I have attended many talent and succession planning meetings over the years. And even so, they are still one of the highlights – if not the highlight – of my year (at work at least). So far this year I have participated in three…and I still have one more to go.
Most meetings I attend have much intrinsic value in the work we do to prepare. For talent meetings we think about our people in great detail before we arrive. And often we even talk with those individuals before we go and represent them – and our thoughts and ideas of them – in the review.
Some meetings I attend have significant added value from the discussions themselves. This is not always the case…but it is always the case with reviews of people…of talent. I love talent reviews.
What’s not to love? I have chance to talk about our people, what we are trying to do with, for and together…and I get to hear about other talented individuals across our larger teams.
There is always value describing someone – saying the words out loud. Recounting their amazing strengths and exciting opportunities – to peers and colleagues. That process alone helps me…encourages and enables me…to think differently and about different ideas and suggestions I can offer or try to create.
But the real value comes from everyone else in the room. It’s the reflections and insights from those peers and colleagues…what they observe. By definition these observations are based on much less exposure and inevitably tend to be more intuitive or instinctive. But this is where real learning can be acquired.
Feedback (what we have been seen to have done) and feed-forward (what we could do differently or more successfully next time) is nearly always subjective…but nearly always high value. Feedback is not always easy to hear – after all, virtually anything we chose to do in a given situation is because we want a positive outcome. Hearing from someone else that there was something better or simpler or just different we could have done…
But feedback can open up our blind spots. Things we didn’t know about ourselves…or even things we didn’t know we didn’t know about ourselves. What’s not to love?
Learning anything we don’t know is a good thing. Learning something about ourselves and our actions we didn’t know or realise…can be an amazing and very impactful experience!
All of which helps explain why I enjoy and benefit from talent reviews so much. And not just for the benefit of the amazing talent we have but for us…for me.
I used to find myself worrying during our talent reviews that somewhere else – in a meeting I wasn’t in – someone else would be talking about me. What would they say? Wouldn’t it be better if I was there to explain? But I have learned to be excited. Interested. Impatient. What did they say? How can I learn? What can I do more of? What can I do less of? How can I help more? Add more value? Not slow things down?
Talent reviews are a rare opportunity for us all. I hear and think and learn about observations and insights from others about individuals in my team. People I care about. People I want to try to help to be more happy, better recognised and rewarded, and more successful.
Anything new or different or changing or re-enforcing I can glean from what I say, I am told or I hear…is always going to be good.
Last week’s talent review…like any view we see or are shown of our people – was hard work, great fun and high value.