These days, managers have realized that competitiveness depends on being able to find and keep talent. How does a manager do this? Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman believe that first, they must break all the rules.
Lesson 1: The Defining Dozen
By considering the answers to twelve questions, an organization can measure where it is on the scale regarding their ability to attract and retain talent. These questions cover the key elements:
- Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- Do I have the right materials and equipment I need to do my work properly?
- At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- In the last 7 days have I received recognition or praise for good work?
- Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- At work, do my opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?
- Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work?
- In the last 6 months, have I talked with someone at work about my progress?
- At work, have I had opportunities to learn and grow?
By considering these twelve questions alone we have probably enough to focus on and start revising our talent retention strategy, but this is only the beginning.
Lesson 2: Climb Every Mountain
Buckingham and Coffman compare progress towards creating positive answers for the 12 questions to climbing a mountain, and that aligning our companies to the questions is a journey.
The first stage is Base Camp and fundamentally helps our staff understand what the expectations of working for us are. These questions are essentially: “What do I get?"
The second stage is Camp 1. Having settled into the role, staff begin to ask different questions. Are they doing good work? They focus on their individual contribution.
Then It's Camp 2. It’s all about belonging. They are comfortable with their contribution but does this really align with the company?
Camp 3 beckons and the summit is in sight. Here it’s all about teamwork, pulling together in the same common and forward moving direction.
Now the summit is reached, focus is clear. Staff feel a sense of achievement, of belonging, of being “in the zone” at work. It’s a great place to work, with a great manager.
Lesson 3: Select for Talent
Traditional managerial convention says that when we are recruiting we should select a person based on their experience, intelligence and determination. Buckingham and Coffman urge us to break this rule! Managers should instead select for talent. Great managers disagree with the common definition of talent though. It is too narrow. Talent is a recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behaviour that can be productively applied. Skills and knowledge can be easily taught. Talent cannot.
Lesson 4: Find the Right Fit
Convention states that when developing a person we should help them learn and get promoted. Again, break this rule. Great managers help find the right fit. Great managers help staff find roles that further expand what they are good at. What a manager should not do is promote to fill gaps in an org chart. Frequently, good workers don’t make good supervisors.
The role of a manager is not to protect the organization by pigeon-holing staff. What they strive to do is better the best. A great manager puts their staff on the right path and simply gets out of the way.