Susan Boyle and talent management

‘Talent managent’ means customising ones leadership style to individual employees

Harvard Business Online’s blogger Peter Bregman suggests that the sudden stardom of Susan Boyle, recently rocketing to the sky in the UK television programme “Britain’s got Talent”, can teach us a lot about how companies can improve their talent management.

Bregman writes:

By recognizing and encouraging the particular gifts of their employees, great managers increase the chance that those employees will be willing to stand there, exposed and authentic, while their audience rolls their eyes and sneers, expecting failure.

The scepticism among the programme’s hosts and audience towards the 47 year old, complete unknown singer is vividly displayed in the YouTube video above. This is all predictable, of course. It’s yet another contemporary sample of storyteller H.C. Andersen’s classic tale of The Ugly Duckling.

Manage B players well

What Ms Boyle adds to this storytelling tradition is that she illustrates the importance of leaders managing their B players well. B players make up the majority of nearly any company’s core of workers. They keep the ship afloat amid crisis. They are loyal. They’ll go through fire and water to keep the company afloat.

A players will always make their way to the surface when things get rough. Manage B players well and they will rise and shine stronger than ever.

Encourage and provide feedback

So, dear reader, make your way into the organisation you work for and hunt for the Susan Boyles of your company. They’re all around you. If you’re a colleague: encourage them to grow their talent. If you’re their boss: encourage as well as provide them with specific feedback.

Read my previous posts on managing B players and an inspiring example on how to provide specific feedback.

Susan Boyle and talent management

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