Making Talent Management more strategic by focusing on Potential #MyNutShare

One of my earliest posts ‘What is Talent’ (check out the article here) seems to form great, ongoing interest. In this context I’d like to invite you  to also check my post ‘Poor Performance – Beyond Lacking Ability and Motivation’ as this post describes why Talent itself is not enough (check it out here). I decided to go even a bit more into detail with this post on how to make Talent Management more strategic. Enjoy.

To break down the terms of the question I’d like to give you a couple of definitions before starting on the strategic aspect. First things first.

Silzer et al. have defined Talent Management as ‘an integrated set of processes, programs, and cultural norms in an organization designed and implemented to attract, develop, deplay and retain talent to achieve strategic objectives and meet future business needs’. So, it’s basically to figure out whom do you need when and in which positions to hit your business objectives and stay competitive.

Silzer et al. defined that Potential implies ‘that an individual has qualities to effectively perform and contribute in broader or different roles in the organization at some point in the future’.

Companies define ‘Potential’ pretty different. Some companies would define Potential whether an individual can cover and perform in different not yet known roles or strategic positions. Some others might define it as whether he / she has the potential to stay with the company in case his / her position becomes obsolete and the ability to secure yourself another job by being adaptable and capable. Some others might define Potential totally detached from role profiles but look rather on the breadth of a person’s profile i.e. how much would he/she be able to cover (Generalists tend to be more flexible than Specialists). Some others might look on geographical areas or track records … As you can see the term ‘Potential’ is pretty tough to break down.

But there are some more general dimensions on how we can categorise Potential. We can look at personality and the person’s ability and willingness to learn and self-develop. We can also look on the person’s skill sets i.e. his / her leadership or cognitive skills.

These dimensions can be used within our Talent Management processes by clustering these dimensions into the following categories (Silzer & Church, 2009):

Foundational dimensions

Foundational dimensions focus on the cognitive and personality variables, which are consistent and stable. This means that they are unlikely to develop or change.  Cognitive variables or styles would be things like cognitive ability, strategic and conceptual thought processes, ability to handle complex situations. Personality does mean mainly the Big 5 personality traits and whether a person might be likely to derail by having high maladaptive tendencies.

Growth dimensions

The growth dimensions cover the ability to learn and the motivation to do so. The growth dimensions facilitate or hinder whether an individual is likely to grow and develop in different other areas. Learning is hereby put together as things like adaptability, openness to new topics and feedback, openness to learning processes. Motivation is whether an individual has the ambition and the drive to actually take action.

Career dimensions

Career dimensions measure early indicators of later career skills, i.e professional competencies. These might be things like performance (typical and maximum performance), knowledge (already established competencies and skills), leadership skills and managerial behaviour (does the person show natural leadership style, has the ability to influence others etc.). Another important indicator are values, i.e. are the person’s values in line with the company’s values and norms.

With this process of breaking down the different parts of Potential and categorising those into the different dimensions you get a nice structure to manage your talent on a bit more strategic level. Feedback is absolutely appreciated. So, please let me how, how you are managing your talents and making your process more strategic.

MyNutShare - Dimensions of Potential developed from Silzer & Church, 2009
MyNutShare – Dimensions of Potential developed from Silzer & Church, 2009

Silzer, R. & Church, A.H. (2009). “The pearls and perils of identifying potential.” Industrial and Organizational Psychology 2, 377-412.

Conscientiousness – the personality trait with superpower? #MyNutShare

Hello everybody,

in one of my earlier posts I blogged about personality traits and gave a definition (you can check out the post here). Conscientiousness is one of the Big 5 Personality traits and is handled as the one of a kind personality trait. It shall predict job performance and seems to be therefore directly linked to success. People who scale high on conscientiousness seem to be pretty efficient, orderly,  dutiful, have a high self-discipline and strive to achieve and reach their goals.

For example managerial performance is meant to be composed of different tasks like i.e. task completion. People with high contentious tendencies seem to find it easier to do so and to complete tasks as they count to be dutiful, have a high-self discipline and reach to achieve their goals. (Barrick & Mount, 1991)

With nearly all things also personality traits can, in extreme cases, appeal to be a bit ‘too much’. People with a a very high conscientious tendency could appeal to be over conscientious and could tend to be perfectionistic.

