Talent Management and your Career.

Career seems to be a devaluated term these days, in a world of short-term thinking and one hundred and forty characters tweets. However, from my point of view, believe it or not, the world belongs to those who embrace a long-term view of their own talent and develop it to its highest potential. My assertion is based on demographics, in the next fifteen years, the “Baby Boomers”, the generation that has created more wealth in history, will retire, leaving a large gap in all kind of leadership roles across all industries.

Large companies have already taken note and have ramped up efforts to ensure that a smooth succession plan is in place in order to accommodate for these changes.
There are all kinds of new literature about Talent Management demonstrating the relevance of the topic and widely available best practices for new firms attempting to embrace it, and almost every company nowadays has a “Talent Manager” (who may only be a re-labelled HR specialist). This adoption is possibly due to large Enterprise Talent Management Programs that are now in place in most of the large multinational firms, and emergence of state-of-the-art Talent Management tools that are reaching maturity with high levels of integration and full breath of functionality at a reasonable cost.

Companies are investing heavily in these programs not only because they may see it as a part of its social responsibility, good reputation or as a good marketing tool, in a more fundamental sense, they are doing it because it is good business, it is a long-term investment in the most important asset: people. Without the right people and a sufficient pipeline of talent the firm’s strategy cannot neither be defined nor executed.

Unfortunately most of us are unaware of the intrinsic benefits of those programs, so let’s get to basics. As depicted in the illustration above, your career is defined by few but important factors. Your skills, what you are good at doing, either because you had an early exposure to and you decided to practice until you mastered it, or you were born with this innate ability. On the other side, passion is what you love to do, the activities you just feel that inner energy flowing when you are at them; it is what inspires you. Demand is market-driven, determined by location, culture and economic development. Now put all that together and you have your career. What is interesting is that this is a dynamic process in which these three elements interact and re-enforce each other. E.g. certain jobs will give new skills that can trigger new interests and could help you to opt for other career paths.

Talent Management programs are, at core, the grinder, attempting to expedite the development process. They provide new skills through training and new experiences by allowing you to rotate through different positions, locations or functional areas. These programs can develop and strengthen your passions by re-enforcing self-awareness and direction. A good mentor could enrich your career in fundamental ways. A company that focuses on developing talent can really help you grow in all these spheres, and can help you to re-align and make your skills more broad and marketable. International experience and maybe a new language will enhance your leadership skills and open the window to a world of opportunities. Education, formal and informal, will help you to see the big picture and learn beyond the confined boundaries of a task or a job.

I am not implying that a corporation should determine your future, it actually is all yours. You need to take full ownership of your career, develop a long life learning approach and invest on it. Look for companies that care about people, search always for fit and value alignment, and work for corporations in which you could develop a sense of purpose. Develop self awareness and understand your own limitations, what is important personally and professionally, areas of improvement, have clear goals. Define SMART goals and hold yourself accountable for achieving them.

Talent is like a carbon crystal that will shine if you polish it through time, opportunity, and self-awareness.

© 2011 by Juan Manuel Moreno - all rights reserved.
This material cannot be copied or distributed without the author's written permission.