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How talent management is like a blackberry bush...

Written by Annette Cairns on .
blackberry bush

Finding myself feeling a little low the other day, a friend suggested I go for a walk and really look at nature. Which I did, and as I walked around the field I took this picture. Not the most attractive blackberry bush I grant you, and yet it started me thinking about "talent" and how it is developed. It occurs to me that blackberry bushes can tell you all about talent management...

If everyone is treated the same and talent is always seen as "leadership" or "management" potential, many other talents and the potential for your organisation, may be missed. Just like a blackberry bush!

Consider the most luscious blackberries. The top talent, if you like, that on that day as you walked by, was absolutely perfect. In any personal review process there may well be several of these people just waiting to be plucked and put onto a top potential programme! They will be brilliant and fulfill all your expectations. Look after them well and they will be the high flyers of the future...or they may be picked by another company which sees their shining lusciousness! As you can see from the picture, quite a few of those have already gone! If you leave them to their own devices for too long they will definitely be picked - or rot...

Then consider those that are red on the day you walked by. Beautifully formed and yet needing a little more sunshine to come into their own. Those are your employees who are not quite there yet, and would really benefit from some attention being put upon them to burst into their full potential. Who knows, if you walked by in two more days, they too would be bursting and ready to go places. If you take the time to shine the light of development onto these employees they will reward you with loyalty and dedication in return for that development.

What about those under ripe green ones? They may never fell into the narrow definition of "talent" that some organisations have. And that is OK. They may be absolutely brilliant at being "average". No one likes to hear that word! I would rather be exceptionally good... or bad, than average! And yet where would organisations be without those people who are average and are great team workers, or bring other brilliant talents to your organisation? They too, need development to bring out their unique talents. With careful sunshine and watering those talents will flourish, and those people will be more engaged and more loyal because the time was put into their development. They were not called "average" in their appraisal; their talents were recognized! Encourage them to be excellent at being average.

So next time you have a "Talent Review" take a look at all of your Talent. You may be surprised!

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