When we think of talent we tend to think of a diamond in the rough, and we all would like to make an influence to polish that diamond. The definition that wikipedia gives to diamond cutting is “the art, skill and, increasingly, science of changing a diamond from a rough stone into a faceted gem”, well, isn’t that the same definition for talent management?
In sports we have many players that come to change an organization. Lebron James changed the entire organization when he joined the Cavs. The season before he joined the team, they had a 17-65 record. Two years later, 42-40 and he was only 20 years old. Great skills, mental strength, one in a million, energy injection to the team’s blood-flow, but he never made it to win a championship. Lebron left 27 million on the table to not return to Cleveland. Cavs owner was trying to persuade Lebron to stay for money, while Heat owner and players were offering championships, good management and a top class team. Talent management maybe? I think so. Cavs owner later on accused him of being a “traitor”, so much for a great boss. On the opposite, Jed Hoyer, San Diego Padres GM, lost his star player Adrian Gonzalez given that the Padres are a small franchise that can’t afford to inflate their budget on one player. When Adrian left, Hoyer said “I think he’s going to be a monster in Fenway Park”. What I am trying to say is, know your talent and their potential, and be proud for their achievements, both in your company and in their personal lives. Allow them to blossom, because they will be forever thankful to you for giving them that opportunity. Lebron’s teammates ended up giving part of their salary to sign him! Good talent managers push employees to become the best that they can be, rise to their full potential, and if that potential becomes too big, good managers are fulfilled for the impact that they had in that person’s life, and allow them to choose their path. You can’t put an eagle in a cage, if you do, it will soon die, and if you try to open that door, it will bite you or fly away. That’s the same thing that could happen to an employee (metaphorically speaking) if you try to limit their potential for your own benefit. I follow Robert Kiyosaki on twitter, and I was pleased to read the following tweet:
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should let everyone go. You must do your best to retain top talent, but to do this, you must have great leadership, rapport and understanding a person’s drives and motivations. To me, Coach K is the greatest example of this. For those of you who are not familiar with him, I am talking about Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the Duke Blue Devils, the most prestigious University for college basketball. He was once offered to coach for the Lakers at the NBA level, and his answer was: “When my relationship with Duke was put up against my relationship with a storied franchise, I found myself even more committed to what Duke has.” That’s a perfect example of loyalty, unselfishness, and management that does everything to retain talent, a job that is self rewarding and an efficient program that allows players to develop, become the best they can be, and be ready for a professional career. He makes the most out of his players and then allows them to move on and take all of that knowledge with them. “I try to see each new season as a new challenge because I have a new team to work with, new opponents to encounter, and often new ideas and theories to try.” he said.
Bottom-line, finding the best talent is not everything, management is. When you have great management, you become more attractive to top talent and you stop looking for it, it comes to you, and it stays constantly shining in different forms and shapes, like diamonds.