Chief’s Corner – week of Dec. 11
By Chief Master Sgt. Lavon Coles, 50th Space Wing command chief
/ Published December 09, 2014
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Talent Management
For many units, whether large or small, talent management can make or break the success of the organization. Talent management is about having the right people in the right job at the right time. John C. Maxwell, author of "The 360 Degree Leader," discusses talent management in a slightly different tone, calling it "placing people in their strength zones." In either case, and in order to rightly do so, it is imperative leaders understand the talents of each person under their purview. Extending this logic a little further, we need to ask ourselves how we can maximize the unique talents of every Airman with the organization they are assigned. Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once remarked, "How do we ensure that we're developing our leaders [and] managing their talents for the betterment of both themselves and the institution?" This is a fair question for each of us to ask ourselves; particularly those of us in leadership roles where we have the principal responsibility of developing Airmen. So, how can we maximize the unique talents Airmen bring to the work force every day and ensure we place them in their strength zones?
Consider some of the following key points made by Maxwell: administering personality tests can aid both the individual and their supervisors in identifying personal strengths, which in-turn helps leaders appropriately place people in the right job; give them the right job/tasks, one that fits their personality - being ever mindful that moving them around may be necessary until you find the right fit; and identify the skills they need and ensure their training supports the job at hand. The key in that last approach is training. Are your people trained to do the task you've given them? This is very crucial to ensure the most successful outcome. Either one of the aforementioned approaches can well-define the person, their level of motivation, and their contributions to the organization. Keep in mind also that placing a person in the job simply because they have excelled in one area does not in and of itself suggest they'll excel in another. Identifying talent and strength is key to building a successful team. Consider the following excerpt taken from a Strategic Studies Institute publication titled, "Senior Officer Talent Management: Fostering Institutional Adaptability," which reads, "Talent is not some 'top 10 percent' of workers. It is the unique intersection of skills, knowledge and behaviors in each of us. Everyone has talents that can be extended and liberated, provided those talents are recognized and cultivated. Doing so creates optimal levels of performance in a much larger segment of an organization's workforce." Thus, we should consider the talents of every Airman in our organization and endeavor to foster an environment that can benefit from the incredible talent they bring to our Air Force.