In The Talent Garden – Is Your Talent Self-Pruning?

Some organizations talk about their talent pipeline. And they hope there are no leaks. Others have succession plans. Looking closer at those plans, someone may be listed as “ready in one to three years”, only they’ve been listed that way for four years now.

The lead rose of April, long gone and replaced.

Talent is fleeting, at least in terms of the life of most corporations. We plan, we develop talent, we look for opportunities to stretch people and create leaders that can do more than those that precede them. We bring in talent from another garden, hoping that will encourage greater growth and challenge for the rest as well as add more diversity to the current (horti)culture.

It’s worth deciding if you want to have a self-pruning organization. And by that I am suggesting two forms of pruning.

  • Talent that cannot achieve their goals in your environment figures that out and removes themselves or realigns their goals to what is possible. It’s OK if they realign, as long as they recognize that and don’t spend time complaining about what their original hiring manager told them would happen.
  • Talent that realizes that their ultimate goals might not be achieved with your organization, but that their contributions make them that much more attractive to their next employer. This can be good if they are helping move your own strategy forward while they work for you, and if your talent pool has more talent than you can plan for in the coming years. When you have good depth charts, you will lose good people. And that’s OK.

You can over-plant, you can over-fertilize, and you can under-produce. If your plants aren’t self pruning, the growth just competes too much for nutrients and for their place in the sun.

If your talent process is not self-pruning, you better have a good pair of shears.

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