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3 Barriers to Accelerating Talent Development

Person in a darkened room walking through a bright, shining door signifying the path to talent development success.

Make Learning a Continuous Event to Overcome Them.

The need to accelerate talent development is not new but is becoming more important in today’s changing landscape. We are inundated every day with a push to develop leaders faster to meet the demands of changing markets, adapt to the evolving needs of members, and ensure we have talent ready to lead today—and tomorrow.

Many times, these barriers can feel overwhelming. There are, however, ways to address them and move forward. 

Barrier #1: Lack of an Organizational Standard

It can be extremely difficult to accelerate development when we lack an organizational standard for leaders. There are two questions to consider here:

  • “What are we seeing in our leaders?” 
  • “What should we be seeing in our leaders?”

“What are we seeing in our leaders?” can be answered to understand gaps and identify the right intervention for development. 

The answer to the question, “What should we be seeing in our leaders?” sets a standard, giving a direction for development within the organization. It also gives leaders something to grow toward. 

Overall, the process of answering these questions aligns leadership development to the organization’s mission and strategy and provides a benefit to the leader. 

When you think you’ve overcome this barrier, ask yourself: Do you have established leadership competencies that are used to evaluate an individual to create an individualized plan to support development?

Barrier #2: Lack of Agility in Development Plans

How do we develop leaders to keep pace with changing business demands and shifts in organizational priorities?

One way to solve this is to adopt an 80-20 rule in creating a development plan. When it comes to leadership development, some key competencies do not change. Skills and behaviors within communication, trust and building relationships are standard for leaders to understand and practice. When creating a development plan, use these key competencies as the foundation (80%) and leave space for individual needs (20%). The individual needs could be based on desired areas of development, focused competencies to build skills needed for a specific role, or new organizational initiatives. Accelerating leadership development is more achievable when the individuals being developed have something to strive for and feel personally connected.

When you think you’ve overcome this barrier, ask yourself: Do you create development plans for leaders that provide room to adjust without needing to restructure the entire plan?

Barrier #3: Insufficient Follow Through 

How do we accelerate development when learning is viewed as an item to check off your list? 

Learning is not a single occurrence. It should be experienced over time and connected to daily and future work. With any learning there needs to be an opportunity to apply the knowledge to build a skill and help change behavior. Often, we leave this in the hands of the learner, but not everyone has the foresight to identify opportunities for application. Therefore, learning is checked off as complete, then cast aside to focus time on other tasks.

To support the application of knowledge, create learner-advisor pairs. Connect leaders within the organization, to provide an accountability partner, help focus leaders’ development and make learning a continuous event.

Be Talented  TalentED Mark


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