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.

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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.


  1. Give detailed instructions to new talent.
  2. Create unnecessary restrictions or limitation.
  3. 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.

  1. Define wins in tangible terms. What will everyone see when new talent wins?
  2. Define wins in emotional terms. How should people feel while working together?
  3. What must they own? Explain what needs done, not how to do it.
  4. What authority is associated with their responsibility?
  5. What resources are available?
  6. Who are the go to people when they need insight, support, or guidance?
  7. 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.

  1. Explain how they fit in.
  2. Affirm what they are doing that works.
  3. Explore where they might improve.
  4. 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?