Beginning with “Who:” Building a Talent-led Business

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When determining whether an organization is regularly meeting its goals, businesses often use a few key indicators to assess their success. Such benchmarks often include profit, quality of goods or services, customer satisfaction, or various other monetary measures. While each of these benchmarks is undoubtedly a piece to the puzzle, there's one missing: talent.

An organization's growth or potential relies heavily on the shape and efficiency of its team. In fact, even a business’s goods or services are only as valuable as the individuals who provide them. Without top talent, there are no resources for growth, no shifting of responsibilities, no investment in future leaders, and you can forget collaboration. An organization depends on its talent for each of these aspects, yet most fail to manage and cultivate it correctly.

To properly invest in talent--an organization's most critical resource--management teams have to consider the following:

Develop talent objectives

Strong managers should include employees in the process of setting goals. Not only does this foster a sense of purpose for the team, but it creates a sense of unity among management and employees. When you tackle goal-setting with your team, make sure they're specific, measurable, attainable, and timely. Vague or unrealistic goals lead to a hugely frustrated and disillusioned team A.K.A. the opposite of what we want.

Create a culture of accountability

Every team member should be held accountable for their actions. You'll be hardpressed to instill a sense of accountability if you don't set standards early on.

You can think of standard-setting as well-defined tasks, due dates (and the enforcement of those due dates), acknowledgment for a job well done, and constructive feedback or criticism. Without boundaries and accountability, some employees will struggle without the structure. When leaders set the tone for accountability, teams focus on delivering. Like, putting in the effort; accomplishing tasks on time; going above and beyond expectations. Meanwhile, team members will develop trust and will respect each other. Bonus: productivity will skyrocket.

Encourage autonomy

Show me one person who says she likes a micromanager.
I'll wait.

That's right. None. No one wants to feel mistrusted, especially by leadership. Managers who hover over their teams, full of doubt and suspicion, are big influencers of employee turnover. Employees who feel like they play a role in the success of an organization are more engaged and satisfied. It's not uncommon for folks to rise to the occasion when they feel trusted and that they have authority.

So, offer teams a sense of ownership and let go of the reigns. Let them take charge of their work. Don't send that email. Don't check in. In other words: let them do what you hired them to do.

Bear in mind, however, that employees should earn complete autonomy. Day one isn't the right time to pass off the baton and sit on the bleachers. But, you have to trust them with the first step, or else you'll never get to the finish line.

How will you invest in your most valuable asset today?
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