Take a look at your team. You have established a staff full of intelligent, passionate and dedicated workers. Now ask yourself, are your employees working to their fullest potential? How about yourself? Are your competitors growing in ways that you are not? Talent development is the process of optimizing all members of your organization through continual education/training to achieve sustainable growth and a competitive edge.

Talent development must be a company priority. The more you and your organization grow and learn, the more you and your company will grow financially and personally.

Talent Development Starts With You:

“To help others develop, start with yourself! When the boss acts like a little god and tells everyone else they need to improve, that behavior can be copied at every level of management. Every level then points out how the level below it needs to change. The end result: No one gets much better.” – Marshall Goldsmith

Leaders are responsible for developing talent within their organization, yet talent development starts at the executive level. As the head of your company, your employees look up to you as the role model for their work ethic and behavior. People do what people see. The first step of talent development involves looking in the mirror.

If you are not growing and improving daily, why would your employees? To cultivate the most from your talent, you’ll need to inspire them through a combination of hard work, dedication, passion and vision. The responsibility of inspiring success, setting the attitudes and habits your company embodies, starts with you.

Create Personal Development Plans:

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King

Every team member in your organization, including yourself, should have a plan forwhat they will learn, grow, and improve upon in a specific time frame. Talent development is not achieved overnight. It takes mentoring, coaching, training, and implementation to grow and conquer organizational goals. Create a strategy and set aside the time necessary to focus on talent. If talent development is not treated as a priority, your day to day tasks will get in the way.
Start your development plans by identifying the skills, both soft and hard, needed to be the leader in your industry. Help each employee create a planto develop the identified skills, while keeping each employee’s skill set and learning style in mind. Invest in your talent by providing them with tools, resources, and experts needed to grow and improve.

While creating individual development plans, keep your organizational goals in mind. Understand how each employee serves to take your company to the next level, and create a plan that will support their efforts to both personal and organizational growth. When measuring the success of each employee, look at how they have grown as an employee but also how their efforts have helped to improve the business overall. The company that learns faster on the inside will grow faster on the outside.

Build a Culture of Talent Development:

“Make a point to continually search for a better way of doing things, even when things are going well, to ensure that a better alternative has not been overlooked and to keep your creative talents in practice.” – John C. Maxwell
One of the main reasons that organizations lose talent is due to a lack of learning opportunities. Reinforce the value of growth and supportive improvement by creating a company culture of talent development. By investing time, energy and resources into your employees, you’ll find that they’ll work harder, feel appreciated, and put in the work needed to take your company to another level.

An example of creating this culture within your company is to provide monthly and quarterly education opportunities, potentially making them mandatory depending on the topic and situation. Another great way to promote growth is to attend conferences as a management team, or send someone that will bring back information.

Here are a few upcoming conferences I will be attending, and I encourage you and your team to join me:

Upcoming Executive Training: Next month, I will be holding a workshop on the 21 Laws of Leadership. This is a great event to attend with your team to learn the attitudes, actions and visions needed to be a successful leader. Also mark your calendar for Live2Lead on October 9 in West Des Moines. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BOTH EVENTS.

Lastly, a great way to build talent development into your company culture is to host book studies or reviews. As a team, discuss, share your thoughts on the book’s recommendations and determine what best practices to act on.

Remember that in order to grow as a company, your employees (and yourself) must not only learn how to develop their skills and talents, but must also apply them daily. Track progress and continue to find more ways to improve. If your talent is stagnant, your business will be as well. Take these best practices and tailor them to fit your team uniquely to optimize your organization’s fullest potential. Continue to grow and innovate, and you will maintain a competitive edge and flourish as a company.

For a complementary talent development assessment, CLICK HERE.

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