We’re going to solve the most difficult problem your organisation has. And we’re going to do it without any investment. We’re also going to leverage the best untapped resources you’ve got. And we’ll do all this without creating extra work for you, the leader.
The catch is you must be able to handle the truth of what we reveal to you. And not every leader can. Many prefer to appear certain even if wrong, rather than being right if it means seeming uncertain. It seems to be a political thing.
But if you’re a secure leader and can handle truth in all it’s glorious messiness then we can help unpack the issues keeping you awake at night and deal effectively with them.
Don’t be so sure …
I made this exact offer to an executive at a major organisation. ‘Yes this is a major problem we haven’t been able to solve’ he replied. ‘Yes’ he also said in response to a demonstration, ‘I can how it works. But …’ he declared ‘budgets are a problem.’ A common refrain!
So I offered it for free.
I’m still waiting…
Budgets aren’t really his problem. Power is. He’s putting fires out everywhere with the tools he’s already got and their ineffectiveness makes him busy - and this provides an illusion of value. But now a leader in a rival industry - who can handle the truth - is starting to do it? What effect will this have on our reluctant executive? Is he better at playing catch up than early adopting?
Don’t let this happen to you. Tell us what your problem is … we’ll show you how we can help.
The war for talent used to be a hot topic - until the financial crisis made the war for liquidity hotter. We may be on the edge of another crisis now, but we’re also at the start of a new cycle of talent wars. So how can you win this time?*
Carol Dweck’s work may offer the revolutionary breakthrough to winning the talent war. For talent itself is not about how intelligent or capable a person appears to be, but how fixed they think their abilities are.
The fixed mindset
A great education, rapid career progression and impressive bearing in interviews are clear signals of real talent. A great business school convinces organisations to pay over the odds ‘because that kind of education doesn’t come cheaply’. Premiums are paid for great work, even if another company has already reaped the benefits of that. And as to whether this person fits our organisation - well, talent trumps culture! Doesn’t it?
Many talented people on paper will have a deeply debilitating affliction though: they believe they were born with a fixed amount of intelligence and capability and while the quality of the latter can be maximised, it’s limited by the quantity of the former. They have ‘fixed mindsets.’
The problem with ‘fixies’ is that they spend their lives driven by the need to prove their innate stock of talent is exceptional. They obsessively seek explicit recognition of this and avoid anything that might risk exposing its limits (and challenging their identities).
Winners on paper therefore are often not those who always find a way through, but those who avoid getting into risky environments in the first place. If it looks like it could go wrong they’ll pass the risk onto another group. Fortunately, that group embraces such challenges.
The growth mindset
The ‘other’ group are those with a ‘growth mindset’ who see their abilities as open to cultivation, unlimited by birth constraints. Even their level of intelligence can be increased.
At first glance this may appear to go against much of what we know - fortunately, much of what we know is wrong. People often point to IQ tests as ‘proof’ that intelligence is fixed, without being aware that IQ tests were invented to measure how well schools were growing the intelligence of French schoolchildren. IQ tests were a measure of growth - checking how well schools were performing - not one-off indicators of a child’s capabilities.
‘Growthers’ don’t cheery pick what they’ll do to protect a fragile self-image. They take on challenges that force them to become better, learn from failure, become resilient. They often do this because they were not born in the ‘right’ place as the ‘right’ kind pf person, so didn’t have the options others - the talented ones - had. But over time their mindsets are making such niceties redundant.
For ‘growthers’ do more in their next role than they did in the last, because they’re still learning. If talent management focuses on this future potential, rather than paying for past performance, not only will costs decrease but the talent pool widens exponentially. You’re searching in places your rivals aren’t, and your demand will not outstrip supply.
In the war for talent seek out and pay for those whose best work is ahead of them, not behind.
*Advice on winning in times of crises doesn’t come free!
Shape the Future
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