This is an excerpt from an article published in Training Journal in December 2015.  To find out more about Training Journal, please visit: www.trainingjournal.com

Training Journal

 

 

 

Stephanie Garforth talks to the Training Journal about creating a Disruptive Talent programme.

In contrast to traditional talent, the conditions have to be right for ‘Disruptive Talent’ to succeed because these individuals will not adapt and fit into the status quo.  Creating the right conditions is not easy as there is no single way to manage Disruptive Talent effectively and prevent them from derailing. There are a range of reasons why Disruptive Talent might pose a risk to an organisation. It is therefore crucial that the approach organisations take managing and developing these individuals address individual needs and are formulated on a case-by-case basis.

The way in which we support organisations to innovate through Disruptive Talent is by offering tailored and integrated programmes to ensure that these individuals are supported in the right environment with the right approach, and that their derailers are anticipated and managed effectively. We work with HR departments and managers to provide the Disruptive Talent with the opportunity to build their leadership competence in a safe environment to maximise the chances of their success.

Developing Individual Effectiveness

One strand of this typically involves providing individual support through coaching to help address the differing risks to maximise personal effectiveness. Disruptive Talent will always ask very different questions, look at things from a different perspective and are persistent at achieving the outcomes they want. Coaching is a key mechanism for keeping such individuals focussed on the right things and ensuring their potentially negative impact on others is managed.

Using our findings from the assessment process, we create individual development plans that cover goals and identify foreseeable obstacles that would impede their success. We provide sponsors and managers of the Disruptive Talent with line of sight of the objectives to support and monitor progress and also provide them with the capability to manage these individuals in the most effective way.

Creating an effective team environment

Another strand of this typically involves ensuring the right team composition in terms of capability, skills and personality. As with traditional talent, we would assess individuals’ capability and work with HR departments and managers to ensure complementary skills within teams. Disruptive Talent, for example, passionately and tenaciously pursue unconventional thinking, which could benefit from action oriented ‘doers’ to buckle them down from running away with ideas. In consideration of the characteristics of Disruptive Talent, we also carefully position colleagues around them who are conventional enough to challenge their ideas but unconventional enough to collaborate with them. This deliberate act of putting together teams of people who think and behave differently from each other can cause the team dynamics to derail effectiveness. To ensure success, we therefore provide team support and development to ensure working relationships are close, transparent and developmental.

Leading the Right Cultural Environment
Leaders set the direction, style and tone for the organisation and condone and reinforce patterns of acceptable behaviour. Therefore, the third strand involves working with the leadership to foster an environment that harnesses the collective power of Disruptive Talent and their teams.

A start-up environment is not the same as a traditional corporate environment and great ideas don’t necessarily happen in meeting rooms during working hours. Leaders need to reinforce cross-collaboration and create opportunities for external experiences to encourage individuals to think differently and ambitiously.

Rather than pressurising Disruptive Talent to conform or force them to operate within the tight parameters of the traditional corporate environment, leaders must enforce a culture of trust, openness and space where individuals are valued for who they are and comfortable to express their views to allow them to respond authentically.

To this end, we support leaders and managers through developmental workshops to clarify their vision and accountabilities, alter their behaviours to help them lead by example and support their communications process to quickly and effectively establish changes to the existing ways of working. This promotes flexibility, energy, ideas and acceptance of ‘risky’ pursuits outside of traditional norms. Strong leadership direction is particularly important when times get tough as the gut reaction is to deliver more with less. The effect is often greater levels of control, micro-management and condemnation of initiative taking, which is counter-productive for Disruptive Talent.

Summary

Running a Disruptive Talent programme can be a huge commitment but also a huge commercial opportunity for an organisation. For it to succeed, it is important that the organisations do the following:

  • Identify the right talent;
  • Establish the right conditions and boundaries around which Disruptive Talent can develop business opportunities
  • Provide appropriate support to encourage the right supportive culture and behaviours;
  • Ensure that the organisation is ready to sustain the disruption; and
  • Finally, ensure that you have a top team with the right level of ambition and imagination to create the opportunity for Disruptive Talent to flourish.

The way in which we support organisations to innovate through Disruptive Talent is by offering tailored and integrated programmes to ensure that these individuals are supported in the right environment with the right approach, and that their derailers are anticipated and managed effectively. We work with HR departments and managers to provide the Disruptive Talent with the opportunity to build their leadership competence in a safe environment to maximise the chances of their success.

For more information please contact Stephanie Garforth at stephanie.garforth@oecam.com or phone our Cambridge office on +44 (0)1223 269009