What Is a Talent Mindset?

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By Kevin Roche
May 28, 2019

In a world where businesses, products and services have become more digitized, globalized and commoditized, talent will become the only true differentiator for lasting competitive advantage. Therefore, it’s imperative and prudent to invest in talent management.  Adopting a “talent mindset” is essential to becoming a great company centered around talent.

Organizational leaders have a responsibility to ensure the development and growth of the talent that has been entrusted to them. The workforce is one of the most valuable and expensive company assets. The job of the leader is the appropriate management and utilization of talent!

What does talent management look like within an organization? It starts with the right mindset; with strong support from all stakeholders.  Drawing from the work of The War for Talent by Michael, Handfield-Jones, and Axelrod:

A Talent Mindset is Not:

  • a vague notion or slogan that “people are our most valuable asset”
  • where HR is responsible for and owns all things people and talent related
  • an ad-hoc investment in an annual succession planning process that often never gets used when making talent decisions
  • a situation where leaders simply work with the people they inherit and covet the best performers for themselves

A Talent Mindset is:

  • a true understanding, conviction and demonstration that better talent leads to superior business results
  • where all leaders have and accept their responsibility to grow, develop and redeploy the best talent across the organization
  • when talent management is seen as a critical lever to drive corporate performance
  • actively taking more risks and bold actions on talent to expand the pool of “ready now” leaders to fuel future corporate growth

Leaders should be thoughtful as to the role of talent in their business and how talent management fits within the scope of their role.  To assess your current talent mindset consider the following:

  • What role talent plays in the achievement of business goals?
  • Will having better people provide a competitive advantage?
  • Does differentially investing in talent ensure success in the marketplace?
  • Do you accept the responsibility for strengthening your talent pool as a crucial part of your job?
  • What investments are you willing to make in growing your people?
  • What talent management goals will you hold yourself accountable to over the coming year?
  • What actions could you take to create a more sustainable team/department/function?

Adopting a talent mindset involves all managers who are encouraged to have frequent, candid conversations with their direct reports about their careers:

  • Long-term career ambitions
  • Agree to one key development action
  • Recognition for a job well done
  • Succession for key positions and preparation needed
  • Opportunities for redeployment within the organization
  • Suggesting colleagues who would be good coach or mentor?

Having better talent, which starts with having the right mindset, impacts all performance levers. The evidence is clear that talent is the key to businesses success, and never have leadership teams been more motivated to implement a talent mindset to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace to win!