Why it’s effective

Q: How does Take Charge of Your Talent help participants achieve significant improvements?

A: First, the Take Charge of Your Talent program focuses participants on each individual’s unique and natural talents. Many people are tired, discouraged, or simply don’t think about their talents and how they could be using them. Second, consciously or unconsciously people become captive to a particular story about what they are capable of accomplishing. Take Charge helps people step out of the stories in which they are stuck and create new ones that are filled with possibility. Third, the Talent Catalyst Conversation and other tools give participants new perspectives that they can’t discover on their own. It’s like looking at yourself in a mirror and gaining new insights that you wouldn’t otherwise see. Fourth, the proven practices to overcome obstacles, develop action plans, and boost productivity and fulfillment support participants in pursuing their intentions and making their hopes real. A key incentive that pulls them through is the transformation of what they learn into enduring career assets. This also motivates their organizations to support them because the organizations benefit from those knowledge assets as well.

Q: Who can benefit from Take Charge of Your Talent?

A: All people have talent that they aren’t fully using. We’ve used this approach successfully with entrepreneurs, sole practitioners, professionals, educators, students, and people seeking employment.

Q: Can I get the full value of what Take Charge of Your Talent has to offer by just reading the book?

A: We hope the book spurs your interest and serves as a resource for your ongoing growth and learning. We have found that engaging with another person in a Talent Catalyst Conversation adds another powerful dimension to the work as well as the tools and techniques to create assets together.


The chemistry of a great conversation

Q: What’s the best way for me to try a Talent Catalyst Conversation?

A: We encourage you to jump right in. Just ask a person who’s willing to encourage your success to follow the Talent Conversation Conversation Guide available in the book or through a workshop. If you can’t find the right person to be a Talent Catalyst for you, we can help you find a Certified Talent Catalyst who can support you through the process. [See Get Started.]

Q: How long does a Talent Catalyst Conversation take?

Typically a Talent Catalyst Conversation runs from 45 minutes to an hour. You don’t want to rush it, and you don’t want to try and use it to sort out every challenge you face. The purpose is to spark your natural passion and enthusiasm for the things that truly matter to you.

Q: What the best way for me to learn to be a Talent Catalyst for someone else?

A: Again, we encourage you to jump right in. Chapter 3 in the book describes the four important characteristics for a Talent Catalyst: is a willing partner, asks carefully structured questions, is a generous listener, and gives the participant freedom to be in charge.

Q: Is there a way for me to advance my skills as a Talent Catalyst?

A: Yes there is. You can find more information in Be a Take-Charge Leader.


Follow through for results

Q: I’m concerned that I’ll get excited about doing something, but that I won’t follow through. How does Take Charge of Your Talent help with that?

A: In the book, Key #2, Accelerate through Obstacles, addresses that directly through exercises that keep your hope humming, help you grab opportunities to grow, and challenge yourself to stretch. Overcoming obstacles is actually an excellent way to stimulate the expression of your talent.

Q: I like Key #3: Multiply the Payoffs for Yourself and Others, and want to make a difference for others as well as myself. However, I’m not in charge. What can I do to champion a Take-Charge Talent Culture?

A: You can make a difference in whatever role you play. When you ask people simple questions such as “What are your hopes about your work or career?” you help them think in new and more constructive ways. As you model taking charge of your talent, you provide a powerful example for others to appreciate. Each action creates a ripple that can build into a wave.



Gaining value

Q: What is the greatest value organizations have found in working with Take Charge of Your Talent?

A: Take Charge of Your Talent engages the motivation potential that lies within each person and the capacity of people to self-organize in order to get the work done. As described more fully in the book, these approaches are more effective than outmoded command-control approaches to talent development. They create not only enduring career assets for the participants but also valuable organizational assets. Everyone wins.

Q: What’s the best way for my organization to get the full value that Take Charge of Your Talent has to offer?

A: We recommend a three-step program approach:

  1. Engage a Certified Take Charge of Your Talent™ Trainer to work with a senior manager to clarify the scope and intention of the program.
  2. Deliver a series of three Take Charge of Your Talent workshops to the broadest spectrum possible within the organization.
  3. Enroll and provide training for at least 10% of the participants to become Take Charge of Your Talent Champions who will help to build and animate a strong climate of intrinsic motivation, innovation, and lasting contribution.

