Optimize Your Talent in 30 Days Flat

If there’s any one question that business leaders are asking each other nowadays, it’s this: What are you doing during COVID-19 to survive?

The most successful, disciplined leaders tell us that two things are vital to their forward momentum: 1) a solid recovery plan and 2) a proven accountability system.

Drill down, however, and you’ll find that good plans and systems depend on an engaged, empowered workforce. More specifically, recent Gallup research shows us that leaders who are up on and tap their employees’ strengths are more likely to have an engaged, empowered culture—a fact that perhaps matters more now than ever before.

So starting today, how about challenging yourself to optimize your organization’s talent? Over the next 30 days, commit to the following four activities, then share your results with us (comment below blog).

Activity 1, Week 1: Cultivate Connection.

Prioritize your time to genuinely connect with your direct reports, and this will quickly improve and/or revive communication, understanding, relationships and trust. Spend this week building connection through one-on-one, 45-minute (virtual) meetings. Ask good questions around how this worker is doing professionally and personally, not crossing personal boundaries but getting some sense of how they’re feeling in regard to their life, health, wellness, safety, etc. In regard to their jobs, find out where your direct reports are thriving and where they’re feeling lost or stuck. Use active listening, talking less, taking good notes, understanding more and encouraging them whenever possible. 

Activity 2, Week 2: Assess Your People’s Strengths

Next, ask them to complete an objective self-assessment, e.g., 360-degree review or DiSC® assessment (MAP can help provide these assessments). Or, if you’re on a budget or want a simpler approach, ask them to complete the quick “love and loathe” exercise developed by Entrepreneur’s Organization Verne Harnish. They just grab a sheet of paper and write down two lists: what they love and what they loathe about their work. With this exercise, however, ask them to indicate what, if any, items on their list relate to working remotely and/or with new pandemic-related demands.

Activity 3, Weeks 3-4: Address Gaps and Wins

Start off reviewing your one-on-one meeting notes and any assessments completed, highlighting any and all successes. Develop immediate, doable activities to encourage more of this awesomeness. Next, shift to improvement opportunities and activities. Noticing some gaps? Give your direct reports some coaching or skilling up (if it’s clear they need and want it). And if they truly loathe something? Consider what can be stopped, delegated or outsourced.

Activity 4, Week 4: Build in Accountability

After addressing gaps and wins, set new goals and start holding your people accountable over the coming weeks. But remember that to keep the engagement and empowerment going, you’ll want to repeat this challenge, normalizing this practice and ingraining talent optimization so it becomes part of your culture.

Circle back in a month! Let us know how this challenge impacts your talent and culture.

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