Talent Development Begins with You

As a leader, we don’t actually have much control over the people we lead. However, we have complete control over ourselves.
business person looking at reflection in mirrors

We noticed something interesting recently when cross-referencing MDM subscriber preferences with our latest audience survey data. Distributors consistently rank the topic of talent/talent management as one of their areas of least interest. However, when asked to share top pain points and priorities for the remainder of 2021, issues surrounding talent management make up the majority of responses. 

It’s not difficult to see how this could be the case. We often procrastinate on or avoid altogether areas that we find uncomfortable or where we think we might be underperforming. 

While recruiting new employees is at or near the top of many distributors’ talent wish lists, practicality dictates that we first work with what we’ve got. That’s where the August 10 issue of MDM Premium’s lead story has a lot to offer. “How to Foster Change Management for Digital Transformations” not only provides some excellent tips on digital change enablement, but much of the advice from industry veterans found within it also applies to broader staff development efforts. 

For example, fostering a collaborative environment. “You need passionate people that can manage cross functionally with collaborative leadership,” says Darren Taylor, senior vice president of marketing and digital at heavy-duty truck and trailer part distributor FleetPride. “When you’re doing that, you need to have common goals and a common vision. They need to know that you’re going to get in the boat and row with them and that they are a team. Collaborative leadership is really important.”

Or by promoting a positive, can-do attitude. “… Change management is so important because you can’t make people do things,” says Colleen Romero, marketing director of technology at Stanley Black & Decker. “You can require training. You can build skill sets, but you’ve really got to create enthusiasm, and learn how to harness that enthusiasm to catapult your projects forward.”

Look inward

Notice, both Taylor and Romero talk about building common goals and creating enthusiasm. That starts with you. 

In an upcoming MDM podcast, I speak with executive and leadership coach Will Matthews about some universal talent-related pain points, such as keeping your best performers from jumping ship, combatting brain-drain as veterans retire and how to be successful with recruitment. Matthews has great advice on each of these topics. Much of it centers on the idea that, as a leader, we don’t actually have much control over the people we lead. 

However, we have complete control over ourselves. Therefore, Matthews says, “If you want more energy, more focus, more positive expectation, more loyalty from your team, then I encourage you to be thinking, ‘How much energy, focus, positive expectation and loyalty am I bringing myself, day in and day out?’’

If you’re looking for somewhere to center that energy, focus, expectations and loyalty, don’t miss the feature, “Are Distributors the Future of Distribution?” In it, Jay McBain, principal analyst – channels, partnerships and ecosystems for Forrester Research, lays out eight predictions on the future of the industry and why a radical rethinking of your business model may be in order. There’s work to do — and it starts with you.

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