“Talent is energy waiting to be released through an honest involvement in life.” These words, written by New York Times bestselling author Mark Nepo sure hit the nail on the head. If you view your team’s talent in terms of potential energy, you are sure to find a near-endless supply of innovation, motivation, and problem solving—but only if you do your part.
In my experience, leaders who relentlessly focus on each of the following ten areas unleash the talent (energy) in any organization and deliver sustainable results.
Selection: Hire thoughtfully. Consider not only past experiences but also personality and EQ—emotional intelligence. Will a candidate be able to succeed given the dynamics of the group they are joining? It takes more than book-smarts and experience to effectively operate within a team.
Education: Invest in your people. When employees feel supported while expanding their skills, your whole team will gain the fruits of their learning, and usually, their loyalty.
Communication: Remember that communication is the joint construction of meaning. Always seek feedback to ensure the desired message is getting through. Verbal and written communication is equally important.
Organization: Build to align. How you organize your team will determine how it functions. Strive to create synergies that help to balance skills and personalities across your teams.
Compensation: Pay at market value, and balance pay components to align with your short and longer term strategic focus where you can.
Recognition: Celebrate accomplishments both formally and informally. Positive reinforcement is an effective motivator. A simple, “nice work,” as well as performance bonuses or company-wide award programs will go a long way toward engaging your team.
Promotion: Once you recognize the role models on your team, promote them. Your employees will understand what it takes to move up.
Retention: Never assume your employees will stick around long-term. What can you do to retain your best leaders (at every level)? When others call to poach your best and brightest, employees should have no hesitation as they hang up the phone. You may need to take a closer look at what keeps your employees loyal.
Performance management: Review both the what and the how of expectations and results. Where misalignment exists, be sure to correct for it with effective consequences.
Values: Establish clear values across the team. Reinforce these values on a regular basis by taking them “off the wall” and putting them “on the agenda.” This will set the tone for the organization.
The only sustainable advantage for organizations is people. Tap into this energy—this talent—by recognizing its potential in every interaction and in every project. When a strong focus is centered around supporting the people who make up your organization, their ability to serve your customers, shareholders, and their community will be multiplied and it will be sustainable. With continued attention to these ten areas, the success of your team will be unleashed.