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Business Management

Published on March 26th, 2014 | by Stuart Blyth


How do you manage Outrageous Talent?

C-level professional and business author Stuart Blyth discusses why learning from the masters in people management is important for business, but being able to manage “outrageous talent” is essential. His insights explore the benefits this brings and guides your business to make the most of your most talented employees.

Following my previous blog in which I discussed whether business can learn some lessons from football, I would now like to drill down on some of the more important aspects of this thinking. Through a series of articles over the coming months, I intend to explore a number of challenges that all organisations face and, based on the work I have done with companies, identify some key strategies that can be learnt from top football managers and coaches for business.

Good or Great Business?  How well do you manage your Talented Employees?

In all organisations there is the ever present challenge of managing and maximising the contribution that can be delivered by your most talented employees. We like to call these employees (or players) outrageous talent. The issues are the same whether you’re managing a Premier League football team or a multinational complex organisation. These talented employees are the difference between a good and a great organisation and, as such, business leaders need to understand how to work with these employees. This is for the benefit of the employees themselves, the teams within which they work the organisation as a whole and the clients/customers too.

Effective Talented Employee Management

Many organisations, I have come across have talent management programmes in place, but how effective are they in dealing with this challenge?

As an important aspect of this process it is important for the business manager to understand whether they need to recruit some outrageous talent into their team, whether on a permanent or interim basis. Some critical thinking and professional help in this area to identify this outrageous talent for inclusion would be necessary.

When I mention this challenge to some clients, there is often recognition and a nodding of the head, closely followed by a comment like “We have some folks like these, but are at a loss how we can incorporate them successfully into our business.”

Motivate Talented Employees or Else…

To begin with, the business leader must be trained to understand what motivates their talented employees and thus this will help incorporate these team members into the team and their business. Without the manager’s ability to complete this task, a number of consequences may occur:

  • Talented employees can become disillusioned and leave the organisation for one that more closely meets their needs – this has a dramatic effect on the whole organisation in a number of ways
  • A talented employee stays and feels disillusioned and becomes a negative influence in the business – this can also have a dramatic effect
  • All people in the business see this as a failure of management to lead the business successfully.  Motivate talented employees or else.

Adopt an Outrageous Talent Strategy

Clearly, the very best of football managers and coaches know how to do this and unlike many of their peers in business, work very closely on a daily basis with this top talent. It is obvious when this has worked well and painfully obvious when it has not – the fact that most of us do not work in the gaze of the public eye does not mean that the effects are any less dramatic.

I would therefore urge all organisations to have a clearly defined outrageous talent strategy to maximise effectiveness. If you are a leader of a business are you actively seeking out this talent – and if not, why not?

Are you making the most of your outrageous talent, or are they becoming disillusioned?  Have you any thoughts you would like to share on managing talented employees?  We would love to hear your views.

Stuart Blyth is also the co-author of From Pitch to Boardroom, a guide to building your winning team.

Photo Credit: MarkHunt

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About the Author

C-suite business professional and author Stuart Blyth shares how leaders can learn business lessons from the football field to unleash the potential of every single member of their team.

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