Maximize – Don’t Squander – New Talent
Leaders squander new talent when you give too much guidance. Don’t give instruction that’s rooted in the past, if you want something new.
Encourage people to bring themselves to opportunities.
Define the playing field, not every play. Give new talent enough guidance to enable boldness, but not so much that you drain vitality.
Vitality drains the more conformity you demand.
- Give detailed instructions to new talent.
- Create unnecessary restrictions or limitation.
- Pressure them to be like their predecessor or, worse, like you.
The more conformity you impose the fewer surprises you enjoy.
Provide space for new talent to define their role as much as possible. Shared values, clear mission, and guiding vision establish safe playing fields.
3 ways to maximize new talent:
#1. Explain Purpose:
Why are they engaged in these activities? Think of purpose in terms of people. How will their role impact people inside and outside the organization?
#2. Define Responsibility:
Agree on responsibilities connected to their role. Avoid describing trivialities.
- Define wins in tangible terms. What will everyone see when new talent wins?
- Define wins in emotional terms. How should people feel while working together?
- What must they own? Explain what needs done, not how to do it.
- What authority is associated with their responsibility?
- What resources are available?
- Who are the go to people when they need insight, support, or guidance?
- Give new talent the questions you’ll ask, before they begin their new role. Next week/month, I’ll ask, “…”
Questions explain what matters.
#3. Provide Feedback:
New talent needs more feedback than long-time team members.
- Explain how they fit in.
- Affirm what they are doing that works.
- Explore where they might improve.
- Constantly monitor energy.
Bold steps require confidence.
Give new talent the gift of confidence by frequently telling them what they’re doing right.
How might leaders maximize new talent?
Great advise but I see the majority of leaders fail to act this way. Many feel obligated to give direction in a specific way. My philosophy has always been to hire great people then get the heck out of the way and watch what great things can happen to move the organization forward.
Thanks Doug. I agree that typically leaders intervene too much. It’s a balancing act. New people won’t have courage to bring their best, if they don’t have some guidance. But, I’m still in the camp of less is more. 🙂
Dan, almost all of the great management gurus have said it over the decades: Orison Swett Marden, Abraham Maslow, Milton Friedman, Peter Drucker, Warren Benis, and even Steve Jobs—have all observed how peak performers are hired for the dimension they bring to an organization, yet once they come aboard—they are “socialized” by management to be like everyone else in the organization, and to do things like they’ve always been done.
How do we maximize new talent? Free them to innovate. Allow them the “right” to perform. Get out of their way. Enjoy the journey of discovery they will take us on, and the new landscapes we’ll see…and perhaps the new eyes we will see with. Peak performers are not only gifted; they are also good people. They’ll take us to “secret destinations” of which the traveler is unaware…so said Steve Jobs.
Dan this is one of your super excellent posts. “…pressure them to be like their predecessor, or worse, like you.” How many times I hear an explanation heavy on the ‘we always have done it this way’. As a bonus, I am going to re-read this with myself in mind. Imagine I am my own boss and try to look at my own playing field ‘without trivialities’ and etc. Thank you very much for today’s ideas.
Dan in my private, high growth first company, new people were treated as follows:
1. Respect for the background you brought with you
2. Trust that you would make good decisions and create new initiatives for the business
3. Faith that you would treat others fairly
Sadly many firms, especially big public ones do not practice these items or the ones you outlined.
That small firm doubled their sales every three years, profits every five years and was sold to a much bigger public company for a very good price!
Brad James http://www.bradszootales.com
“Encourage people to bring themselves to opportunities.” That is a great statement! It is so easy to stick new talent into existing molds. It’s easier. What we need to do is ask why new ground do we want to break, and challenge the creativity of that new talent.
Hopefully, new employees are joining a thriving and open environment aligned with mission statement and values. I’m not sure I’d join any other organizations. What does it say about anyone who does? Unless it’s desperate financially / benefits needed at least…
Here’s my take from this excellent post: Any leader not agreeing with the overall views suggested here should ‘get with it’ in terms of making changes… Or maybe that leader should step aside!