Managing people is no easy task. We ask our managers to do a lot of things well. The list of competencies that are required by managers can be lengthy. For example, managers must analyze issues, make sound decisions, act strategically, motivate others, problem solve and drive execution to name a few.
But to me, all other competencies pale in comparison to my number one managerial competency, namely Building Talent.
Building Talent means that the manager ensures that they have the right people in place to properly execute the strategy and deliver outstanding results.
I look at Building Talent as a 'catch phrase' that encompasses several key areas:
- Hiring high-caliber talent
- Retaining the best talent
- Developing successors and creating talent pools
- Establishing bench strength
Sounds pretty simple right? However, the reality is that while every manager wants to accomplish these aims, something happens to throw them off track. The problem is that work gets in the way, people are busy, and all of the sudden, these lofty ideals are moved to the 'back burner.'
I am a firm believer that what gets measured, gets done. Therefore, if you want managers to value the Building Talent competency, you must embed some talent metrics into their performance evaluation.
Start off by creating a measure for quality of hire. This measure would be a combination of the performance review and independent assessment by other leaders. Next, think about using a measure that captures turnover in a different light. Because not all turnover is bad, I would rather focus on the retention of key (or best) talent.
Finally, critically view the talent bench for each of the managers. Remember, this measure should look at the progress (or lack there of) in developing bench strength. For example, if a manager inherited a weak bench, they need time to change course and develop their team. As simple 'up-arrow' or 'down-arrow' could suffice.
If you need assistance with this or other leadership topics, please feel free to contact me at Tom Sheehan.