Investing in Talent

Ever played Fantasy Football?  Well, whether you’re interested in soccer or not, bear with me on this one.  Imagine that you’ve just signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid for £100 million.  OK, if you’re really not into the beautiful game, it might be easier to think of David Beckham in his heyday (only better).  You’ve just signed this amazing player and you send him out onto the pitch (a bobbly school playing field) wearing slippers!

Anything wrong with this picture?   Even to the football virgin, this must look like a bad idea – a massive waste of talent. Well, that’s how a lot of businesses treat their staff or, what from now on I’m going to call their talent.  If you don’t value and invest in them, you’re no better than the hapless manager who’s just sent Ronaldo scurrying back to Spain.

Talent is potentially any organisation’s greatest asset.  In fact it’s a real Unique Selling Point, because every person is unique and can’t be replicated, unlike other aspects of your business.  Despite Intellectual Property law, ideas can be reproduced in different guises and protecting this asset can be costly and time-consuming.   But nobody’s going to steal your talent unless you’re careless enough to undervalue them and make it easy for them to flit off to somebody who ‘s going to look after them better.

But, while this may seem blindingly obvious, carelessness abounds and plenty of your rivals and competitors are failing to see the wisdom in this.

On a wider basis, the UK economy has massive issues with the productivity of its workforce.  Assessing the challenges facing us post-Brexit, Tom Kibasi, Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research and Chair of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice, wrote recently in The Observer: “there is nothing progressive about declining to invest in skills in this country.”  He goes on to say: “Since the financial crisis, productivity growth in the British economy has stalled, leading to a stagnation in living standards for the majority of households.”

Kibasi cites productivity as one of the major problems facing the UK in the coming years.  On a more local level, the Social Enterprise sector doesn’t easily attract talent due to perceptions and a limited ability to pay salaries (although promisingly the so-called Generation Y are much more switched on to ethical trading, so we will hopefully see this change).

If the term ‘talent’ isn’t an easily understood one, how about the word ‘culture’?  Organisations often suffer from a lack of enterprising culture; at Bubble Chamber we hear a lot from social enterprises about the difficulties of introducing a truly entrepreneurial spirit throughout the business and this can hinder the ability to grow.  It also contributes to poor productivity.  Spending on recruitment but not investing (a key word here) in the development and retention of talent can be a real inhibitor to growth.

So, the micro picture reflects the macro one that Tom Kibasi describes in his Observer article. If we really see talent as our biggest asset, yet it is not delivering the desired productivity and has myriad other issues associated with it, what can we do about it?

The answer is simple:

Develop a Talent Strategy

This has three key elements:

Recruitment

Development

and last but not least:

Retention

I’d encourage you to watch our video, which is part of Bubble Chamber’s Video Curriculum, for a simple introduction to this.

It’s vital that this is seen as an investment and not a cost, if organisations are to really address the urgent issue of productivity.  People are people but they are much more – they are the talent that is your richest resource, with the skills and values to take your organisation where you want it to go.

Your talent strategy is an essential part of developing an enterprising culture and, if you’re not already addressing it, you should be.

To get an overview of our whole curriculum, and how Talent Strategy fits in, watch the video here.

And do get in touch if you want to discuss any of these ideas further.

 

Bubble Chamber CIC

Riding the White Waters with Talent Dynamics

Imagine yourself strapped in to a rubber dinghy hurtling at top speed down a perilously rocky canyon, jagged walls to the sides, slabs of granite inches from your face, tons of water cascading over your head and the constant fear of capsizing into the torrent.

Pretty exhilarating stuff. As long as you survive, that is! Running your own social enterprise can be just the same. There are dangers aplenty and navigating the treacherous obstacles of business can be both as adrenaline-pumping and as liable to messy failure.

The secret of getting through the rapids, and feeling the excitement as you not only survive but arrive the other side feeling you’ve really achieved something, is to learn to ride the white waters and let the momentum carry you to ever greater heights.

If you manage that, you’re truly “in flow” and working at the peak of achievement at all times. One technique that can really help you do that is Talent Dynamics (TD) and that’s what I want to talk to you about today. It’s all geared towards getting the very best from yourself and those around you.

Talent Dynamics is an international business development training company based in the UK, which in recent years has grown and grown, accelerating trust and, that word again, flow across the world.

As a certified coach in TD, I can attest to the value of putting yourself and your team through this process. Working in harmony (flow) has significant benefits for developing your culture and talent, for retaining the best people, improving communication both internal and external, and leveraging relationships as you build trust with your customers.

Put simply, Flow is the path of least resistance. When you are in a team “in flow”, your productivity increases, your results improve dramatically and, just as importantly, you have more fun.

The key to “flow” is understanding that everyone works differently. Building a complete team is crucial to avoiding waste and conflict. Talent Dynamics profiles your people individually and assigns each person their own place, focusing on their unique skills and personal attributes.

TD profiling allows everyone to understand their place in the whole by assigning each person to one of eight profiles which acknowledge the different strengths and value of each member of the team. This ensures you are all working where you add most value.

You can also quickly identify if any key characteristics are missing and ensure that everyone is contributing what is most needed. The TD matrix follows the business lifecycle and, depending on where your business is at, you may find you need a different mix of people or talent.

We’ve all heard the phrase “too many chiefs, not enough Indians” and TD addresses this common failing by ensuring that people are valued for what they can bring to the business, rather than seeking reward by trying to inch their way up the greasy pole of traditional personal development. It’s really about developing your biggest asset – your people – in a way that maximizes talent and avoids waste.

 “Make talent a top strategic priority that is pursued constantly”

In a recent report McKinsey & Company highlighted the development of talent as a top priority, second only to fund-raising as an important problem for social entrepreneurs. They said “And unlike other challenges they face (such as funding, logistics, or regulatory compliance), the talent gap is a problem that gets tougher as social enterprises scale.” They go on to say “make talent a top strategic priority that is pursued constantly” and (their italics, not mine) “Don’t just retain employees—grow leaders.”

This points to the importance of utilizing a system like Talent Dynamics to ensure that your team is operating on as effective a level as possible.

If you want to know more about the details of how Talent Dynamics can help you achieve perfect balance and a crew that, together, can steer its way through the rocky waters, talk to us at Bubble Chamber about how we can use the technique to help you and your organization’s development.