How Do You Manage Outrageous Talent?

How Do You Manage Outrageous Talent?


Why learning from the masters in people management is important:  How do you manage outrageous talent?

In a series of articles over the coming months, we intend to explore a number of challenges that all organizations face and based on our work there are some key strategies that can be learnt from top football managers and coaches.

In all organisations, there is the ever-present challenge of managing and maximizing the contribution that can be delivered by your most talented employees. We like to call these employees or players outrageous talent. Whether you’re managing a Premier League football team or a complex multinational organisation, the issues are the same.

These employees are the difference between a good and a great organization and as such our key business leaders need to understand how to work with these employees for the benefit of the employees themselves, the teams within which they work, the organization and the clients.

Many organizations, we have come across have talent management programmes in place but how effective are they in dealing with this challenge?

As an important aspect of this process, it is also important for the business manager to understand whether they need to recruit some outrageous talent into their team whether on a permanent or interim basis and some critical thinking and help in this area to identify this outrageous talent for inclusion would be necessary.

At the outset of working with some of our clients when we mention this challenge, there is often recognition and a nodding of the head closely followed by a comment like “we have some folks like these but are at a loss how we can incorporate them successfully into our business”.

To begin with, the business leader must be trained to understand what motivates their top employees and thus this will help incorporate these team members into the team and their business. Without the manager’s ability to complete this task a number of consequences may occur:

  1. The employee becomes disillusioned and leaves the organization for one that more closely meets their needs – this has a dramatic effect on the whole organization in a number of ways
  2. The employee stays and feels disillusioned and becomes a negative influence in the business – this also has a dramatic effect on the business
  3. All people in the business see this as a failure of management to lead the business successfully

Clearly, the very best football managers and coaches know how to do this and unlike many of their peers in business, work very closely on a daily basis with this top talent. It is obvious when this has worked well and painfully obvious when it has not – the fact that most of us do not work in the gaze of the public eye does not mean that the effects are any less dramatic.

We would therefore urge all organizations to have a clearly defined outrageous talent strategy to maximize effectiveness. If you are a leader of a business, are you actively seeking out this talent?