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Posted by on Jan 4, 2013 in Talent Management in Asia | 2 comments

Your To Don’t List For 2013: How Not To Engage Talent

Work_New_Year_ResolutionsThe beginning of the year is always about ones New Years resolutions and what you want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Recently I read an article in the New York Times that suggested; instead of making your “To Do” list, make a “To Don’t” list. I thought that was a brilliant idea, as you will be taking into account the things you should NOT do!

So, if one of your resolutions is to fast track your best talent this year, here is a list of things Not To Do:

1. Think Small
Your department has to deliver operational results. You want to make sure you use your best player to deliver your department results, right? … Wrong! Use your best talent for delivering results that will blow your boss away. Don’t waste their abilities to deliver daily / operational tasks. Let them run. Give them challenges and make sure they constantly run in 5th gear.

2. Be Murky
Not being clear of what you expect of someone is the number one performance killer. How can people perform if they don’t know what is expected of them? Setting clear performance expectations is significantly more difficult as it sounds, as it requires you to analyze, articulate and simplify into a clear objective. Answer the following questions: What will WOW you? Will your team achieve their goals/targets by the end of the year? What would success in this project / task look like?

3. Sit On Their Head
Talent is talent because you know they have got the capability to get things done. Maybe they don’t have the experience or knowledge yet, but they are imaginative enough to figure it out or find the information they need in order to get things done. The worst thing you can do is to hold them on a tight leash. Give them the resources they need and trust them to do the rest.

4. Keep Them In The Dark
People that have talent are not only aware of the fact, but also know their market value. The best thing you can do is to acknowledge this and help your talent discover how they can achieve their potential and maximize their growth. The moment that you start hiding opportunities (inside or outside the company) you will lose their trust. Treat people with respect and help them think through the career and learning options they have. If you put yourself in their perspective and help them reach their potential, you will not only gain their trust, but maybe even their loyalty.

5. Hide Them
Talent learns from doing big things, making mistakes and a guiding hand who can help them sweat the small stuff. Above all they learn from exposure; learning from people that are better than them and being exposed to meetings, interactions, presentations, discussions that are far above their pay grade. Talent wants to meet other talent. They want to measure themselves up with others and want to network with other top performers. Not only will your talent benefit from this exposure, but the organization will benefit as well, as learning spreads around quickly. Even more importantly, you will benefit from exposing your best talent and your bosses will recognize you for the talent developer that you are.

I wish you an amazing new year and if there is one resolution for 2013 that will benefit you professionally the most it is to develop your talent. It will help them, help your company and above all help you!

– Paul Keijzer


  1. Very well written I wonder if majority of managers do think it that way.

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