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3 Steps to Owning Your Own Talent Development
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there” – Lewis Carroll
In my 30 years in the field of adult learning and talent development, I never cease to be awed by how much people want to learn and grow. At every stage of their career and every age, even now in my coaching practice, people continuously ask me how they can improve (be a better leader, spouse, parent), how they add more value, and how they can be fulfilled through the contributions they make. Yet, few of them are living true to their own heart song.
The challenge is that many of these individuals are looking to their company to provide the tools for their development. Every organization has a different philosophy, approach and budget for talent development. Some companies will provide training for people so they can be more effective in their roles, like call center training or sales training. Some companies provide training when an employee transitions from individual contributor to first-time manager. Others are looking for their high-potential talent for succession planning purposes. And, today I’m seeing a trend in tech companies to have multi-layered bands to create the perception of promotion.
But who really owns your talent development – your company or you?
What organizations are responsible to provide employees is typically what’s in the organization's own best interest, not necessarily yours. Organizations need capable salespeople. Regulated industries need people to know and follow rules. But until you own your own talent development, it’s a random chance that you will fully express your talents and potential in the world.
So where do you start?
- First, you need to know not only what you’re good at, but how what you’re good at lines up with your passions, values, and the contribution you want to make in the world. As an example, I’m a pretty good project manager but it’s not my passion. My passion is empowering others to reach for and express their own greatness. In organizations, I often got pulled into running large scale projects, even outside of my field, because I was good at project management. This misalignment with my passions and values and the contribution I wanted to make in the world made me miserable – and if you’re unhappy in your current role, this may be happening to you. How do you create this alignment? Check out this cool app where in one single statement you can articulate your gifts, your values, your passions, and the contribution you want to make into a single purpose statement. (Before you jump, finish the article so you know how to begin implementing this!)
- Second, make this statement your north star and begin to align your life around it. EVERYTHING in your life. Your job, where you live, who you spend time with, how you spend your free time. Do a complete self-audit. Once you know what needs to change, begin to build bridges to get to that new life. Download this activity to learn how you can ignite change in your life without knowing the whole plan.
- Third, become a master craftsman/craftswoman in your purpose. Study. Meditate about it. Take online classes. Network with people who share your passions. Get a coach. Get a therapist. Take some entrepreneurial risks. If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s life probably seems endless to you but by the time we reach our 40's we begin to see how fast time passes. Life isn't endless and you don't know the future, so get moving. Check out this book by Bronnie Ware “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”.
No company is, can be, or should be responsible for you expressing your gifts, values, and passions in the world. This is the job that has been given to you as a human being - to live your one life.
In the words of Martha Graham “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.