“When you think about the greatest companies you’ve researched, what do they have in common in terms of how they develop their talent?” – Erin
#1 They commit to their people.
We’ve all heard companies claim that “our people are our greatest asset,” but the best companies truly believe that and put it into practice. These companies clearly, consistently, and authentically espouse that by investing in their people, every day.
#2 They know that the manager makes the difference.
People join because of the company, but they leave – physically or psychologically – because of their manager. So the best companies that I’ve studied place a lot of emphasis on manager development. They understand that great performance and great engagement occurs at the team level, and that the relationship between the team leader and his or her team members is paramount. So the best companies know that their managers are responsible for activating the talent within the organization, and they invest in developing great leaders.
#3 They know that one size fits one.
The best companies understand that human uniqueness is feature, and not a bug. Too many companies think of uniqueness as a challenge they must overcome; they strive for uniformity because it feels easier or more convenient to manage. That’s completely wrong. The power of human nature is that each human’s nature is unique. Organizations that understand this don’t build their people systems around coercion, trying to get people to behave more like a model – because that won’t help them get the most out of their talent. Instead, they understand that each individual at the company has different talents, and that uniqueness is useful and interesting. Talent activation is about taking someone’s unique strengths and turning it into contribution that is meaningful for both the organization and the individual.