Talent development symphony
By AMANDA CHUA
As with most established organisations, many with vested interest in their talents would actively engage them by accelerating their development to the next level.
An example would be the Talent Acceleration Programme (TAP) by Leaderonomics – a full-scale leadership development programme with multiple interventions involving long-term partnerships and customised growth frameworks.
The role of a talent development programme (TDP) manager is the crux of most successful programmes whereby they act as the link in various capacities, creating a conducive environment for talents to perform.
Their role encompasses not only managing the demands of the programme, but also juggling different resources and elements of the programme for the best possible outcome.
To ensure success, TDP managers are responsible for managing different stakeholders: clients, talents and delivery partners (i.e. trainers, project sponsors, and mentors).
Client engagement is crucial. Managers have to understand the needs, objectives and final outcomes expected. This is to develop leadership programmes that meet their needs and accelerate growth of their people.
Constant engagement also adds value to the process as managers actively seek information from clients to ensure alignment and to meet their expectations.
TDP managers journey through the duration of the programme together with talents to build long-term relationships and continually engage them for a better learning experience.
TDP managers serve as connectors to help talents understand the process and how the programme’s flow relates to the expected outcome. They are also key to helping talents understand the overall expectation of the programme, and at the same time, act as sounding boards to provide feedback and progress checks.
This provides talents the opportunity to share their ideas on development for further customisation to take place.
TDP managers take ownership of the delivery and execution of the programme. Like a conductor, they liaise with all parties to ensure every aspect of the customised development journey is meaningful and impactful.
This includes working closely with delivery partners to achieve specific outcomes with respect to the co-relating element.
On top of ensuring all arrangements meet with the talent’s competency gaps, they serve as a voice to highlight the programmes’ progress, and ensure that all stakeholders are aware and involved throughout the process.
With TDP manager as the anchor and conduit that glues the programme together, it is imperative that we manage our role and stressors well.
We need to be at our best to bring about optimum learning and growth experiences for our talents, and for them to get the support they need.
To manage a favourable environment for highly effective individuals to perform can be stressful at times. The best experience I can draw from would be based on my own exposure as a TDP manager.
Often, we are like conductors, with various stakeholders to attend to.
More importantly, ensuring that talents are given the right learning environment to grow and develop their potential as leaders is integral.
How, then, do I as a TDP manager maintain a conducive environment for all our talents to shine?
In order for the whole process to take place seamlessly while meeting its objectives, here are a few tips which I would like to share from my experience.
It’s all about perspective
Being a TDP manager is not a straightforward role with the various complexities involved. Instead of being intimidated by my circumstances and having a negative outlook, I see the importance of my role as a development partner.
When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, I see my work and the management of various variables as an opportunity to excel.
My perspective in approaching tough situations stems from the belief that effective results can be achieved at maximum productivity, with the right combination of elements and stakeholders, to attain a desirable outcome.
Over time, I have acquired the ability to thrive in the dynamic environment and would naturally dive into complicated challenges.
Making room for flexibility
Sure, there are unexpected situations that might arise along the way. This requires the need to be flexible.
This is when my strength as an arranger emerges. I find enjoyment in the process of aligning and realigning multiple factors until I find the best approach to achieve the desired outcome according to my immediate stakeholder’s expectations and needs.
Though there are many instances which require me to think on my feet, I like the opportunity to connect the dots and figure out how things fit together.
When I am confronted with the unexpected, I would seek new options and possible partnerships which might lead to a better solution.
Be gracious to yourself
We have tendencies to be hard on ourselves – especially in pursuit of striving for perfection and excellence.
However, having that unrealistic expectation to achieve perfection adds unnecessary stress upon ourselves.
This also applies to understanding your capacity and not taking too much workload upon yourself.
Some of us do struggle with letting go and delegating. But, throughout my learning journey of being a TDP manager, I have learnt to reach out, collaborate and bounce ideas with my team and found great benefit in that.
They not only give me feedback on areas I can further improve on, but are also great pillars of support – they help me see things differently and propel me forward.
Conduct your way as a manager
Being a conductor and leader in an orchestra is about finding beauty in bringing everything together in perfect harmony for each instrument/individual to shine.
Quoting Bill Rancic, The Apprentice season one winner,
“to be successful, you have to think of yourself as an orchestra conductor. A conductor may not be an expert at each instrument, but he knows how to make all of them work together harmoniously and make beautiful sound.”
Ultimately, we can all be conductors, and just as any great conductor, we can conduct the different variables of our roles to create perfect harmony and produce the best music for everyone involved.