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2021 Must Be Different: Adaptable Talent Management

Author: Garrick Throckmorton– Chief Product and Services Officer

Don’t worry. This is not another article about COVID. This is not a discussion about shutdowns, restarting, masks, vaccines or any of the other key topics of 2020. This IS an article about how a year of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) must inspire us to reassess the way we approach our talent management practices in 2021. Ultimately, organizational thriving is on the line.

Through our discussions with leaders across industries we have gleaned several insights that one article cannot adequately cover. However, a few themes have emerged as we reflect upon 2020 including the fact that our organizations need a new approach to creating leadership pipelines that are more flexible than rigid, more customized to our cultural context than off-the-shelf, and understood by employees at all levels. The rapid change that our organizations experienced in 2020 highlighted the rigidity of our talent management processes, and in many cases our lack of development to be prepared for such VUCA moments. As the calendar turns to a New Year, we must not romanticize the mere fact that 2020 will be in the past, but rather use it as a way to build resilience into our future state as more VUCA moments will certainly come.

At TeamTelligent, we have witnessed Roles and behavioral Practices drive effectiveness across organizations as a key answer to addressing VUCA, and have had the privilege to share this experience with many of you this year. Practically speaking, how can the Roles and Practices of the KSA Suite help your organization prepare for VUCA moments?

  1. Roles and Practices provide direction to employees at all levels. What behaviors drive results for Individual Contributors? How do they vary from those expected as a Manager or as a top-level Leader? Roles and Practices answer these questions using Virtual Sorting processes that engage key stakeholders and provide HR practitioners relevance in the strategy of the organization. The result is the creation of a Success Profile that we can hire, develop, coach and assess against using Hello! Interview Guides, DIY (Develop-It-Yourself) Development Guides, or 360 survey’s.
  2. Roles and Practices are observable, measurable and composed using line-friendly language so that “normal” employees (those that don’t sit inside HR) can engage with talent management interventions without the “HR-speak” that can often creep into our work. By equipping all employees with an understanding of how to measure the Roles and Practices (using Hello! or DIY Guides), we enhance the ongoing informal assessment and calibration of behavior at the line level.
  3. Roles and Practices can be developed over time with the point of driving individual, team and organizational results. Because each performance library is built upon decades of research, development, succession, or even interview priorities can be created knowing that the behaviors have been proven to drive results.
  4. Every organization has a unique culture, a unique strategy, and therefore a unique context in which talent management strategies live. By creating customized success profiles for Individual Contributors, Managers, Leaders, High Potentials, and/or Teams, the organization can enhance its employment brand and value proposition over time. This becomes a market differentiator as the organization creates leaders within the context of their own model.
  5. Talent Management strategies cannot be created in a silo, in order to have maximum employee engagement and impact. Because Roles and Practices are written using line friendly language, key stakeholders are able to come to the table with HR early in the process via virtual sorting experiences, allowing their fingerprints to be placed on HR strategies. The result is a supported approach to recruiting, development, succession planning, 360 surveys, high potential identification, coaching, feedback, and more.
  6. We know that VUCA is best addressed by those that have the demonstrated Markers and Practices of High Potential. High Potentials are made for VUCA moments! They run towards the chaos and solve problems the first time better than most. We must identify, verify and develop High Potentials to ultimately shield our organization through new battles on the horizon.

It would be a shame if we left 2020 and did not wrest meaning and key learnings out of what has been a year for the ages. While we are all counting down the days until 2020 is in our rearview mirror, let’s do the work to apply learnings to our organizations in a way that ensures we are stronger tomorrow than we are today. We hope that you will join us in 2021 for a variety of different Free webinars or Virtual Certification Workshops (see below for our Q1 list) that aim to enhance the value you bring to your work each day and create thriving organizations as a result.



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