There are many free personality assessments out there to give you an indication on how you would scale on conscientiousness – however, there is no guarantee that these assessments are reliable and valid. In general it is advised to have a ‘guided’ personality assessment with a qualified feedback that is given to you. In general what you need to know is that there is NO right or wrong judgements when talking about personality. There might be a good or better fit but tno right or wrong answers.

 

What are Personality Traits?

Have you ever wondered what ‘Personality’ is and what is meant when people talk about ‘Personality Traits’? Let’s bring some light into the dar.

Weinberg and Gould (1999) described personality as “the characteristics or blend of characteristics that make a person unique”.

Emotional competency  brings it to the point with “Personality traits are intrinsic differences that remain stable throughout most of our life. They are the constant aspects of our individuality”. These individual differences are fixed and define who you are. There are different measurements to assess your personality traits. In general, there is not ONE overall valid and agreed and measure of  personality. But the most popular and common one is the “BIG FIVE”.

The Big Five assesses the following personality traits:

Openness to new Experiences – to be willing and finding pleasure in trying new things, intellectual curiosity.

Conscientiousness – to be thorough, being concerned with doing things properly. A very strong expression of conscientiousness might end in perfectionism.

Extraversion – where does energy comes from – intrinsic or from external. And where does energy goes to – is a person more external or more internal oriented.

Agreeableness – how agreeable a person is.

Neuroticism – whether a person is emotional stable or might have a long-term tendency to be emotionally negative.

If you combine the first letters of each trait you get OCEAN – this way it’s pretty easy to remember. Some of the traits might be named differently within the Big Five frame i.e. Neuroticism is called Emotional Stability or Openness to Experience is renamed as Intellect. But the general idea behind it is similar.

In general the Big Five does measure so-called bright side personality traits, i.e. pleasant traits. However, if a very strong tendency is shown the originally positive and favoured personality trait can become a bit more unpleasant.

What is Attitude?

Hello everybody,

Stephanie (My Nut Share)
Stephanie (My Nut Share)

ever felt pleased when someone told you ‘I love your attitude’? I did, absolutely. However, I did not really know what my ‘Attitude’ exactly is. So, I thought I will need to find out. Here is what I found:

 What is Attitude?

A Definition of ‘Attitude’ by Business Dictionary: “A predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation. Attitude influences an individual’s choice of action, and responses to challenges, incentives, and rewards (together called stimuli). Four major components of attitude are (1) Affective: emotions or feelings. (2) Cognitive: belief or opinions held consciously. (3) Conative: inclination for action. (4) Evaluative: positive or negative response to stimuli.

OK, so, this is a lot …  let’s get a bit more into this.

Eagly and Chaiken (1993, 1) defined attitude as “..a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour”. This means when a certain event is happening you will react (think, feel, behave) in a certain way.  This reaction or more the way HOW you are going to react is influenced by a more positive or slightly negative favour of reaction.

OK, so let’s look into the reactions (think, feel, behave) into a bit more detail with some examples:

Thinking: This is the cognitive component, i.e. what we believe and / or know about a certain event.

Example: I think elevators are dangerous, because the space is limited inside an elevator, it goes up to incredible heights and I have to trust in mechanics and technology.

Feeling: This is the affective component, i.e. the feelings and / or emotions we have about a certain event.

Example: I feel anxious when I have to use an elevator.

Behaving: This is the behavioral (or conative) component, i.e. the way we behave or act.

Example: I’d rather choose the stairs or I get sweaty hands and feel anxious when  I have to use an elevator.

Why does Attitude matter?

To answer this question I want to quote a page I just found and, which I think brings the whole thing to the point. Here we go:

A Good Attitude Is The Mother Of Success. Your attitude determines how you’ll be in a future situation, independent of the circumstances that present themselves. If you have a “go-getter”, positive attitude at work, then you’ve decided before circumstances present themselves that you’re going to come out on top. This powerfully shapes how you encounter different situations. The locus of control is within you, not your environment. You’ve predetermined the outcome even before the game has begun.” (For more check out: http://www.positive-thinking-principles.com/what-is-attitude.html)

Having an internal Locus of Control means you believe to be responsible for your actions and the outcomes of those. Things do not happen to you or are results of luck or destiny  (this would be an external Locus of Control) but you make the things happen! A rule of thumb indicates ‘Your success depends 10% on what happens to you and 90% on how you react’.