Q: You say that Take Charge of Your Talent can easily scale to include people throughout the organization. How does it do that?

A: With the “see one, do one, teach one” model, everyone is both a learner and a teacher. This enables groups from two to 200 or more to participate at the same time with little incremental cost.

Q: Why is it valuable to be inclusive about talent development? Isn’t it more efficient and effective to focus on only the “high potentials” in our organization?

A: Our research shows us that everyone, at all levels of an organization, has some talent that is not being used. Encouraging the full expression of that talent spurs creativity, innovation, and results in higher, sustainable employee engagement. Thus, participants and the organization can benefit at multiple levels. Inclusion also avoids divisive dynamics of who’s “in” and who’s “out” that undermine organizational performance.

Q: Are their people or circumstances for which Take Charge of Your Talent is not effective?

A: If people are willing to show up, it works. The Talent Catalyst Conversation invites participants to identify and explore their hopes and ways to realize them. These are simple, yet powerful, means to engage the better nature of people from the front line to the CEO. Even employees who are cynical or angry with management have found it possible to let go of their negative positions because they see the value of moving forward.


Working with busy people, short on time

Q: People in our organization are really busy, some even getting MAs and Ph.Ds while working full time. They’re not going to want to take on another job of being a mentor or coach to others.

A: That’s why we created the distinctive role of Talent Catalyst. Like a catalyst in a chemical reaction, the Talent Catalyst activates or accelerates a reaction but doesn’t get consumed in the process.

Q: People in my department are well utilized and pretty satisfied. How do we help them get through the overwhelming workload from budget cutbacks?

A: Key #2 of Take Charge of Your Talent is “Accelerate through Obstacles.” Some of the productivity tools in Key#2 give participants ways to boost productivity 10-20% so that they can have time to breathe, redeploy their efforts to what’s of most value, and enjoy their work.


Addressing points of concern

Q: If we ask every employee what they want to do, aren’t we setting up unrealistic expectations or just encouraging them to leave the organization?

A: We have found that employees mostly do not want to make big work changes; they want to find success where they are. Employment is like a personal relationship. When people feel that they can’t grow or aren’t allowed to grow, they go outside the relationship for fulfillment and cause all kinds of pain for everyone. Our experience is that it’s much better for employers to encourage their employees to explore their interests than to create resistance that causes disengagement. We estimate that 90%+ of the time, employees who have explored their interests and found support to do so choose to stay because they have overcome their assumptions that they couldn’t grow. Those employees who leave eliminate a caustic source of discontent that would have poisoned the well for everyone.

Q: How do we keep the Talent Catalyst Conversation from interfering with the supervisor-subordinate relationship?

A: The Talent Catalyst doesn’t tell the participant what to do. In fact, the questions that a Talent Catalyst asks will help the participant identify supervisors and others whom the participant needs to engage to pursue her or his aspirations. Take Charge of Your Talent doesn’t create triangles. The participants remain responsible for their choices.


Creating sustainable success

Q: So, how do we establish a cadre of Talent Catalysts for our organization?

A: Through the Take Charge of Your Talent program workshops, employees throughout your organization will have the experience of being both a Talent Catalyst and a participant. They will see that anyone can follow the steps and serve in the Talent Catalyst role. This will stimulate informal networks. Also, we find that upcoming generations don’t follow the old model of one employee – one mentor. They like tapping multiple sources (multiple Talent Catalysts) and with the Take-Charge program they have a framework and successful experience to do that confidently.

Q: How do we sustain this program when others want to learn the skills or new people join the organization?

A: We encourage each organization to invite interested participants to become Take Charge of Your Talent Champions. These are people who have a special knack and enjoyment for the role. Using the “see one, do one, teach one” model, they can share their knowledge with others. [See Be a Take-Charge Leader.]


Looking at the Bigger Picture

Q: Why is Take Charge of Your Talent trying to make the key to talent development available to everyone?

A: We want all people to enjoy using their talents productively. The huge business, political, and social challenges we face throughout the world need us to be using our better thinking and doing satisfying and sustainable work. With straightforward tools that people can learn and share with others, we can make a difference together.

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