Once in a talent review discussion, one of my bosses requested a young Business Leader to consider a CV of a candidate (top talent), the candidates name was blanked out in the CV. The business leader read the CV, said, “this is a fantastic profile, this person has such rich experience and has established a track record of success”. He asked my boss, “why the name is blanked out? Who is this person”? Then, my Boss told him, that, “he is one of your direct reports, who was hired before you were hired in the company”. He added, “I am sensing from this talent review discussion that you don’t seem to appreciate the potential in him” – Boss was direct but, very calm and constructive. The business leader reflected on the discussion and apologised, for not knowing his people he hadn’t hired directly. He was genuinely sorry about it.
What I learned from that interaction was as follows:
1) As leaders you shouldn’t value people, who are only hired by you. It’s a trait of a great leader to know all his people and all about them. No assessment report can ever replace the first hand knowledge about a person his experiences and background. Just coz a person wasn’t hired by you doesn’t mean he/she is less talented.
2) How senior leaders effectiveny coach and give feedback to other leaders in certain situations. They use the moment or the event to coach and give feedback.
3) I admired the courage of the young business leader, who took it on his chin, reflected upon it, didnt allow his ego to rule over him, accepted his mistake and apologised. He role modelled the art of accepting feedback and learning. This young leader later became one of the best business leaders in the company and achieved tremendous success for his people, his company and as such for himself. Today is he heading one of the biggest regions/continents of his large MNC company.
4) Why profiles or CVs of other unknown or lesser known people look more attractive? Coz, you don’t really know or appreciate the profiles of people who have worked with you or your company for long. Also the brief talent profile created for the talent review process may not be always an adequate representation of the talent – HR should facilitate the talent management process by projecting talent appropriately. Good HR leaders ask probing and insightful questions about talent to their leaders.
5) Talent reviews and discussions is a such a critical rhythm or mechanism for a talent focused organisation. It goes beyond putting people in the boxes. The senior most leader has to lead the talent management process, not the HR head. HR is a custodian and designer of the process – at best a co-owner.
Have you ever felt that you aren’t valued in the organisation coz your leaders don’t know you well? Pls share your views.