With this been said – let’s take action and let’s make things happen!

P.S. I DON’T hate elevators 😉

Poor Performance – Beyond Lacking Ability and Motivation

Howdy,

in recent posts I talked about talent, potential and performance. As it has been said already job performance occurs in different stages and with different focus (task performance etc.). To see my other posts around this idea please check the category ‘talent’. Business Dictionary defines performance as ‘The accomplishment of a given task measured against present known standards of accuracy, complexness, cost and speed. In a contract, performance is deemed to be the fulfilment of an obligation in a manner that releases the performer from all liabilities under the contract’.

Well, this definition is quite technically and heavily focussing on task performance – how to perform in executing one task. Further research findings around ‘performance’ were pretty often in line with the model of MindTools – developed from ‘Developing Managament Skills’ by Whetten & Cameron, 2011. This model states:

Performance = Ability x Motivation

With ability being defined as a ‘person’s aptitude, as well as the training & resources supplied by the organisation’ and motivation defined as the ‘product of desire and commitment’.

Facts are:

  1. Ability and motivation are definitely important factors of performance.
  2. Performance is an absolutely essential measure of each company – no matter the company’s size.
  3. Individual’s performance can impact organisational performance.
  4. Many companies prefer focusing on good performance rather than negative performance.

Ability and motivation are important and regarding the fact that many companies are not keen or don’t have the financial resources to focus on too much employee development and training it is essential that abilities and motivation are in place. However, I don’t think this can’t be it. During selection processes we focus mainly on ‘who to select (in)’ – who is the right match for our company / role – whom to pick.

But when we review the impact individuals performance has on a whole team or even organisation shouldn’t we focus more on the parts that trigger poor or even negative performance? Shouldn’t these factors be at least as important as the ‘good’ factors? Shouldn’t we also focus on who to ‘select-out’? Whom to let go?

HR Zone states that good performance does occur on 3 levels:

  1. Relationships between individuals and their boss
  2. Relationships between individuals and their team
  3. Relationships between individuals and their wider organisation

I absolutely like this wider idea of performance. As it does say a lot about the underlying behaviours that form the relationships. Behaviour and soft skills are somehow developable as well as ability is somehow trainable and flexible. Motivation can somehow be increased through external factors like money and other rewards. But shouldn’t we focus on what motivates an individual from the insight? What are the internal motivators? Where does intrinsic motivation comes from? What are the underlying personality traits that form the person’s behaviour, thinking style and finally motivates a person?

In all these definitions above I miss the personality part of performance. Especially the parts that could lead to derailment and contra productive work behaviour which definitely can impact performance – negatively. The relationship levels give a first, nice indication about how people behave in contact with others but to get a real picture of this they must already be employed.

One of my favourite books  is ‘Why CEO’s Fail: The 11 Behaviours That Can Derail Your Climb to The Top & How to Manage Them’ by Dotlich & Cairo (2003). CEO’s who are obvisouly top performers by definition – how else could they have climbed up to the company’s top – are mainly not failing because of lacking ability or motivation. CEO’s mainly fail because of derailment, contra productive workplace behaviour. The  11 described behaviours like e.g. arrogance, mischievousness,  and perfectionism are formed by underlying maladaptive personality traits. Let’s just summarise – an individual’s performance can influence the performance of the whole company. How big also could be the potential damage when a CEO is not performing appropriately but is rather performing bad? Not bad in the definition of not hitting targets or not setting a vision but in influencing others negatively? Shouldn’t we focus, besides ability and motivation, on personality too? Personality traits are stable and unchangeable. This means we can’t change them with training or development. Shouldn’t we pay more attention to ‘whom select out’ in our selection processes rather than ‘who has the ability and motivation to perform’? Isn’t personality a main factor? Aren’t people the most valuable asset of each company? Aren’t people the ones who interact with your customers and who sell your products? So, why is the measurement of so called ‘maladaptive workplace behaviour’ not mandatory in selection processes?  So many companies use psychometrics like personality testing for their early stage selection process but focus in doing so mainly on the desirable traits they would like to select in rather the negative traits they would like to select out. Quite a few companies are not happy to admit that they do have low performers and are less happy to take action. I guess this is something that should be changed. What are your thoughts about this topic? How do you measure performance? I’m absolutely keen to get to know your view.