Well it is not that easy.
First, you have to be able to define properly what is a talent ! And to try to keep it simple I would say :
– A talent is someone who has the right behavior and is a role model
– If he is a leader, he must be an inspirational one
– A talent should have the potential to be the next generation of senior leader in your organisation
– He should ask himself as a natural approach : »what else can I do »
– Should and can be better than you!
– Should get pride by developping others and mentoring others
– A real talent should not realise totally how good he or she is or If he knows, be very humble about it
– Should put first the benefit of the group instead of himself
– A person who is not really « caring » is not a talent. I know high performers who pretend to care (about the company, about their team…) but in reality they care about themselves and their career
– I would say a talent is visionnary. He is 2 steps ahead !
– Is able to adopt and adapt very quickly and learn from others
Also long discussion with leaders also around :
– to be considered as a talent, should you be mobile? (You know my position on flexible working so I would say no and of course it depends on the company and where they do business !)
– Should we tell the talents that they are top talents ? I will keep this one for another post. I have tried both so I can share !
So now : is a top talent a top performer? I would say not always. Because in reality a talent can be very successful in one role and struggle in another one. And guess what? That’s ok! He will maybe learn even more in this role and it will accelerate his development to be ready for another role. Of course it would help also as he is a talent that he integrates very early the feedback and act on it.
A lot of your action could in fact put a top talent in a situation of failure :
Stretching talents too quickly : You have to accept also that some talents can be an expert in some areas and would suffer if we put them too much out of their confort zone or too quickly in big roles because this is where the company has a need.
Moving talents too quickly : Meaning that you don’t give them a chance to be successful in their role . Also, they would miss a deep knowledge of the role that they could have use in the future for instance when they would become leader of this role.
Failing to give them the right feedback : They will just hear that they are top talent and won’t hear anything else ! Top talent doesn’t mean that they don’t have opportunities to learn and grow. We need to give them the right feed-back on what they need to work on.
Focusing only in their development needs and not their strenghts : There is only 2 possible approach : you know what are the development needs of the talent so you put him/her in a role where these skills are a must so that he can learn by doing, or you would bet on his strenghts and still offer some challenging objectives. I would recommend the 2nd option. This way, you are setting them for success.
Offerring them the wrong role : One of my talented people told me : sometimes you (you being the company) want to do what is right but you are offerring the wrong role where the person won´t shine! You consider the company need but it doesn’t always match with the right next move for the employee.
What is your view? Your experience ? Did you had these conversation with your leader or company?