I am working with a client on an Employee Development Program. They are trying to figure out who are their high potential employees and how to put them on a path that will inspire them and keep them with the company. Often times, we thing about the open position we have and then try to mold the high potential employees we have into those roles. Instead, we should find out what the critical edge strengths of our high performers are, and then decide how to develop them. People will excel at the things they like, and are good at. They will burn out quickly if we put them into roles that are not really suited to their critical edge strengths and we will end up losing our high potential employees. A promotion alone is not good enough.
I once attended a company branding meeting. The company wanted all their employees to be brand ambassadors. I helped them put together a presentation on what their brand was and how each member of the company could live and breathe the brand based on their job. The Sales and Marketing Department conducted the presentation and small groups from each department attended each session.
In one group, there was biomedical technician who kept interjecting about ways to make the branding better. How they could increase the company visibility by changing up a few things. At one point, he suggested a change to their logo. Now the company had just spent a fortune on re-branding and the Marketing Department was very attached to the end result. After the meeting, the presenters were commiserating about how annoying “that guy” was. They had to keep corralling him back so that they could move on with the presentation.
Well, the president of the company was in that meeting, and he had a different take on “that guy.” He pulled him aside after the meeting and asked him to elaborate on some of the things he said in the meeting. What he discovered was that this biomedical technician had a real eye for marketing. Having been out there in the field for so long, he had a bird’s eye view of what people noticed and what just blended into the woodwork. It turns out, the guy had a marketing degree, but couldn’t find work when he graduated so he went back to school for biomedical engineering. He was good at it, but he hated it. The president was smart enough to know that “that guy” would not stay if he never had the opportunity to use his creative juices.
There was not opening in the marketing department, but there were always projects and the department could always use some help. Before long, “that guy” was working alongside the Marketing department whenever they were in crunch mode, or needed some input from someone with both a technical and creative perspective. They ended up loving “that guy” because he added real depth to the team. Kudos to the company for giving the technician time to work on the marketing projects. The tech was happier because even though he was good at his tech job, he found some aspects to be quite trying and quite boring. At lease he knew there would be times where he could step out of his tech role and do something more in line with his critical edge strengths. And the company reaped the benefits of those strengths as well. Their Marketing Team grew even stronger. So who’s in line for the next full time marketing position there? You guessed it, “that guy!”
Thoughts…….. Contact me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com
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