WHAT IS TOP TALENT AND HOW IS THAT IDENTIFIED?

As a part of our talent acquisition engagements, we ask our clients how they define “top talent” and how they would assess those traits in the interview process. Reflecting on the insightful comments we hear every day, we thought there would be great value in a new blog in which senior executives/thought leaders share their “Take on Talent.”

This is the thirtieth in a series of blogs/interviews with senior executives who are thought leaders in the areas of Talent Acquisition, Career Development and Leadership who will share their perspectives on this ever present question.

 

Mita Gupta

Mita is Senior Vice President at Globality, a venture-backed technology company which is the world’s only AI-powered marketplace for the buying of enterprise services.  With 20+ years of experience, Mita is an executive focused on building and expanding high-growth, global B2B companies.  She was previously the Global Vice President at GEP, leading growth strategy and vision, business development and solution design across key global and emerging markets including the US, EMEA and APAC. As part of the senior leadership team that generated the highest and most consistent growth rate in the procurement services and technology industry, she also served as the Executive Sponsor for many key client relationships across the Fortune 500/Global 2000.  Prior to GEP, Mita was part of the founding team at Procurian (acquired by Accenture), a provider of procurement business process services to Fortune 1000 companies, and she was a management consultant with Kearney.

 

Please share with us the top five characteristics (in priority order, first to fifth) of the most talented people you have encountered during your career, and your definition of each. The following are examples, please add or modify as you see fit.           

Passion

This is the key characteristic I seek in team members to help drive high growth businesses.  Passion fosters enthusiasm, passion fosters curiosity, passion fosters innovation, passion fosters commitment, passion fosters effective team building and passion fosters fun.

 

Integrity

Integrity is essential – individuals who will do what’s best for the business and for their people will enhance long-term loyalty, from customers as well as employees.

 

Competence

It goes without saying that being competent in one’s relevant role, industry or function is critical for success.  Beyond the technical competence, it also speaks to the ability to think broadly and creatively around a problem and how to solve it.

 

Articulate Communicator

I highly value an articulate communicator who can thoughtfully and effectively deliver messages to our organization and/or relay our value to our prospects and clients.

 

Visionary

Vision provides focus, motivation, and direction to move through change and obstacles. Good leaders have a clear vision and are able to articulate the path forward to their team.  Leaders who can do this help employees understand and align their work strategically and engage with their work more meaningfully.

 

How do you communicate these characteristics to your HR and senior management team?

The key characteristics described above are typically derived from the critical elements needed to drive functional excellence and overall company success, in addition, to fostering the company’s core values.  If we hire the right people, we will foster a culture that drives superior performance but also ensures we have a collective employee base that values and embraces the company culture.  Ultimately, the best way to convey these characteristics is to “just do it”.  Work with your HR business partners to find and hire the best and drive excellent performance.  Not every hire will be the best-fit, and for those that are not, it’s also important to learn quickly, make swift decisions and continue to build a team that thrives.

 

How do you handle challenges to the existing culture by talent you have brought in?

Maintaining the established culture in a high growth, diverse environment, is a continuously evolving initiative.  Staying true to the core values is foundational to our business and becomes the north star in being able to handle challenges/changes to the culture, while keeping an open mind about how to continue to improve.  There can be additive improvements to culture over time, and it’s important to ensure individuals can be their authentic selves for the organization to identify and implement those improvements.  Furthermore, having a strong leadership team, who consistently “lives the culture” and advocates for it globally, is key to ensuring a strong, healthy, and enduring culture.

 

 

5 times Ted Lasso reminded us what great leadership looks like

BY GWEN MORAN

If you’re planning on watching the show, proceed with caution—there are spoilers ahead. 

One of the occupational hazards of writing about leadership for more than a decade is that you start to see lessons all around you and ascribe meaning to the actions of others. Sometimes those “others” include the main characters of eponymous television shows. Apple TV’s Ted Lasso is like a cheat sheet for being a good leader.

Good buzz about the show, starring Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach in London, resulted in the streaming service’s biggest premiere viewership to date, and a six-fold audience increase, according to a report in Variety. While the streaming service isn’t releasing hard audience data, it’s clear that the series is gaining traction. The show also racked up 20 Emmy nominations, including four in the Best Supporting Actor category.

