One of the best ways to evaluate your current talent and need for talent is to plot it out in such a way that it is visible.
Here is a talent evaluation tool I encourage my clients to use in selecting the right people to invest in for leadership training:
The horizontal axis targets competence for the position. If the role is Director of Sales, you might include competences such as sales skills, management skills, network, executive presence and teamwork.
The vertical axis targets fit with the culture. On this axis you would assess how well individuals work with others, support company vision and values and have gained the institutional knowledge and support sufficient to align with others and work within the company’s values.
Analyzing the Talent Fit Chart
As you populate this chart with your current personnel, you will notice some things that make your decisions clearer and easier. Neil is “at potential”. He is a reasonable contributor but doesn’t demonstrate the ability to grow in his role or to advance to the next level. There is not much reason to invest in development for Neil.
Keith is a better bet. He came to the company with reasonable skills and his competence rating is reasonably high. But, he has some “rough edges” in terms of the culture. Development should focus on softening those edges and better integrating him into the company culture. It might make sense to invest in a longer-term, less intense development plan with a target of having him ready in 3 to 5 years.
Debbie, on the other hand, fits the culture pretty well. People like her. She works well with others. She “gets it” as to where the company is going and is able to move things along. But, she needs to develop her “hard skills”. You might want to invest in sending her to management training or boosting her sales skills through focused training.
Susan is clearly your “star”. She demonstrates great ability to lead the sales team even though she isn’t yet Director of Sales. However, people listen to her and she leads even without the title. You can see that she has greater potential. Susan is your backup for your current Director of Sales. Susan should be included in key meetings, given opportunity to shadow her boss and be groomed to be prepared for his role as part of your leadership development strategy.
Assessing talent in an intelligent and thoughtful way will allow you to focus your leadership development dollars in the most constructive way.