Advice for Learning and Talent Development People

I get asked from time to time, “What advice would you give people who work in learning and talent development?”. I started jotting them down in my notes app. I thought about these a bit more in the last couple of weeks. Here is my list:

  1. Learn to Juggle: Not literally (although, who knows, it might help!) but figuratively. Balancing the needs of individuals with the goals of the organization is a delicate act. You’ll need to keep a lot of balls in the air without dropping any. Practice your juggling!
  2. Build Your ESP Powers: You won’t really develop psychic abilities, but empathetic listening, strategic thinking, and a profound understanding of people’s needs will make it seem like you do. Being in tune with your team’s needs and aspirations is key. No crystal ball required!
  3. Become a Talent Magician: You’re not looking to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but you do need to uncover the hidden talents in your team. Help individuals discover and develop skills they didn’t know they had.
  4. Be a Talent Chef: Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but as a talent developer, you need to ensure the right mix of skills in your team. Spice things up with variety and diversity. Remember, a well-seasoned team brings out the best flavor in a project!
  5. Don the Cape of Patience: Not everyone will progress at the same pace. Some will zoom off like The Flash, while others may seem more like the tortoise from the famous fable. Remember, slow and steady often wins the race. Patience can be your superpower!
  6. Avoid the Icarus Syndrome: Don’t push your team members so hard that they burn out. It’s essential to challenge them, but avoid making the goals so lofty that they end up in a meltdown. Remember Icarus and his ill-fated flight too close to the sun!
  7. Embrace the Role of Sherlock Holmes: Investigate, analyze, observe, and deduce! Uncover the strengths, weaknesses, and potential of your team members. Not all clues will be obvious; some may require your best detective work!
  8. Develop your TARDIS: Time management is crucial. You’re not a Time Lord with a time-and-space-travelling TARDIS, but effective scheduling and planning will make it seem like you’ve mastered time travel.
  9. Perfect the Art of Diplomacy: At times, you’ll need the tact of a diplomat to navigate office politics and conflicting interests. Diplomacy isn’t about avoiding conflicts; it’s about resolving them in a way that everyone feels like they’ve won.

Remember, talent development isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. It takes time, patience, and persistence to shape raw potential into polished performance. But the results are well worth the effort!

What would you add to the list above?