Ask fans why they (we) love the show, and you’ll hear a familiar refrain: It’s a bright spot in a painful world. The writing is sharp and manages to be optimistic, wise, and hilarious without being cloying. Each of the characters has flaws and weaknesses that keep them from becoming caricatures. In a recent episode that paid homage to romantic comedies (funnier and cleverer than it sounds), the Lasso declared, “I believe in ‘rom-communism’”—the philosophy that everything will work out in the end, even if it’s not the way you think it would. These days, that can be hard to believe. Therein lies some of the show’s appeal.

And if you’re looking for examples of how leaders behave—or should—Ted Lasso is fertile ground. Here are five times Lasso and his cohorts reminded us of the way leaders should act:

(more…)

If Networking Makes You Feel Dirty, You’re Doing It Wrong

By Dorie Clark

How to win friends, influence people—and still feel squeaky-clean in the morning

Nearly every professional recognizes that networking is good for them. The connections! The opportunities! And yet a significant percentage simply can’t bring themselves to do it.

Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino knows why: It makes them feel dirty.

In one study she conducted, the perceived moral contamination of networking clouded people’s perceptions so much that they developed a sudden and disproportionate interest in personal-cleansing products such as soap and toothpaste.

It’s no wonder. We’ve all occasionally experienced a “favor assailant” who cozies up to us with a “getting to know you” call or coffee, and then springs a sneak attack. One colleague recently told me about someone with whom he thought he’d been building a friendship—until the other person hit him up with a request that required significant political capital. “It made me wonder,” my friend said. “Was this his plan all along? Had he been pacing it out, pretending to be interested in getting to know me, and just waiting to make his ask?”

No one wants to be like that.

(more…)

How the pandemic has created a new breed of tech worker

 

 

BY LEAH SOLIVAN

 

 

18 months in, COVID-19 has forced Silicon Valley to end its obsession with optimization.

Here we are, entering the 18th month of a pandemic that has brought constant upheaval to virtually every aspect of our lives. We’re adjusting to increased risks from a more potent variant, the omnipresent strain of a new set of restrictions, and the slow pace of vaccinations. The hope that things will return to normal has, somewhere along the way, been quietly replaced with the hope that we’ll find a new normal.

For those of us who spent most of our pre-COVID-19 hours in endless pursuit of ways to further optimize our daily hustle on behalf of technology startups, things have changed. We’ve changed. We’re not the same people we were in February 2020. We’ve each weathered the past year and a half in different ways, but many of us have come to the exact same conclusion: The old way of working won’t work anymore.

When I started TaskRabbit on the heels of the Great Recession, I quickly learned that many workers were ready to swap out their 9-to-5 jobs for a more agile, independent working life. We learned that control and flexibility were the primary drivers of people searching for a new way to work. Post-pandemic tech workers want that same control and flexibility, yes, but they’re also unapologetically in pursuit of purpose and passion.

(more…)

End your meeting with clear decisions and shared commitment

by Elizabeth Doty

By cuing the close more effectively, you can move your team from conversation to action.

Years ago, I found myself sitting at a conference table, observing a client team that had just had an aha moment. About halfway through an hour-long discussion, they figured out the root cause of a customer service issue that was plaguing the business. But then they got caught up in the excitement of their discovery and lost track of the meeting agenda. As a result, when the leader prepared to ask the group for solutions, he noticed everyone sneaking glances at their laptops and phones. Time was up, and the team members began to make their apologies and trickle out of the room without making any decisions about how to solve the issue.

In my last few posts, I have argued that leaders need to set the tone in the first five minutes of their meetings and then actively design the middle to keep people energized and productive. These steps are critical, but they are not the whole story. Leaders also need to be thoughtful and deliberate about how they end meetings to ensure the team walks away with clear decisions and shared commitment to implementing the next steps.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. In many cases, participants do the difficult, creative work of diagnosing issues, analyzing problems, and brainstorming new ideas but don’t reap the fruits of their labor because they fail to translate insights into action. Or, with the end of the meeting looming—and team members needing to get to their next meeting, pick up kids from school, catch a train, and so on—leaders rush to devise a plan. They press people into commitments they have not had time to think through—and then can’t (or won’t) keep to. (more…)