Project Management

Managing Talent: Bringing out the Best in Your Team

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

You have a staff of direct reports, perhaps a handpicked team or maybe a group you inherited when you took the job. Either way, you want them to perform at their optimum potential—but how? Here are some talent management concepts you might find helpful.

The first two come from James R. Rickabaugh, Ph.D. in his article “Five Ways to Nurture Talent.” I like these because they underscore the whole notion of building on the talents of your team. They are:

  1. “Believe that those with whom we are working have talent.”
  2. “Avoid placing limits on how much growth is possible or permitted.”

These two concepts are critical to managing talent because they frame the mindset needed to embrace and cultivate the talents of your team.

With the above in mind, let’s look at a process that can help to foster, nurture, showcase and grow the talents your team can bring to the value table.

Planning & Design
The first step in the talent management (TM) process is to understand the difference between the talent you need versus the talent you have. Understanding the talent you need starts with understanding the needs of the enterprise in the short and long term—and then designing an organization and path to support those needs.

For example, if you are leading an IT organization, it’s important to know where the …

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