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

Achieving Performance

You will note that everything I have talked about so far, in the progression from the gap into levels 1-3 involved action. Our learning is kinetic (active; application). There are measurable indicators along the way that you can use to track your progress. They are all moving you toward the top-right end of the model, which may offer different results for different people. For myself, in this driving example, I went through the progression, and at Competence, I was driving everything from motorcycles to off-road rally cars, to racecars. Performance in this progression meant winning races.

Yes, that's me at right, on a Victory Lap at Seattle International Raceway, in 1978.

This was amateur sports car racing, on the West Coast, setting lap records on every track I raced, and winning every race in my last three years. You can see why I focus on performance, and why I understand the ingredients and actions needed to achieve it — in racecars, and in projects. While few everyday drivers achieve full Competence, even fewer achieve winning levels of performance — and the same is true with projects.

Beyond the driving analogy, my experience in business is that, for projects, the progression from Skills to Attitudes mastery offers a 2x-4x increase in results; another 2x-4x when you move from Attitudes to Competence mastery; and again, another 2x-4x when you progress from Competence to winning levels of Performance. Recall that I cited the driver's manual exam and learners permit as a Knowledge-based achievement. Would you rather have a Knowledge talent level 3 for all of your project and program managers, or a full assessment of Competence, level 4? Of course, winning levels of project and program performance would be even better!

Talent Management and Competitive Advantage

The reader can clearly see the benefits of the closely held competitive advantage of those enterprises that applied these insights. And, as professional associations poll executives about what is needed to improve delivery of business success through projects, the rest of the world is now catching on to those secrets. That's great! Let us look at several aspects of implementing this scoring of the levels of Talent Management.

The ideal project team scores at the maximum in each Talent Area, as shown below. It does so with members who are at the needed Competent or Performing levels for each element in each Talent Area-I showed examples of those elements in the Acquisition section. You can see how difficult this can be in a small project team, which is another reason why "lean teams," a scourge and management malpractice for decades, is such a poor idea.

Team members with the appropriate talent in their disciplines are the "secret sauce" to successfully delivering the project. Yet each project is as successful as its lowest Talent Area Score. If, for example, your Product Talent score is only 2 (Skill), who wins? No one! So we continue to hear that X% for each billion dollars spent on projects is wasted.

A   A "Driving" Example of Talent Progression

Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page