Fly Under Fetching Colors

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In the May-June 2009 edition of the Conference Board Review, there’s an article with dynamite rating somewhere between TNT and megablast.  The title is “Talent Is Everything” and it’s authored by three senior managers at a Deloitte research subsidiary.  Here are four of the power points made:

  • “Top executives may be asking many of the right questions, but they often lose sight of what appeals to and keeps hold of talent in the first place.  Compensation and benefit packages are surely important, but the opportunity to develop professionally consistently outranks money in surveys of employee satisfaction.”
  • “Only by helping employees build their skills and capabilities can companies hope to attract and retain talented workers.  They join companies and stay there because they believe they’ll learn faster and better than they would at other employers.”
  • “Extreme surfers have used global practice networks to push the limits of their sport.  In the 1950s, six-foot waves were considered challenging; today, big-wave surfers routinely and successfully ride sixty-to-seventy-foot waves.  big-wave surfers tend to congregate at specific beaches and breaks to learn their craft, and they connect at competitions and, increasingly, through the Internet.They gain from carefully watching each other and observing new techniques and practices under different wave conditions.”
  • “Cisco… has invested heavily in an e-learning platform that blows up the notion of centralized training facilities and creates a pull platform for employees from more than forty thousand business partners, all of whom can access analytic tools and information regarding Cisco products on an as-needed basis.”

So what has this to do with me?  I’m just a poor working stiff out on my duff, looking for a job.

Companies want to hire people with a special pixie dust called talent.

Talented People:

  • recognize the importance of compensation and benefits but always rank the opportunity for “professional development” as the leading priority in picking their next job;
  • join companies and stay there because they believe they’ll learn faster and better than they would at other employers;
  • congregate at skill centers where their skill base is going to be demanded and developed the fastest and in the most advanced way;
  • want the opportunity to “pull” training that nourishes their hunger for knowledge rather than waiting for some central training office to figure out what program they should be spoon-fed next.

If you want to be regarded as talented, your odds are much better if you maintain-and if you really persuade yourself to believe-that:

  • Professional development is your #1 priority.
  • You want to join Organization X because it offers the best learning opportunities.
  • You regard Organization X as a hot spot for learning the state of the art in the industry, or you are uniquely skilled to bring Organization X into contact with those hot spots so it can benefit from them.
  • You intend to spend every spare moment and most of your evening hours devouring the best training programs your industry has to offer, and you hope Organization X will help you access them.

Mackay’s Moral: The secret of success is really no secret at all: talent plus hard work.

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