Introducing Our Newest Book!This month, I’d like to introduce you to our newest book Talent GPS: A Manager’s Guide to Navigating the Employee Development Journey. Michelle Baker, Brittney Helt and I worked like crazy to have the book at the ATD International Conference book store and with the help of many amazing friends, we made it. Kudos to the Moser team that designed our graphics – pretty cool, right? Now the three of us are giving you a sneak preview to show how this book helps busy team managers.
Let’s start with Brittney explaining the importance of engagement and accountability in a team:
The business world isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days when most people were hired for a similar job, clocked in at 9am and clocked out at 5pm. Gone are the days when it’s expected that someone will stay in one job for the majority of their adult life. Gone are the days when a manager could assume that once a hire was made, the job would be filled for the next 15 years.
A young college graduate entered the workforce a month after the recession hit in 2008. Her degree was basically a formality—unrelated to any industry in which she planned to job-hunt. Like many people in that moment this young lady, who we’ll call Beth, found herself without a purpose, without a plan, and without a job. Thanks to the tough economic climate at that time, though, she also found herself, like many Millennials, open to new possibilities.
Beth was introduced to a company that was on the brink of a rebuild. Their CEO was looking to grow the organization after a rough few years and was searching for a project manager with many of the strengths Beth brought to the table. Looking at the job market, Beth thought “What the heck!” and jumped into the world of learning and development. This was a long way from her degree in telecommunications, and a subject she knew nothing about, but Beth was lucky enough to have a mentor willing to invest in her growth.
Beth settled into her role as project manager and grew to love the industry. After a few years as a project manager, she was given the opportunity to learn more about the organization from the business development side of things. A few years after that, she was challenged to take more opportunities in front of customers and clients. After seven years in the field, she’s totally immersed in every aspect of the business and completely engaged in the industry. And let’s not forget—she’s a Millennial. A recent statistic showed that the average tenure of a Millennial in a specific work role is two years, and Millennials consider themselves loyal after giving an organization seven months of time. So, what is it that’s made Beth such an outlier?
• Impact. Since beginning work with her organization, she’s been shown exactly how her role contributes to the overall success of the organization. She knows that what she does has an impact, and that gives her purpose.
• Communication. Expectations have been openly and honestly communicated to Beth. When she finds herself in doubt or rethinking her path, there’s trust built into her relationships that allows her to openly discuss next steps and any potential problems or issues coming down the path.
• Feedback. Feedback is given often and in both directions. Very early in her career Beth was given a voice and encouraged to give open and honest feedback. That’s very empowering and very effective.
• Investment. The owner, the employees, the facilitators, and the industry all invest and highly value their people. Each team member knows without a doubt that they’re uniquely important to the organization. Beth knows the more she invests in herself and the success of the organization, the better the company functions. Among other things, that gives her a sense of pride and belonging. Beth is excited to see where the company goes next and is happy to think of the personal impact she’ll have over the next five to ten years.
Since the recession, companies have set aside growing their people, and talent processes are dated, dusty or non-existent. Our customers are now investing heavily in developing leaders who can develop and retain their people. Here’s a story from a customer I worked with before the recession:
We had the privilege to develop and lead a custom experiential leadership program for over 300 Leaders at Medco, which is now Express Scripts. Top performers were nominated by the executives to participate in this program. Each learner received coaching on their individual development plans during and for at least six months following the program. The leadership was serious about developing leaders.
Medco was a pharmacy benefit management company with IT and pharmacist leaders. It was a competitive culture. The company was created from a split with Merck. The executive leadership team knew that Medco had the potential to grow very quickly, and growing talent would be the key. Succession Planning had to be done differently. High-performing staff would have to be able to move up quickly and replace themselves quickly, without stopping the progress of the team. The executives coached their leaders to look at Succession Planning this way: if you want to move up, you have to build your own successor(s) to replace you. Each leader at every level had this succession goal as part of their performance review. For every leadership position, there was supposed to be a replacement ready to step in.
We saw a difference in this company compared to others we had worked with:
• These leaders didn’t see themselves as competing against each other for positions. Instead, they were competing to grow their teams quickly and effectively, ensuring future new opportunities. There was no secret plan—you got promoted if you got your team ready and you had the talent to push on. In a quickly growing business, there are plenty of opportunities.
• The leaders prioritized time to grow their replacement because it was in their best interest.
• The great leaders also communicated their plan to their whole team so it wasn’t a secret game. Anyone could grow, but they had to do the work. Anyone could also stay where they were.
Now when I search LinkedIn, it’s clear these leaders still have impressive careers. This approach drove engagement and personal responsibility well beyond their time at Medco. As a manager, you have the power to grow both your own career and that of the future leaders of your organization in the same way.