Joe Takash: Let your talent shine

Joe Takash, president, Victory Consulting

Joe Takash, president, Victory Consulting

Are you asking and expecting more out of your people than you were a year ago? If you are, you’re not alone. Many business leaders are asking their employees to give more for the same or less than they had been making in order to keep the company making ends meet. Assuring that your team is part of your vision and is willing to give this extra effort rather than being an impediment to your list of to-dos is a swinging gate to success or failure.

A crucial part of navigating the turbulent waters of these economic times is to be sure you keep the right crew aboard to keep your ship afloat. Organizations that lose focus on this are asking for trouble both now and in the future, if they have one.

Here are five tips to be sure your high flyers are flying with you:

Determine the motivations of top talent

How do you do this? Ask them. Be specific and make sure that your top brass answers questions like the following:

  • Are you happy with where your career is headed?
  • What would you like the next step in your career to be?
  • How can I/we help you get there?

Exit interviews are not the time to determine these motivations. Find out what your future leaders need now and feed those who feed your machine.

Make individual meetings a standard

Another common fumble by companies is that they don’t make individual updates a cultural consistency. They do backflips for their clients, yet they don’t look inward and pay special attention to those who drive business and pump oxygen into their organization. Meeting with your folks individually recognizes their importance and provides a wonderful forum for discovering what they may not disclose in a group meeting.

Delegate and give responsibility

One of the biggest challenges for execs is to let go. It’s difficult for them because all that happens under their jurisdiction is their responsibility. Remember that your emerging leaders want to be challenged and be given assignments that utilize their talent. This is how they learn. Let go and show trust and you will be surrounded with a higher performing team.

Become a teaching executive

Even the brightest executives have never been taught the fundamental rule of adult learning: Teaching hasn’t occurred until learning is confirmed. Telling isn’t teaching and execs must know that even the brightest talent may process information differently than they do. Be sure you are patient and aligned as you develop and confirm that understanding has happened.

Share knowledge

In the absence of feedback, people create their own opinions of what’s happening and it’s typically negative. You must keep your folks abreast of what’s going on, regularly. Provide knowledge which is different from data. Data is merely “the what.” Knowledge is “the what, the why and the how they play a vital role to change and growth.” Keep your top talent informed and you will keep morale high and get these key players to feel passionate about sticking around.

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at