Archive for the ‘talent’ Category
In the early 1990s, a research psychologist named K. Anders Ericsson, along with two of his associates from Berlin’s Academy of Music, designed a study to compare the differences between the violinists in at the school. They divided the violinists into three groups. Students in the first group were the stars—the students that would surely go on to do great things. The second group included those students viewed as merely good at playing the violin. The students in the third group were not exceptional players but planned to eventually teach music in the public school system.
Each student was asked one very simple question: From the time you first started to play the violin, how many hours have you practiced? All of the students started playing at about the same age: 5 years old. At that age, each student practiced roughly the same amount of time: two to three hours per week. A few years later, differences started to appear. The best players started to practice more and more as they got older. By age nine: six hours per week. By age twelve: eight hours per week. By age fourteen: sixteen hours per week. By the time these students were twenty years old, they were practicing well over thirty hours per week. Over the years, the elite players had racked up at least 10,000 hours of practice time. The good players practiced about 8,000 hours. And the future music teachers practiced just over 4,000 hours.
Ericsson and his colleagues completed the same study with pianists and very similar statistics emerged. The best pianists practiced at least 10,000 hours before they were considered among the elite group of players. Their research uncovered another fascinating tidbit: not a single prodigy was found among the elite players (the study calls them naturals). Among the two groups with lower ability levels, the researchers did not find any one student that worked harder than everyone else and simply couldn’t cut it (the study calls them grinds). Another fascinating point about this research is that those students that were good enough to be accepted into an elite music school—those students that distinguished themselves above all others—not only worked harder than everyone else, they worked much, much harder than everyone else.
Researchers have found that this 10,000-hour rule seems to be the case for a number of different disciplines.
“The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin. “In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Of course, this doesn’t address why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others do. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.”
Now that you have a better idea of the amount of time it will take you to master something—anything really—how much time do you have left to reach that level? One thousand hours? Three thousand hours? Eight thousand hours? Are you starting a completely new venture and feel discouraged by the amount of time it will take to become a true master at it? Guess what: you are not alone. Look around you. There are literally thousands—millions—of people in the same boat as you. But you do have one advantage that they don’t have: you know where you stand compared to the elite status you seek. They most likely don’t. Before you get discouraged, look at your personal strategic plan for the future. How does practice time figure into the equation? Do you need to include more practice time in your strategic plan? Can you cut something else out in order to fit more practice time in? According to Ericsson and his associates, practice time is more important than almost anything else if you would like to reach that elite level you seek.
Start practicing more today. Start practicing more now.
How many hours have you put into becoming an elite _______?
Malcom Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
, (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011), 35-68.
A key aspect of CMOE’s Applied Strategic Thinking® Model involves determining strengths and using those strengths to create a solid strategic approach to work and life. Recent research by the Gallup Management Journal supports this step. While CMOE’s Applied Strategic Thinking Model is geared towards the individual contributor, its principles can be applied at the team, department, region, and organization level just as easily. At any level, individual or organization,
‘One of the most important foundations of performance is determining what you’re good at, what you have the potential to be great at, and bringing that [knowledge] to the work that you do,’ says Nicole Helprin, director of internal and employee engagement communications for Hewlett-Packard. ‘When people feel like they’re bringing their gifts to the workplace, they’re more productive, they’re more engaged, and they’re going to be more successful in meeting their expectations.’
A lack of clearly defined expectations is detrimental to the productivity of an organization. Worse, it’s almost impossible for the organization to be credible in the eyes of its employees if it cannot clearly articulate what employees should be doing at work.
There are many definitions for the word strength, but the one I am concerned with is this: “something that is regarded as being beneficial or a source of power.” So, when you identify strengths, either as an individual, a team, or as an organization, you discover and identify your sources of power. Creating a strategic approach to your responsibilities that uses these sources of power keeps your strategic plan in a place where success is not only possible but is also more probable.
Before declaring your strategic intentions, identify as many different strengths as possible. Divide the list into two categories: soft strengths and hard strengths. Soft strengths include knowledge, experience, education, ideas, etc. (intangibles). Hard strengths include money, materials, tools, equipment, etc. (tangibles).
After creating an exhaustive list of strengths, analyze the list to find the ones you lack in relation to your strategic intent and write them down next to the list of strengths. This is your list of weaknesses. This list identifies the areas that you, your team, your organization, etc. need to improve in. Until improvements are made and the weaknesses are converted into either hard or soft strengths, avoid ventures that may expose those weaknesses. Exposed weaknesses spawn problems and will likely cause you to deviate from your strategic map in order to correct the problems. When you know where your weaknesses lie, they are more easily avoided.
