You can either hoard talent on your team or you can develop it and export it. If you’re a net exporter of talent, there are huge benefits both to the broader organization as well as your individual team.
Some of the strongest leaders I know are what I call net exporters of talent. You can either hoard talent on your team or you can develop it and export it. If you’re a net exporter of talent, there are huge benefits, both to the broader organization as well as your individual team because you’re bringing people in, building them, helping them grow, and then sending them off to new roles outside of your team.
So, let me tell you what it means to be a hoarder of talent. The way the cycle works is: That leader hires somebody and brings them into their team. That individual performs well and they grow and eventually, they become a high performer on that team. But then, the leader fears losing that person because they’re critical and they start discouraging that person from moving elsewhere, which is very selfish from the leader’s standpoint. Ultimately, that individual gets frustrated or they get bored with the role they’re in and they start becoming a poor performer. Their morale drops or they leave the company and go take on a bigger role, something that’s more challenging on a different team outside of the organization.
And then, even worse, that individual might start discouraging other people from joining that leader’s team, saying things like, “Well, you don’t want to go to that team because it’s a dead end. You’ll get there and you won’t grow. You won’t be given new opportunities and you won’t develop.” And ultimately, what happens is the high performers start leaving and that leader is then left with B players and C players who are comfortable where they are. All the great talent eventually flees that team and that leader has a really difficult time finding new people to come into the organization. The negative spiral continues.
Let me offer what it means to be a net exporter of talent. The way the cycle works is: The leader hires somebody to come onto the team. That individual performs well and they grow and they become a high performer in the organization. The leader steps back and says, “Wow, this person’s doing great and they’re running out of head room. They’re running out of challenges to grow and expand.” So, I have to do one of two things as that leader. I either need to expand the individual’s role and their scope on my team or if I don’t have the ability to expand their scope, I should find them another role but within my company because I want to retain that talent within the broader organization.
I then send that individual out to the new role that I’ve helped them find and that I’ve advocated for and they go into that next role and they become a high performer there. They start speaking highly of that leader who’s the net exporter because that leader helped them find that great new role that they’re very excited about. Then new talent within the rest of the organization starts hearing that if you go to that team where that leader is an exporter of talent, you’re going to have some great opportunities. The roles there will enable you to grow and expand your capabilities. Many times, even people outside of your company hear that that team is a destination for growth and development.
The great thing that happens for that leader who is a net exporter of talent is that leader never has a shortage of people seeking roles on their team and the members of the team are actively engaged and growing and contributing first to that leader’s team, but then to the broader organization as they move into new roles. And the leader is also helping those other parts of the organization improve their overall performance because that leader is sending great people out into other corners of the company where they can be high performers in that next role.
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