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The Leadership Olympics

It’s impressive to see the athletes excel in their events at the Olympics. It’s up to them to perform on the floor or in the pool, but they’ll be the first to admit that there are many people behind the scenes who helped get them to the world’s greatest stage. As a business leader, supporting your employees so they can be their best is a similar process. Fill your organization with world champion employees with this four step plan:

Step 1: Find the Talent

Where do people with the skills you need hang out? Think of your business as a boxing gym known for honing the skills of future champions. Establish yourself as a reputable business with the right crowd. What are you doing to convince top talent that your business is right for them? Being an honest company, an exciting company, and establishing a track record of promoting worthy employees are all essential to attracting the cream of the crop. If your top candidates are the best of the best, then other companies are also vying for their talents.

Step 2: Coach

This is the most important and most difficult step. While raw talent is a great start, it will only take you so far. True talent needs to be refined and adapted to best serve the goals of your business. You will also need to find the specific “event” at which an employee excels. If you force them into “competing” in multiple areas, they will not be able learn and excel at each. Find their true calling and help them establish faith in themselves. You can’t coach them forever, but you can teach them the skills they need to fully harness their knowledge.

Step 3: Let Them Perform

The hardest part of coaching an athlete is letting them out of the training center and into the spotlight. It’s no different with new employees, but in your world they’re playing an active role in your multi-million dollar business. It’s a scary step, but a necessary one. It takes faith in your talent assessment and training skills. It will be a smooth and happy transition if you’ve done a good job at both. It may cause pangs of nervousness, but they will eventually put your fears to rest with flawless performances.

Of course, your current employees have already been working diligently. Use their expertise to help refine your abilities in assessing and developing new talent.

Step 4: Continuous Improvement

Top executives routinely deploy multiple types of employee surveys to set baselines for engagement and satisfaction. Then, they periodically resurvey to measure the effectiveness of their improvement programs. Did you select the right talent? Coach them well? Survey research will answer those questions and many others on your way to the podium. Your business consists of many “events” so start finding and developing the best talent to compete – and win.

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