Creating functional strategy that is founded on your strengths will not guarantee success, but but if your strategic approach comes from areas of strength rather than those of weakness, success is more likely. The key is to have the courage to identify areas of weakness so they can be avoided. Understanding weaknesses is actually, in and of itself, a great strength. Use the knowledge as such.
Asplund, Jim. “Strengths-Based Goal Setting.” Gallup, Inc. Last modified March 6, 2012. http://gmj.gallup.com/content/152981/Strengths-Based-Goal-Setting.aspx?utm_source=email&utm_ medium=032012&utm_content=morelink&utm_campaign=newsletter
 strength. Dictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/strength (accessed: March 12, 2012).
 Stowell, Steven, and Stephanie Mead. Ahead of the Curve: A Guide to Applied Strategic Thinking. Salt Lake City: CMOE Press, 2005.
CMOE is pleased to announce the winner of the Visualizing Leadership Scholarship.
Congratulations to Maria Allen of Florida who submitted the winning infographic.
Click to see full infographic
Maria and all other contestants were judged on the following criteria:
- Image Quality
“The top five entries were very impressive and after judging the entries, the top five all scored within a few points of each other” said Martha Rice, part of CMOE’s design team.
The scholarship was made possible by CMOE’s design team who was looking for creative ideas or useful designs that could be used in product or promotional material.
CMOE wishes to extend its thanks to all parties who participated and invites them to watch for and participate in future CMOE scholarships.
We put together an infographic on the top 5 reasons top talent leave their jobs. Enjoy!
FREE: add this infographic to your website!
600 Pixel Wide Version
For those of you readers who frequently watch the NBC sitcom, The Office, you likely enjoyed the last few episodes of the Spring 2011 season as I did! For those of you who are less familiar with this television show, it is based on an office made up of a hodgepodge of dysfunctional employees. There is a US and British based version. Their fearless leader, played by Steve Corell, recently left the company, and upper management is in dire straits to find someone to fill the manager position. The season finale featured many well-known comedians playing the roles of candidates to the Regional Manager position. Each interview with these candidates was more absurd than the last and it seemed like it would be nearly impossible to find the right person to be Regional Manager. Meanwhile, many of the fans of the show still wonder why the most likely person to be promoted to the position, Jim Halpert, isn’t prepared or motivated to be the office manager.
Anyone who has the task of selecting and developing leaders from within the organization will agree with the idea that promoting from the inside to fill existing positions can at times be risky politically, but will often result in a better outcomes. However, it doesn’t just start when a leadership position becomes available. It is responsibility of leaders at every level to be preparing the next generation of leaders to come. The decisions and actions you make regarding talent identification and development will have a lasting impact on the business. In addition, your involvement in this critical task will help exceptional team members maximize their full potential and be fully engaged.
If you recognize that identifying and developing future talent within the organization is something you need to start doing, or simply do more of, here are a few questions to consider.
1. What are the leadership qualities, competencies, and characteristics required for success in a current or future position of leadership at your organization?
2. Who do you think has leadership potential that you would like to consider for development?
3. What specific technical, managerial, and leadership behaviors and indicators have you observed in this person that indicates leadership potential?
4. How does your management team and/or others involved feel about the leadership potential of this person? What strengths and weaknesses do they see in this person that you need to consider?
5. Do you know what this person’s career aspirations are? If so, what are they and will he/she be interested in development activities?
6. How committed will this be person to working on developmental assignments?
Using these questions as a guide, you will be more successful in identifying talent to drive the organization forward and prepared to being the development process.
Recently, an interview with Buck Showalter, Manager of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team was shown on the television. It caught my attention because the Orioles have had many losing seasons and there is renewed hope that Buck Showalter will be able to continue to turn things around for Baltimore. The last time the Orioles made it to the playoffs was in 1997. It was interesting that Buck doesn’t claim to be a “miracle worker.” He said he “respects challenges” that the organization faces and knows that he has to lead and “overhaul an entire culture of losing.” Many leaders are facing a similar situation because of the economic downturn and difficult challenges that have plagued many organizations. A lot of leaders may find themselves in a situation where they too need to overhauls the culture of a team or organization because of the downturn and impact on morale. Economic conditions have certainly taken a toll on my own organization and even with some positive signals it still seems that there is work to be done to reinvigorate people and get people recommitted to our vision and mission. To do this, it starts with consistent leadership. Buck said he’s just trying to get his young team members to think about the individual “piece they can contribute to the team everyday” that the team can “count on.” It is obvious that he believes in his players and what they can do. Buck Showatler’s leadership will certainly be in the forefront of my mind as I think of the challenges that we must respectfully face and finds ways to enroll my team members in positioning our organization for long terms sustained success.
Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner believed that running was a mental game. She said: “Every day I tell myself I’m not going to allow anything to stop me. I try to see my goals before me. There are a lot of things which could try to slow me down–injuries, family problems, financial problems, but you have to be so mentally tough when you’re out there.”
