Real talent management is about championing and empowering the people who do the work. That means the teams who do the finance, the service delivery, the engineering, the logistics and all those other indispensable tasks without which the firm would come to a halt.
When I worked for GE 20 years ago I was once asked to write a report describing how our sales support engineers could be better organised. I interviewed more than a dozen specialists during this exercise and what they told me left a profound effect on me. They all emphasized very clearly that they wanted their team to be more effective. This was interesting. Never mind that there were different schools of thought about how they might be more effective, the point was they wanted to make a difference. Every single one of them wanted their daily effort to matter, they did not want to be just an ordinary engineer.
Even during coffee breaks or after work in the bar, they would come to me with new suggestions for improving team efficiency and output. Not one of them was looking for ways to be lazy. But the common denominator in all the conversations was a tone of frustration. They all felt there was ‘something wrong in the machine’ which meant they could only rarely deliver to their potential. They couldn’t bring all of their capabilities to bear on their work because there was always some obstruction in the way.
At the time, I didn’t have a full solution. I wrote up my report and submitted it to directors. But fast forward 20 years and I now have far more clarity. The problem was that the sales support and sales teams were comprised of people who had been thrown together because of their demonstrable skills. But skills can be deceptive. If people’s skills are not closely aligned with their underlying natural strengths and talents – which are a far more important factor in job satisfaction – then the result will be permanent discontent. What we had in GE 20 years ago were highly talented people who were playing out of position. And nobody realized it because no-one understood the primacy of natural talent in employee engagement. All of us made decisions about each other based on our noticeable skills record without realizing that, as with icebergs, the hidden part of us – our talents – was far more important.
There is no reason to make such a mistake today. Method Teaming is a teaming science that is able to look beneath the surface of our make-up and pinpoint what it is that we really want to be doing at work and the exact shape of the job role that we will fill to perfection. Method Teaming is not just for the glamorous teams like high finance and key account sales. It’s for the rest of us who do the hard work, the grunt work. If our talent is not deployed he right way, the entire company will suffer. But if we use Method Teaming science to inform the way we build our teams and utilize our talent, our unheralded, unrewarded but absolutely vital work will take the organization to new levels. Not only that but our career satisfaction ratings will go through the roof. And when you improve team productivity at the same time as raising job satisfaction, you’ve aced talent management.
“When you improve team productivity at the same time as raising job satisfaction, you’ve aced talent management.”