Training Magazine Middle East March 2015 - Page 18


Questions like the following can help:

• How do you react when someone challenges you?

• How do you invite input from others on your team?

• What do you do to broaden your thinking, experience, or personal development?

• How do you foster learning in your department?

• What steps do you take to seek out the unknown?

Be absolutely sure you know what you want (knowledge, skills, attributes and organizational culture)

Look in unexpected places: Sometimes you need to think laterally. People tend to play it too safe when they are looking for employees. You can stretch your horizons geographically or into different industries.

Learn to love the 'jagged CV': Exceptional talent doesn't always come in neat packages. It's easy to spot people with the best grades from the best universities and think that they are the real talent.

However, often it's the people who have seemingly failed, or dropped out or changed their career paths that are the change-makers. Post-Enron disaster, we should realize that just because they have marvellous transcripts doesn't mean they are marvellous people.

Don't be blinded by achievements:

While it's good to maintain hope and optimism about candidates in the early roles of their career, at the top of an organization due diligence is really important.

Too often employers find someone who makes a very good first impression and then switch from evaluating them to trying to close them down. "Once that switch gets flipped, people don't want to hear anything that would be a damaging. You end up hiring people who should have been examined more closely."

Take small, controlled risks: There are lots of different paths to the top, and sometimes you need to take a risk on candidates who might not have the direct experience, but have the talent and ambition.

Therefore, the test is not whether they have the right skills, but whether they have the potential to learn new ones. Potential.

And so to the big question: How do you tell if someone has potential?

The key is to focus on the following:

• The right motivation (real commitment to the pursuit of the right goals)

• Curiosity (seeking new experiences and knowledge, and openness to learning and change)

• Insight (ability to gather and make sense of information that suggests new possibilities)

• Engagement (using emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision and connect with people)

• Determination (wherewithal to fight for difficult goals and bounce back from adversity)

Combine all those factors, and for those that learn how to spot potential, effectively retain people who have it, and create development programs to help the best get better, the situation will instead offer an extraordinary opportunity.

Let’s take stock of how we are managing talent and wherever possible, keep it simple. Let’s seek potential and be brave.

Paula Jane Cox is a partner for Lumina Learning in the Middle East. She has over 18 years experience in consulting with leaders and decision-makers to improve business effectiveness, the bottom line and engaging employees on a global scale.

Talent Management Feature