Whether the goal, resolutions, plans, or strategic objectives you set for yourself, having the mental toughness to adhere to it is critical in achieving your desired results. Joyner not only saw what she wanted, but was also able to reach it. CMOE has trained and worked with thousands of managers helping them set goals to improve their leadership skills. From our observations, typically most people are able to set goals and define strategic objectives. Then they quickly lose sight of what they are working towards. Adherence and persistence is often the missing piece.
Sometimes adherence is a time frame–sustaining something long term. On the other hand, it can be the amount of concentrated effort needed. Either way, there are really four basic principles to keep in mind as we enhance out “mental toughness” to stick with the strategies and plans that we have set for ourselves.
First, you need to clearly know where you are headed. Not just a general idea or plan, but a concrete target you want to obtain. Without a clear target, you can easily become derailed or distracted. Clarity gives you a sense of purpose and push into action. Basil S. Walsh, an American author said it perfectly: “If you don’t know where you are going, how can you expect to get there?”
Once you know what your target is, you must decide if you are willing to pay the price to go the distance. You have to ask yourself, “Do I believe this goal is worth the effort?”
If so, it requires building up the courage and stamina to persist to the end. It has to be a conscious decision that you make. You must internalize it and believe in it to make it happen. Concentrate and remind yourself of the positive (and negative) consequences or outcomes from your efforts. These will become your motivating factors. It is also too easy to bite off more that you can handle, so make certain you can fully invest in the direction you are headed.
While you may have a clear target and a commitment to it, it will be difficult to move forward persistently unless you know the path that will lead you there. To be most effective, one of your actions should include obtaining the resources required. Rather than listing short bullet point action steps, put some “meat” on it by describing exactly what you need to do, who will help or be responsible (if your target involves others), and when you will complete that step. These intermediate steps keep the momentum going. You are more likely to stick with your plan, if you take smaller strides. Make your action steps visible so you have a constant reminder. Also remember to reward and recognize yourself as you move closer to rather than to wait until you have accomplished your target.
Successful adherence and resolve requires passion. Find way to enjoy what you are doing and aspiring to. Begin by asking, “How can I get myself to enjoy, really enjoy this?” It really comes down to your attitude about what you are doing. Earl Nightingale said, “A great attitude is not the result of success; success is the result of great attitude.” Visualize yourself being successful. You may have heard that you should “think positively.” Well, not only should your think positively but act positively. You will, of course, experience some up and downs as you move towards your desired results. When you experience a setback, give yourself a break, Look at where you were and where you are now. Reigniting passion will help your through these inevitable disappointments, fear, and frustrations. You can turn your energy into a positive direction by refocusing on your goals and how it will make a difference to you and others.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even through checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that know no victory nor defeat.” As with any goal or strategy, despite our best efforts we may not always find success. But we can feel better about ourselves and our contribution if we have done our very best to persistently work to achieve something great.
Many organizations today are finding that they don’t have the right talent or enough talent in their organizations to be successful. If you have experienced this, you know it is frustrating, challenging, and can drain energy and emotion in trying to execute daily business responsibilities.
This past week, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal by Joe Light titled: Leadership Training Gains Urgency Amid Stronger Economy. In the article, Mr. Light discusses how many organizations have cut spending on leadership development initiatives over the past two years during the economic downturn. Now that the economy is starting to recover, these organizations are worried they will experience the exodus of baby boomers and retirees as their investment portfolios start to recover. Many organizations are finding they simply don’t have the leadership pipeline within the organization to fill these leadership roles as companies shift towards a growth focus. This scenario leaves any organization vulnerable to the competition. Add to that the severity of the economic downfall and it only compounds the challenges further.
For individuals who work in the learning and development industry, this news and information is nothing new. For many other individuals this may be a shocking surprise. Organizations need to spend more money to develop talent to drive the business. Remember, half of your assets do not show up on the balance sheet – your people. Organizations spend thousands of dollars on computers, specialized software, mobile phones, and office space. Why not spend a few hundred dollars developing your people to maximize performance and drive bottom line results. If you have not already done so, think plan, and act to develop your high-potential leaders.
OMG, RU GOING CRAZY = Oh My Goodness, Are You Going Crazy!
Can you read the above line? If you can’t, it is because technological communication is rapidly changing into encrypted messages like this, which is an unfamiliar form of communication for you! Emails, instant messaging, and text messaging are a few of the most common methods of communication these days and face-to-face communication is becoming outdated. While I can see many benefits these communication methods bring both to the social and professional world, my concerns about how it affects our conflict management and relationship building skills is growing nonetheless.
