Whenever I see something appear to be moving more slowly than it has to, it's fairly certain that something simple is being overlooked.
I was listening to an executive team talking about their impending Talent Management initiative in anticipation of a presentation that was to be delivered to them on the topic. Here are some snippets of the informal chat:
- "It's good that we're finally going to do succession planning in earnest."
- "That's right. Our Board is nervous about what would happen in the case of a sudden death or serious illness."
- "I need to know who my up-and-coming people are."
- "We'll be able to look at a chart and see 'who's who' when it's time for an important move. "
Hmm. . .
Shortly before that, I was with line managers and HR people who were talking about the same initiative. Heres' what you would have heard:
- "I think this is supposed to make it easier for me to have development discussions with my people."
- "What software program are we going to use to track training and developmental assignments?"
- "This is good. We're going to have more workshops and seminars."
- "What are we going to include that will help with retention?"
- "Does this mean that we'll have a defined career path?"
What's Going On?
The importance of self-interest comes into play here. Not selfish self-interest but the fact that when something new is introduced, we tend to define it from our personal perspective. That perspective emerges from a hope that something we need is going to be fulfilled.
The multiple conversations revealed an Aha!. While everyone across the organization was pretty excited about "Talent Management" as a way of life, they didn't have a simple, common understanding of what it meant. The top level folks were thinking, "Succession Planning." Everyone else had a variety of notions, depending upon one's role, needs, and hopes.
Sooo. . .trying to practice what I preach about Aha!. . .I put together a quick graphic for the person doing the executive presentation. The idea was to simplify what Talent Management is about while acknowledging the validity and distinction of Succession Planning as a part of it. The simplicity is also there to force the need to talk about the underlying elements and arrive at a common understanding:If any of you are in the early stages of program development--or bumping into what appear to be honest misunderstandings--I hope this is helpful.