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Talent Management in Disrupted Organizations is Different

Talent Management in Disrupted Organizations is Different

Driving better results Remember when talent management buzz was all about “who’s on the bus”? Not only is this metaphor outdated…it’s a limited perspective during disruptive times.

At a minimum, we need a more fluid metaphor for talent development.

Here’s one that’s a better fit for navigating disruptive, fast moving times.



Have you ever been white water rafting?

White Water Talent Management Lessons

Lesson #1  Teach rafters to gage river conditions. This is a guide’s principal responsibility. Environmental conditions influence every trip. River difficulty changes based on recent as well as current conditions. Rafters must learn to “read” the water as they go.

Lesson #2  Model what safety looks like. Protective gear goes without saying…but gear isn’t enough if rafters fall overboard. They need fast water swimming techniques to stay safe until they are scooped up. What opportunities do you provide for learning these additional skills?

Lesson #3 Let paddlers learn as they go. Mastery requires progressive practice in various white water conditions. Paddlers can’t learn to adjust their technique without making mistakes. Eventually, they discover what they’re good at. When paddlers know what they’re good at they figure out how to navigate obstacles based on their strengths.

Lesson #4  Break trips into small components. While the “easiest” route is to follow the fastest current, paddlers need approaches for a variety of obstacles. A big priority is to leave a margin for error. (Not every obstacle is above the surface).

Lesson #4 Take time to stop and rest. Rest periods are good for recovery and allow for adjustments but they’re also needed to reassess the next segment of water.

What do you think?

Is it time to get off the talent management bus in favor of a more fluid metaphor? Getting people ready for rapid changing conditions is paramount in today’s disrupted environment.

5 Essential Talent Management Rules for Disrupted Organizations

  • Teach individuals to “read” white water in light of environmental conditions. (Look outward as well as in). It’s critical to navigating successfully and safely.
  •  Provide various environmental conditions for hands on experience. Let individuals practice in a variety of challenging currents. It’s how they grow their white water skills.
  • Teach them to break down a run into smaller manageable sections. This creates optimum conditions for safe as well as speedy navigation.
  • Rest periods are essential to recharge and spot newly emerging obstacles.
  • Let them have fun! White water is exhilarating when they’re prepared and practiced.




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