Building a Culture of Talent

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As you grow your company you will expect that people may wish to move on to other companies for other opportunities. But they will be less inclined to do so if they know that they have the opportunity to advance within your organization. This optimism about advancement is natural when you build a culture of talent: an atmosphere in which everyone strives for personal development and team success.

Be Transparent

Your team needs to be encouraged by you to be transparent whenever possible. The idea cannot be for management to keep processes and methods opaque so that someone becomes “indispensable” (“no one can do what I can do”) but rather to encourage everyone to be cross-trained and knowledgeable about different processes. If people are fearful that they will train someone who will “take their job” they are holding on to a scarcity mindset, and it’s your job to move them towards an abundance mindset, where sharing the ins and outs of how you do a job doesn’t lead to you getting fired as you “train your replacement” but rather demonstrates processes you’ve put in place so that when you get promoted or move on to a different position you have left your position better than you found it: with better processes, clearer deliverables, and greater awareness among the team about what the role demands. This also can lead to the team having a better sense of the right hire for that position, since they have more familiarity with the demands of the role.

Focus on Development

As we’ve said in previous articles, as you develop your team, you should delegate outcomes, not tasks, and you should have one-to-ones on a weekly basis. If you focus on outcomes, not tasks, you will show your staff that they can be trusted, and that you value their ingenuity and experience. Allow them to figure out the best way to accomplish a task, and if it needs improvement later, you can offer it. As for one-to-ones, they are invaluable for developing a personal relationship, tracking progress for performance and KPIs, and setting new milestones. As we’ve discussed before, as a manager you want to empower people to improve themselves rather than always telling them your way they might improve. Each person is different and while certain personal development principles are constant, we always need to take into account specific personalities (or DISC profiles) in how we implement those principles.

Give Feedback

Outside of one-to-one meetings and outcome-oriented delegation, managers should be giving feedback on a constant and consistent basis. As we’ve discussed in a previous article, feedback — both positive and negative — has to be given not just for the person receiving the feedback, but for the good of the team. If team members see that they are being held to account and being praised for what they are doing well, but also being positively corrected when they are going astray, they will feel that they have yet another opportunity to improve. People who want to help you grow and scale your company often times want to grow personally and professionally. They won’t shy away from feedback because they know that no one is perfect and that people progress through being told what is going well and what needs to be improved. Likewise, those in your organization who cannot positively receive feedback for their improvement will, in time, have to leave, but it won’t be for lack of your interventions or desire to help them be better.

The most talented people in your team will never be above improvement. They know that building something — anything — is a team effort and that it is in helping others improve that we can improve ourselves. We can do that as managers and empower them to do the same for their colleagues and subordinates, thus creating a virtuous cycle that helps to power cultures of talent.