Talent Leadership book by John Mattone

“Talent leadership” seems like the most broad category you can possibly imagine. I couldn’t stop the thought from entering my mind; however, less than ten pages into this book I realized that it was not going to be what I expected. This thing is full of highly detailed, hands-on activities that you can use to identify and develop your high potential employees. This is even a succession planning handbook, among other things. The diverse topics under one “umbrella” make “talent leadership” a great title for this book.

talent leadership bookWhat I liked

  • The talent leadership book kicks off early with a great quote: accurate information drives effective strategies. Want to make the right choices in terms of overall direction/strategy? Make sure you have accurate information (not only with lagging indicators, but with leading indicators).
  • A survey by SHRM-the Society for Human Resource Management-points out the #1 problem for organizations today: building a strong pool of successors for each position/level. If you haven’t had a conversation on succession planning within your organization, you’re behind the curve. To be honest I have brought it up a few times, but without a plan for identifying and preparing those candidates, the conversation always moves to the back burner.
  • A, B, C players–if you don’t know which one someone is, how do you know if you should invest in them or pass them over for development opportunities? It’s a core talent leadership question that you need to be able to answer. For more on the A/B/C discussion, see my series on the topic (part 1 and part 2).
  • The 10 key elements of a strong performance management system: employee involvement, valid performance criteria, year-round process, proper preparation, avoiding stereotypical thinking, input from others, consistency, rating integrity, dialogue, and employee ownership. In my organization I’d say we are doing at least six of those really well. How about you? 
  • In the appendix (page 249 for those following along) there is a phenomenal diagnostic tool for evaluating the health of your succession management program. I’d say step one is to get one in place if you don’t already have one,  but step two is to continuously evaluate it to make sure it’s producing results. This tool will help you manage that part of the talent leadership puzzle well.

Wrap up

And there you have it. If you’re looking at how you can identify and develop your own high potential employees and set up a strong succession planning system based on facts instead of “Bob looks like he might be a high potential, so let’s pay him more to make him stay with us.” Click here to get your copy.

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Internal promotion is a valuable, yet underutilized, tool to engage employees and managers in the recruiting process, provide career growth, and save on costs associated with bringing in external talent.

As I alluded yesterday, the content covered at Hire Minds was astonishing. The first session was an interview/case study of Chipotle restaurants and how they use internal promotions and development bonuses as incentives to bring in great people and move them up through the organization as they grow. The examples below are pulled directly from that session content.

Reduce employee turnover by 64%

When they started promoting from within instead of looking for talent outside the organization, turnover for salaried managers dropped from 52% to 35%, and turnover for hourly managers dropped a whopping 64% (111% down to 47%).

HR pros often wonder if we should share succession plans with employees in case something doesn’t work out and it demoralizes them. However, in this case, all of the employees know that they are eligible for leadership positions if they are willing and able to put forth the effort.

Pay managers to mentor new leaders

As an incentive for managers within the organization to train the next generation of leaders, Chipotle offers people development bonuses of $10,000 for managers who bring someone up into a managerial position from within the ranks of the staff. Because they are rapidly growing and expanding into new markets, Chipotle is able to use these bonuses to lure seasoned veterans out to the “front.” Because the areas grow quickly, it offers the leaders multiple opportunities to earn the bonuses.

When asked by the audience how often the bonuses were paid out, he replied that Chipotle paid out over $1 million in people development bonuses in 2010. That’s significant! The bonuses are structured where the referring leader receives half up front, and half after 6 months of solid performance from the new manager candidate.

How to keep recruiters busy if you start promoting internally

Everyone in the audience laughed when a recruiter stood up and asked where his job was going if the company achieves its goal of 100% internal promotions into leadership positions. The speaker told us that since the recruiters are no longer spending their time sourcing candidates for management/leadership roles, they are working directly with store owners to develop better hiring practices for their hourly workers.

I’ve said it before–I’m a fan of internal recruiting (video) if it’s possible. Anyone else?

Okay, people, I have a short post today. Why? Because I’m stumped. Recently I read this mentoring post by Alison at Ask a Manager. An excerpt is below.

Do we seek out those with star potential because they’ll benefit the most from our help — or is it possible that it’s actually less about that and more because we like to see ourselves in them, or that it’s so gratifying to watch them blossom and feel we played a role in their success? Maybe we’d actually have a more significant impact if we made that kind of time investment with someone who doesn’t have obvious star potential, someone who doesn’t appear to be a natural candidate for grooming.

Basically, should you spend your limited time mentoring someone who is a high performer or someone who is a low performer?

I can make an argument for each side, and I have talked with half a dozen HR pros while seeking an answer. There have been mixed results, to say the least, and I’m stumped. Therefore, I shall turn the question over to my incredibly intelligent audience. What do you think? Should you spend your limited time mentoring someone who is a high performer or someone who is a low performer? The best responses will be published in an upcoming post that will feature comments by some HR bloggers you know and love.

Image by Pierre-Olivier