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Delve Deeper


The Curious Truth about Talent

8 April

When you think about talent management, what conjures up in your mind?  When the Delvers asked this question to managers from both the private and public sector, words such as ‘exclusive club’, ‘rough diamond’, ‘9-box grid’ came up often.  Talent management according to our sources is for the few not the many, and only relevant if you want to progress up to your next role.

Traditionally, there has been a focus on ‘top talent’ within organisations where people are selected to enter the ‘talent pool’, usually based on select criteria or the 9-box grid which rates people based on past performance and potential. 

There is also a misconception that there aren’t enough ‘talented’ people to go around so organisations need a talent strategy that is bigger, brighter and better than anyone else, making sure that they attract, recruit and retain top talent.  But here’s the thing, every year organisations spend thousands on attracting the top talent and within 12 months, they repeat the process – so where has all the talent gone?

It’s time to start looking in and not out. It’s time to make the most of ALL the talent available to us and unlock the human potential right in front of our noses.

The people within your team and organisation have many unique characteristics, beliefs, flaws and experiences. No two individuals are the same and if we are going to create a team of hyper-performers we need to know how to tune into each individual, understanding what makes them tick, why they choose to do the work they do, what they aspire to and how we can help them to get there.

Matthew Syed, author of ‘Bounce: the Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice’ explains that the theory of talent being about expertise is fundamentally flawed.  Everyone has the potential to be the best that they can be if they are prepared to invest time in purposeful practice, coaching and in the moment feedback. 

The Delve Talent tool focuses on all talent without putting people into boxes and leaving them there.  We know that past performance is not a good predictor for future performance and potential and the key to achieving this is to be consciously inclusive of the differences within your teams and take notice of how each diverse member can contribute towards success.

Let’s bust some myths about talent

  1. It’s all about promotion – this shouldn’t be the case.  It’s about being the best you can be in your current role and being supported to move up or sideways if desired.  You also need to consider whether the role has the potential to evolve.
  2. Talent Management is an exclusive club – talent should be inclusive, not elitist.  It’s about maximising everyone’s potential and providing people with the opportunity to play to their strengths.
  3. Talented people will be obvious – not always.  You need to search for hidden talent as people who are quieter sometimes go under the radar in a world of extraverts.  Sometimes disruptive people are talented people in the wrong job.  Find ways to tap into everyone’s potential through effective conversations.

Delve believe work communities should be places where people can thrive and play to their strengths, creating space for innovation. Click here to check out how we can work with you to help your talent to thrive.

Join us in our mission to change the way the world thinks about talent!

Written by
Nicola and Sarah

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