This Guest paper was originally published in the January, 2016 PM World Journal.
With some updating of the text, it is reproduced here with the permission of the author.
Copyright Stacy Goff, © 2016.
Published here June 2016

PART 1 | Our First Insights into the Stairway to Talent
A "Driving" Example of Talent Progression | Achieving Performance
Role Competences: Another Dimension for Talent Development
Talent Management Area 3: Managing and Retaining Talent
Maintaining Team Motivation and Morale | A Talented, Appropriate, Recovery Action

Talent Management Area 3: Managing and Retaining Talent

Clearly, recognizing and rewarding talent is one of the keys to growing it. It is also one of the keys to retaining it. In an era when every Enterprise has Talent Scouts on the search for your project talent, savvy Enterprises apply consistent strategies for retaining it — protecting your investment. This is especially important if your enterprise is one that is experiencing the outflow of talent resulting from retiring baby boomers. Consistent, enterprise-wide Talent Management strategies are also important if your Project Culture includes conflicting priorities, unrealistically tight deadlines, limited resources, and unavailable talent — with project progress based more on pressure and heroics, than on competent PM practices.

Difficulties in Managing Project Talent

It is not easy to manage top talent. Talent is finicky, temperamental, and sometimes prima donnas. Just look at young celebrity talent to see how difficult it can be. This view may provide clues for managing your Enterprise's talent. One key to managing talent is to continue to provide new challenges. Those who are "topped out" may choose to find new challenges in other companies. So keep those challenges, and the resulting learning (and rewards and recognition), coming

Retaining Project Talent begins with institutionalizing four simple actions:

  • Responding to needs quickly and correctly
  • Maintaining team motivation and morale
  • When losing Talent, act decisively and wisely
  • Apply proper PM practices in Talent Management ("Eating our own dog food")

Responding to needs quickly and correctly

The diagram at the right shows the typical sequence of events when a project loses talent. Risk, Cost and Time go up. Quality always goes down. Well-meaning, but not yet competent Managers put pressure on the team to "catch up." Why not? It worked last time! Team motivation goes down. Risk, Time and Cost continue to go up, and Quality continues to go down. There are far smarter ways to manage a situation like this, yet the actions most often taken do more damage than doing nothing at all.

Of course, a high performing project team will tell their managers exactly what support they need, and the project and business consequences of receiving it, versus not receiving it. Even then, some not-yet-competent managers will ignore the team's advice.

Role Competences: Another Dimension for Talent Development  Role Competences: Another Dimension for Talent Development

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