May 10, 2022

#025: You Grew The Company, Now What?

Hosted by George Randle

When developing talent, a lot of leaders make one crucial mistake and that is giving all the answers. When somebody comes up to you with a problem, don’t just give them the answer and say your job here is done. You are the leader. You need to mentor, coach, and develop your talent. That is your job. Giving out all the answers all the time does not count as true leadership. Join George Randle and learn how to develop a true talent mindset. Become a master in coaching because talent plus leadership equals victory!

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You Grew The Company, Now What?

Chapter 10 states that you can’t hire or fire your way to success. Stand by for a short segment on what you got to do next after you have been hired. When Mike and I sat down and wrote our book, The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent, one of our challenges was you could boil the ocean on the topic of talent. For those of you that aspire to write a book, in some moments, Mike and I had no idea what we were getting into. We had to narrow down and make the book functional, practical, and something filled with actionable information for our readers.

One of our biggest desires or aspiration was we hope to change the conversation when it comes to talent. As we edited the book and got through it, we then got to the end and wondered, “How are we going to wrap up everything that we have spoken about?” Every once in a while, we like to do some of these short and hopefully impactful moments for the show and our audience. We have crossed major milestones on downloads, so thank you all to those of you that have downloaded and shared the show. In this episode, I want to start with Chapter 10. That is what this short segment is going to be about.

I give Mike due credit. He nailed it down. We would go back and forth with different chapter names and other things like that. Kelsey Adams, who helped us word write the right words or wordsmith our book gets due credit, but it was Mike that said, “You can’t hire or fire your way to success,” which is what became Chapter 10. We have talked about culture, leadership, diversity, attributes, how you select, AND how you interview. We have talked about a number of topics, but it gets down to this, which is talent plus leadership equals victory.

You can implement all of the best practices in talent acquisition. You can have the best tools, the best talent consultants, well-trained players, hiring managers doing the interview process, great candidate experience, great brand, and a great why statement or closing statement as to why top talent should join your firm. You put all of that effort into it. You have to understand that that doesn’t get you to success. It is a large part of the battle, and one that all of us are fighting in some form or fashion, but if you do not develop your talent or drive home leadership development, your company still stands a very high chance of failure of not achieving your goals or missing your KPIs.

In the book, there was Task Unit Bruiser and Task Unit Charlie. Mike went to great pains to articulate having been in one. First of all, the units were equipped the same. The people had been through the same assessments, the same training, and the same certifications, but the work up to training failed miserably.

You just can't hire or fire your way to success. Click To Tweet

Fortunately for Mike, he was able to join what became Task Unit Bruiser and deploy. The difference was simply the leadership in the group and everything else is equal. It was the leadership, the investment, the actions, and the combined behaviors of those leaders that drove Task Unit Bruiser to success in Ramadi.

They had leaders that took time to develop their talent, listen to their talent, and operate under the concept of the best idea wins. Their goal, even though it was not stated, and we talk about it in the book, is while we start by leading ourselves, if you want to create a great organization, you have part of the talent mindset. We talk throughout the book that your human capital is the most important and the only competitive advantage that you can hope to achieve and maintain. The maintaining part is the investment, and part of that talent mindset and that investment is leaving a legacy of leadership.

Everyone knows that people do not leave great companies. They leave bad bosses and bad environments. Those bad environments come from all kinds of bad behaviors. I do not even know that you would call them leaders. I think you would call them managers, but if you are going to have a true talent mindset and you are going to carry yourself from Chapter 1 to Chapter 9 and implement the best practices in our book, you have to understand the importance of investing and developing your talent through coaching, mentoring, and training. When you recruit, acquire, and train, the only way that you are going to retain them is by having a talent mindset.

That talent mindset comes down to two key things, a great talent acquisition process and a great talent development process and environment. It is a legacy of leadership, but the internal systems that develop your talent evaluate and invest in your people, your most critical asset. If you are lacking training and leadership development, even with that great talent acquisition process, you are spinning your wheels.

It is important to understand that leading, mentoring, coaching, and training is not an inoculation, a one-shot deal, or a seminar. It is not a, “Once a year, we are going to have the top leaders, the top managers, the top producers, the top performers, or the top developers into this management class,” where they suffer death by PowerPoint. It is a never-ending process because people can always grow and improve, so you can’t stop training, coaching, and mentoring them.

Human capital is the only competitive advantage that you can hope to achieve and maintain. And to maintain is to invest. Click To Tweet

For those of you who had not heard of this difference, and it was articulated very well by a dear friend, Bill Gardner, who we have had on the show, training is explaining and giving through showing someone the skills of how to perform a task. You are training them to do something, you are going to show them step-by-step, work with manuals and slide presentations, and you are hands-on. You are going to watch and help the person learn how to do the task and perform the task. That is training somebody. In the military, we would teach basic rifle marksmanship. It is elementary stuff and we are doing it over and over, but it is necessary training for a person to be successful.

