Talent Obsession Weekly

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Guest post by Beth Armknecht Miller:

In my recent book, Are You Talent Obsessed? I describe the rhythms of talent management, leaders need to get into that will focus them on the development of those around them.  Why is development so important? Because development, done well, not only increases the capacity and performance of your workforce, it increases employee engagement and thus decreases turnover.

And with the growing shortage of talent globally, the ability to retain your talent is a competitive advantage.

Much like the rhythms that Verne Harnish describes in his book, The Rockefeller Habits, I believe that the addition of development into weekly meetings is critical to the execution of a business plan.

Most managers have weekly meetings, which generally revolve around what happened during the past week: accomplishments and disappointments, and then planning is done for the next week. Yet often, these meetings don't bring out the specific learning that has taken place especially when it comes to success. It seems we spend more time on our mistakes and miss the opportunity to share what we learned during our accomplishments.

Incorporating Learning into Weekly Meetings

As part of your weekly meeting, set aside 3 minutes for each team member to respond to questions about their recent success and encourage them to share their stories of success.

This technique not only encourages learning but helps recognize employees for what they have accomplished which may have required taking a risk, researching, connecting, etc. focus on what, why, and how.

Here are some questions I recommend to start the learning conversation each week:

  • What one new thing did you try that worked?
  • Who did you help this week and how?
  • Who did you get feedback from and what did you do with the feedback?
  • What didn’t work for you this week and how do you plan on making it work next time?
  • What behavior are you trying to change to be more effective and how can we help you through the process?

Another great learning opportunity is to rotate who will be facilitating the meeting.  It gives you the opportunity to observe your team members in a leadership role and how they handle the spotlight on themselves. At the conclusion of the meeting have each member provide one strength they observed in the meeting facilitator and one learning edge. And finally, as a wrap up, ask the facilitator “What are they most proud of?” in the feedback they received and “What one change do they plan on implementing?”

Another development technique I have seen in weekly meetings is a mini training session. It usually takes up 20 minutes of time. The mini-training is delivered by a team member and the topic is one that links back to the team member’s development plan. The format is up to the team member as to what and how they deliver the training.

A few examples that I have seen include:

  1. One team member was working on becoming more strategic in his thinking so he found several articles on the topic of strategic thinking and then came up with two techniques that he was going to start doing that would help him be more strategic.
  1. In another meeting, a team member wanted to be a better listener so he shared two techniques that had been working for him. This then created additional dialogue about how the entire team needed to become better at listening.
  2. A TED video was used to demonstrate how to be more creative which led into a conversation about the team’s commitment to innovation and creativity.

The meeting should be concluded by each member committing to trying an idea, technique, best practice they learned from another employee. And don’t forget, you as a leader need to be part of this commitment process. Leaders need to model the behaviors they expect from their employees.

Beth Armknecht Miller is a Certified Managerial Coach and CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. Her latest book, “Are You Talent Obsessed?: Unlocking the secrets to a workplace team of raving high-performers is available on Amazon.