U Need Help = You Need Help
I have a small counseling practice on the side where I focus on helping teenagers navigate through life. During the past few years, I’ve personally seen a rapid decline in many teenager’s everyday social skills. Some of my observations include difficulties addressing conflict, smaller vocabulary, poor non-verbals communication, inability to express emotions through verbal means (outside of the Text Message Shorthand of sideways smiley or frowny faces), and an overall discomfort with spoken conversations. I know what you’re thinking at this point – welcome to working with teenagers! However, I truly believe that this is largely due to a decrease in experience with face-to-face communication, and solely relying on texting, emailing, and instant messaging, where the human interaction is removed.
YUPPIES = Young Urban Professionals
So, how does this affect our up and coming workforce? While the future is looking bright and full of talented and capable young individuals, it is likely these young individuals will struggle with the basic and essential skill of relating and connecting with team members, leaders, subordinates, clients and customers, and vendors. Some organizations may even be seeing the affects of texting and emailing in employees who are in their early twenties.
Getting the 411 Is ^ 2 U = Getting the Information is Up to You
So, what is the solution? One immediate action we can all take is to preserve the art of face-to-face communication in our own realm. Despite the ease of typing a quick instant message to the person in the cubicle behind you, make an effort to send and receive a more accurate and personal message by doing so face-to-face. Take the opportunity to call that vendor and clarify exactly what your department needs, versus hoping it is understood through a series of emails. When you are going to be late to your next meeting, send a quick text letting the administrative assistant know you won’t be on time, but then take the opportunity to apologize in person and use non-verbals to communicate your sincerity.
Another step companies can take to ensure their workforce is full of effective communicators is to increase opportunities for training and development in the area of communication. Training on communication skills is a great opportunity for employees to practice and learn basic and advanced levels of communication. Your employees will be more aligned when they communicate from learning the same concepts and skills taught by qualified facilitators who are trained in adult learning theories.
Help develop communication skills B4 its 2 L8!
Several years ago I was invited to participate on an industry association panel, discussing “offshoring,” (which means outsourcing globally). Having been a senior leader in a global company for many years, I asked the first very obvious question — Which shore? I proceeded to have some fun in addressing the subject by noting that virtually all developed countries (and of late some not so developed countries) are having similar discussions.
While many educated people can discuss the economic and social impacts on countries of the movement of goods and services around the globe, I would like to address some principles of building and operating a company that spans multiple continents.
Let’s begin by getting some of our vocabulary aligned. There is a difference between being an International” company versus a “Global” company. A lot of companies have out-of-country activities that may include sales and procurement – this is an international company, even if it includes a few regional offices. A global company truly operates in various countries providing goods/services both in the native country as well as moving goods/services between countries. A fully functioning global company has a culture and perspective that transcends the locale where it is registered or where its stock is listed.
For those companies desiring to be truly global, the development of an appropriate company culture cannot be left to chance – building the desired culture is a full-time job. A global company is not just a series of regional companies strung together under common ownership. Quickly one can see the need for tailored products/services and the delivery of these to satisfy the local or regional market expectations. But here is the bigger question: How do you build a team of people who recognize the need to serve the local market and effectively operate their assigned area while also being part of the bigger team where they can exchange ideas, get inspiration, and contribute to the advancement of the entire company?
Building an effective global culture is not inexpensive, nor is it a one-shot deal. It is a concept to which all senior leadership must commit and make a part of their daily actions. Human Resources can help with well planned global talent assessments, succession planning, and leadership skills development, including expatriate assignments. Cultural sensitivity training and facilitated mixed culture forums can start the process.
There has to be a Global Vision/Mission statement that is an anchor point for your leaders, irrespective of their home country. It must have longevity, addressing the business purpose and corporate values.
Perhaps the most powerful force in building a global company is the basic human trait to accept and bond with those we have come to know on a more personal basis. Audio/video conferencing is a nice tool once a relationship is established, but it is ineffective for establishing the relationship. To establish the bonds between people and break down inherent nationalistic, cultural and personal biases, people need to travel and partake in the cultures of their colleagues.
Forming a global team to implement a global or regional project (contrasted to a local team doing a global project) brings the best ideas forward and builds strong bonds that benefit the company well beyond the specific project. Functional leadership forums and best-practice sharing sessions break down barriers and drive the best ideas forward. Promoting those individuals that best demonstrate the desired culture will send powerful messages throughout the organization.
There is a large WATCH OUT. In the drive for a corporate global culture it is easy to inadvertently paint a picture that the “desired culture” is, for example, American or German or Chinese. To be most effective, a company’s global corporate culture must reflect a mix of the best qualities its participants have to offer.
One way to measure your success in building an effective global company culture is to monitor your recruitment results. Are you able to equally attract and retain talented people from all the countries you serve?