Nano Talent Moves

Nano Talent Moves

     Think small as well as big.  We are often drawn to the large initiative, the enterprise-wide change effort and the big-hairy-audacious-goal.    But save some room for the nano-smoother-reasonable moves.  Nano-moves are in the spirit of Kaizen, those small changes, made daily, that overtime compound into a significant improvement. 


     To help you get started, I’ve listed 12 ideas. You can add your own to the list – or better yet – pull a group together to brainstorm a master list of nano-moves.  Then pull out your calendar and block out a small amount of time each day/week/month to apply a move.


Support Someone Moves


  • Broker a new mentoring relationship with a high potential or ex-pat.  Look at your “talent on the move” lists and find two people who would benefit from each other’s wisdom.  Make the inquiry today to set up an introductory meeting. 


  • Help someone get off the derailment track.  It’s all too common to see promising talent in a stretch role derail, often due to the lack of honest feedback and support.  Encourage the manager or HR generalist of a wavering talent to get the message – in a caring and direct fashion – followed by the right resources and needed training.


  • Show the love to one of your best.  Initiate a meaningful retention effort to someone you are counting on growing in your star factory.  Let a hi-potential know how much he or she means to your organization and how bright their future is here (before an external recruiter spins tales of the greener pastures).


  • Welcome the new recruit – after the fact.  The initial rush of on-boarding  usually propels new employees in the right direction.  There is often a morale dip after six months (reality check time).    Check-in with someone with six month tenure to see how they are doing and what help they need now.



Make Room Moves


  • Find something to stop doing.  We all fall in the trap of maintaining yesterday’s legacy programs while stuffing in all the new work of talent development that comes our way.  Make room for the new or at least give yourself breathing room by reducing.  Likely candidates?  The bottom-end of a fresh ranking of most important, highest impact talent efforts.  At minimum, hit the ‘pause button’ on something for three months and see if anyone notices.


  • Streamline and simplify the grand old program. It was launched with such grandeur and enthusiasm awhile back.  But now you can get by with a little less overhead.   Revisit the core purpose, challenging yourself to redesign it with half the resources.


Build Yourself Moves



  • Go learn more about the business.  Buy a line leader coffee or host a lunch to dive deeper into his or her operations and challenges.  A recent study reported that the number one factor to an HR professional’s success is the amount of business acumen.  Add to yours today.


  • Chat with an expert. Enjoy a post, article or book lately?  Most authors of books or blogs are happy to respond to brief requests from readers. Reach out to let them know you enjoyed their writing and would like to spend a minute or so chatting more about a key idea.  You can do the same with conference speakers you’ve heard or consultants you’ve used.


  • Learn from a winner.  Notice all those “best of” magazine lists and professional group awards in the talent field?  Why not learn more about an excellence practice by contacting a winner and hearing more about the inside story.  Also, reach out to the people who put the list together to discover the overall findings and practical applications.



A Few More Moves


  • Invite an internal executive to one of your training programs.  Even a short segment taught by an insider has greater credibility in the classroom (physical or virtual) than an external trainer and encourages the teaching leader to keep growing too.


  • Thank someone for their help in your talent development efforts.  A quick email, a text, tweet or call to recognize someone’s contribution.  Gratitude has a way of making a difference in ways seen and unseen.


  • Seek a small dose of feedback on something you are doing.  Use the rule of three here – ask three people (program participant, HR partner, line sponsor).  Pose three simple questions:  “What’s working?, “How is it helping?” and “How can it be better?”


     Benchmarking the best in the talent management field can often be a humbling experience.  But the secret in stellar star-development systems can be found in the ethic of small and consistent improvements.  “Kaizen” is an old word with current relevance to the development field and signals as important a trend as any hot new practice in the field. 

© Kevin D. Wilde