Coaching and mentoring are a lot different. A lot of people get them confused. The best way to think about the mentoring process is if somebody comes to me and has a situation where they need help. I, as a mentor, would say, “When I was in that position and faced a very similar circumstance, here is how I thought about that. Here is how I worked through that, what I tried, what worked, what did not work, how I collaborated, how I communicated, and how I made my business case. This is what I did that had a successful outcome.” That way, the mentee could take those bits and pieces and apply them to the situation that they are facing and use those.

When you are a mentor, you are sharing the benefits of your experiences, both your successes and failures. Sometimes, they are split. Sometimes, you have some great success and some great struggles along the way. That is mentorship. That is taking the time to invest in people. It is what we should all be doing. It is what the military does just by pure muscle memory.

Coaching, on the other hand, a great way to think about it is if somebody comes to me and presents me with the same circumstances, problem, or challenge. I can say to them, “Walk me through what you are thinking. How would you approach this? What do you think is the first step? What data you think you have? What does it look like? What is it telling you?” I’m getting into their mindset, how they are about to approach this problem, solve this problem, or deal with the circumstance.

It could be a poor performer, a large presentation, product design, facing a customer, or dealing with a customer issue, but you are asking them how they are thinking about it and how they are approaching it. Start asking them questions, like, “Have you thought about asking for this information? Have you thought about looking at this data? Have you thought about trying this?” What you are trying to do as a coach is to get them to think in getting the mindset of problem-solving and thinking in ways that they are not familiar with.

A talent mindset comes down to two key things, a great talent acquisition process, and a great talent development process. Click To Tweet

Mentorship is sharing my experiences of what worked, what did not work, and how I could have made it better. The benefit of all my years of experience and passing that on is a legacy of leadership. Coaching is also a part of that legacy. The best way to say this is of all the teams that I have led, it is almost a mistake, and it is a mistake a lot of us leaders make. I know I have made it time and time again where I get so busy and somebody comes up and says, “I got this problem. I got that problem,” and I’m like, “Do A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Do it in that order. Come back to me and tell me if you have got any problems.”

I have given that person the answer to solve their problems. I haven’t shared my mindset, how my mind turns around, looks at a problem, and starts breaking it down into its most critical or complicated elements. I did not share with them how I collaborated. I did not coach them, ask them how they were thinking about it or what preconceived ideas did they have for solutions. I just gave them the answer.

I have to admit that sometimes, you have to do that. I get that, but too many leaders think that that suffices for mentoring and coaching, and it is not. The most valuable thing that you can give when it comes to establishing a legacy of leadership are two things, but the most important thing is to give your time, and within that time to share your experiences, to ask questions, and importantly, to make sure you are actively listening.

You are valuing those opinions, that authenticity, and the sharing of those problems because there is nothing better than a manager, boss, leader, or whatever you are going to call them to give their time and by the way, always be approachable, and even better, know that the boss is not always going to give you the answer that you are challenging that top talent to think through the problem or to ask for your opinions and then share those.

The volume of this book has ten chapters. As we wrote this, we covered so much that you can’t see talent. What does talent consist of? How do you assess for it? How do you attract it? How do you create an employee value proposition? How do you establish a feedback loop? How do you do all of those things that make the talent acquisition process continuous so you are always assessing, selecting, and even attracting some of the best talents and seeing if they are going to be added to your organization, and then bring them into your organization?

As a leader, stop giving all the answers to other people's problems. That does not suffice as mentorship or coaching. Click To Tweet

At the end of the book is something that you have to always remember, which is You Can’t Hire or Fire Your Way to Success. You can’t get rid of all your performers, bring in A-players, and think that it is done and you can wash your hands of everything. You have to lead, coach, mentor, and train. If you are not doing those things, you are not going to win. If you demonstrate exemplary leadership, others are going to follow. When you are practicing a talent mindset, mentoring and coaching your key leaders, and putting in the time and the effort to develop your people into something great, your organization will change.

That part of the talent mindset of developing the legacy of leadership, modeling those behaviors, sharing the wisdom, coaching, and developing training is all of those things combined with a great talent acquisition process that is going to make your organization exponentially better. It is not going to happen overnight, but once you start, nothing spreads like good leadership and good culture, and nothing returns a greater investment on your time than the time you spend with your people.

Remember, there are a lot of great companies, great products, and great services out there. The ones that are winning in their space are the ones that are practicing the talent mindset and the ones who see their human capital as the most important and the only competitive advantage they can hope to maintain, so they are focused and disciplined on attracting, assessing, and selecting that talent, but they are equally obsessive about investing in that talent.

Once you get A-players in the door, there is almost nothing worse than going through all of that and then not taking the time to invest in them. Remember, having a talent mindset comes down to treating your human capital with the same rigor, discipline, and focus that you put on your financial capital. It is an endless process. Assessing, selecting, and developing your talent never stops. If you want to win in this space, you have got to be passionate about it.

We have some experts here at the Talent War Group that can help you do all phases of that, and we are happy to help you out. As we close this short segment, there is such a war for talent. Once you get it in the door, you have got to retain it, and the way you retain it is you invest in it with your time, your efforts, and your resources. You can’t hire or fire your way to success, but you can lead your way to success.


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