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The 70:20:10 to Leadership Development

Kayomarz B Shroff
Friday, December 15, 2006
Kayomarz B Shroff
Last week my 12-year old daughter returned from school, as thrilled with herself as a Cheshire cat. The reason – she had just been awarded the equivalent of the “student of the month” award. She roamed the whole day with the badge pinned in a manner that made it most visible. Finally, she went to sleep with it under her pillow. As I saw her smile in her sleep, what struck me was the power of being identified as someone SPECIAL. It meant no medals, no prizes, but the fact that one is recognized can do wonders.

The same is equally true of all organizations and employees. Many organizations have ways of identifying their Key Talent. These would typically form the top 15 to 20 percent of its employees at different levels. The first challenge is in the process of selection itself. Very often, any such effort is a double-edged sword with those not selected, questioning the credibility of the selection process. Therefore absolute transparency is required, where all are aware of what Key Talent means, the process of selection, the efforts and objectivity built in to ensure that only the best of the best get selected.

The next big challenge is in terms of what we do for these high fliers. I have heard of many instances where the fact that one is identified as Key Talent is the prize itself. In some organizations, this may lead to a training program at a city of your liking or a course that you have been asking for. Sure, any such effort will have its benefits but the question that remains is, “Is that sufficient investment in my highest performing employees. Does it help with “longer-term” change?

One of the ways of developing employees—whether Key Talent or not—is by giving them a wholesome experience of development. It can’t be a two or three days of classroom training but a program which pushes the employee to greater heights. Such a program would need to include a conceptual base, opportunity to practice and ample support from senior managers. The reason for this is quite simple.

Learning happens when the person gets new concepts or clarity on existing ones. These will only remain theoretical inputs unless the employee learns to use them. Therefore what is required is creating relevant opportunities for the person to experiment with the new learning and try putting it into practice. As the employee works through the assignment, there are various challenges that he or she faces and woven in them are learnings, which no classroom session can teach.

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Reader's comments(1)
1:Hi Kayo,

Hope you remember ISABS Human Process Laboratory at Jaipur in December 1991. Kindly forward your contact details.
Posted by: Sanjay Sethi - 02nd Apr 2012
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