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Making more Top Talent with better job fit

Posted by Meg Bear on October 16, 2009


TRAs a Maximizer theme the concept of Top Talent is an especially personal one.   In fact, I have managed to get a team of directs that are all Achievers, which was something I knew about them, before I even knew there was such a theme.

When I think about using a Talent solution to get business value, I have to know what business leaders want.  What keeps a business leader up at night? Is it wondering if their team will meet their Performance bell curve?  Or if they will be using a 3 or 5 point rating scale?  I’m guessing not.  In fact the entire performance process is a means to an end, to a business person (or conversely a PITA but I’d rather not cover that part in this blog).

What a business leader wants is to be successful.  Successful in their business, seen as capable to their leadership and exceeding on their objectives.  For business leaders to scale they need teams who are able to deliver for them.  Here is where we get back to top talent and job fit.

When people are doing the job that is best suited to their strengths, they become top talent.  Making that connection between individual motivation and job role is not just a touchy-feely ideal, it’s smart business.

The better I can position people to do what they do best, the more they do for me. The more they do for me, the more I can do for my boss and my organization.  So, to me as a business leader, the more top talent I have the more successful I am.

So what I want from a talent solution, is to help me get people aligned into job roles based upon their strengths.  When I can do this, I get all the goodness from the rest of the talent strategies.  Goal alignment and attainment become easy,  engagement improves and overall output  is optimized.

To make all this work for me, I need more data.  I need data that I have never captured before.  Not just your competencies but your strengths.  Not just your career plan, but your motivations.  The more rich data I have, the better job I can do getting people to become top talent.

So now we are back to systems and scale.  Systems today have a better ability to gather and make use of data.  With the rise of social software, and a heightened awareness of the importance of a personal brand, people are volunteering more data than ever before.

These are exciting times for those of us who are allowed to find unique opportunities between technology and business. For awhile now I’ve been anticipating a shift in what defines a talent solution.  Initially I thought it was just my own personal boredom with having done this for so long, but now I realize that what I have really been doing is a lot of thin slicing to get to the most obvious of “a ha” conclusions.

The job of a talent solution is not really to measure talent.  The goal of a talent solution is to use the measurement of talent to drive better business results.  If you are just doing the former and not getting the latter you are missing out.  It’s time to think bigger about what can and should be possible with technology.

Are you doing that today?  Is that your talent strategy?  If not why not?  What is your plan?  Hit me with the comments and give me your ideas, I promise to use them for your benefit.

9 Responses to “Making more Top Talent with better job fit”

  1. Amy Wilson said

    I agree Meg. We need to think about what a business leader really wants to know. The business leader’s question is “who is going to make ME successful?” It’s really quite simple, but for some reason we keep answering the wrong questions.

  2. Sorry to take so long commenting, but this post really hits the nail on the head. Not only is finding the right (hopefully best or optimal) fit a way to get the most top talent from your workforce, but focusing on this aspect drives a key prerequisite: finding the pivotal strengths and motivations. In other words, we know deep down that a “perfect fit” can’t be found. But then that means we will have to do trade-offs in our optimization function. Which then hints to us that maybe not all trade-offs are created equal for a given role (in a given situation, etc.) So that asks which strengths/motivations are pivotal? The ongoing benefit of the analysis in answering that question is realized in investments like development optimization strategies, succession planning, organization design, and so forth.

  3. Amy Wilson said

    Meg – Patty Azzarello has an interesting take on this same business problem:
    http://www.azzarellogroup.com/blog/2009/10/12/average-isnt-enough/

    (thanks for turning me onto Patty’s blog in the first place)

  4. Meg Bear said

    @Mark thanks for pointing the way to the pivotal talent
    @Amy asking and answering the wrong question happens a lot (too often actually). I also found Patty’s blog exceptional, thanks for linking it to the conversation.

  5. [...] Making more Top Talent with better job fit [...]

  6. [...] Wilson on December 22, 2009 Finding your own strengths is quite useful.  It can help you find a better job fit.  It can help you hone your development activities.  It can help you sell yourself in an [...]

  7. [...] The value is real, but so is the cost and in any event, this can only ever be a stepping stone for an effective Talent strategy.  You need this measurement to help you understand your workforce, to ultimately be able to better utilize them. [...]

  8. [...] believe that recognizing the humanity and the potential of our workforce is a worthwhile purpose and I believe companies who get this right will have better business [...]

  9. [...] I found the discussion about strengths very powerful.  I’m sure this is not surprising to anyone who knows me,  I’m all about leveraging strengths. [...]

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