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Senior Correspondent

Stop Talking About Transformation

Stop Talking About Transformation


Talk doesn’t produce vitality, eventually it kills it. Talk is important. But, the line between talk and rigor mortis is nearly invisible. Death arrives when organizational transformation ends.

Talk is hypocrisy – a leadership smoke screen – until someone takes the first step. Behave your way, don’t talk your way, into organizational transformation.

How might you behave your way into becoming a talent development organization? Just start developing talent. Identify one simple behavior and live it, measure it, and celebrate it. People grow when they try new things.

10 steps to behaving your way into vitality:

1. Define talent development. “Development is including new talent in the program, rather than the same people doing the same things.” 
2. Accept that your definition of talent development is imperfect. Don’t wait for perfect solutions, there are none.
3. Invite new people to execute small components of the program. Give them short-term assignments.
4. Measure the number of new people you include.
5. Create accountability by asking leaders how many new people they’re engaging in the program.
6. Recognize leaders who engage new people.
7. Honor people who take on new short-term assignments. If they fail, honor the trying.
8. Talk publicly about the ways you’re engaging more people.
9. Invite feedback on how to include new talent.
10. Ask what’s next when it comes to developing talent. Mentoring might be a next step, for example.

Develop talent by engaging it.

Public talk is #8 on the list. Start by doing things that reflect who you want to become, not talking. There’s too much public talk and too little execution in stagnant organizations. Talk in private. Deliver in public.

Talking about what you plan to do is good. Talking about what you are doing is better.

Tip: Don’t commit to long-term agendas. Lack of agility prolongs failure.

How might organization take action more quickly?

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