves challenges. When you set up the stretch goal remember to not do it every single time. Do it on those particular important ones, that could be a breakthrough or a key deliverable to help the larger organization win big. I have found that all teams, love to win big. Some pretty amazing outcomes have happened from a stretch goal that was extremely visible to the organization.
Once the environment is set, you can watch your people grow. For those that still like to judge talent and make assumptions on who is that star.. Did the star rise? Did someone else really step up? How about the team? I have found some pretty incredible people that would have gone unnoticed if I stuck to my first impressions. I would rather have all or almost all of the team be stars… It is the team environment that you set up that is better than just your judgment.