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Transformation of Core Talent Performance

You may indeed wonder why we kept a word that frankly is over-used and poorly defined. We've kept 'Transformation' because we mean something very specific by it and we are equally clear on what it does not mean for us.

Transformation in the context of GET

Our experience tells us that business leaders such as General Counsels, Heads of Legal, managing partners and heads of department do not depend equally on all team members to deliver results for their business. The increasing number of talent development programmes testifies to this fact. Like it or not, we face the reality in most businesses of dependence on a core talent cadre. In some cases they may be part of the succession plan for the next generation of new leaders. Current leaders sometimes can easily name the people they regard as 'Stars', 'Role Models', 'Rainmakers', the 'load bearing people'. Some of them may already be in positions of leadership, some are not, perhaps you think some should be. More often than not, the business or department relies on them to inspire others, model best practice, do more and more. Our research in March 2010 with fourteen CEOs of FTSE 100 companies indicated that, these are the people who often feel nothing is ever enough and at the end of each day generally feel there is still so much more to do, so much more.

Alongside this group there may be a small number of others who are performing fairly well and demonstrate in some areas of their performance that they are able to do so much more. For some reason you're not sure of, they have not been able to make that leap into Star or Role Model performance. But something tells you they could if they had the right resourcing and development.

These two groups are the focus of our Transformation strategies and programs.

The Transformation Process

Results First

We begin with a conversation with you the business leader the aim of which is to get clear on what results you are looking for from (a) each individual and (b) from the group or cadre. Results may be outcomes you are seeking from this cadre internally such as motivating their team to get closer to the business, to be more commercial and solutions focused, to inspire their teams to really understand clients' businesses, to be better team players themselves, to take people with them while being task-focused, to help others make more efficient use of resources including time, to better communicate with their peers and build more collaborative networks across the partnership or business. Externally focused results might be better recovery of costs to the business by the legal team, decreased number and faster resolution of actions against the business, better understanding across the business of how to use Legal, increased mentoring and coaching of younger talent. Within partnerships external results might be increase in new business and client loyalty resulting in increased revenue, better management of work for higher profitability, increased innovative solutions for clients, bigger share of client's legal work, and so on.

Individuals and tipping points

Next we discuss with you what results you seek from each individual and how these outcomes align with the needs of the business and your department.  We then calculate with you what the cumulative results would be if not one or two people transform their performance but if a tipping point occurs so that a shift takes place in the department or business because this group created a shift in their own energy and performance. That is the result we seek for you.

The Program

We work in two modes, with individuals and/or groups. We believe exponential outcomes can be achieved with a group-based programme. Members of the group reinforce each other, accelerate the transformation process and reach tipping points more rapidly. The cumulative effect within a department or business resonates across other sections and creates a culture where a results focus is the way people approach work.

Step1. Personalising Vision

Building on the results-based work we have done with you we now facilitate the group and individuals to create a graphic vision of what these results would look like for them, the profile created for their teams and for them as individuals. Remember, top talent seek always to know what things mean for them, how they will look and what are the benefits.

Step 2. Owning Performance Drivers

Even top performers habitually under estimate what they can achieve once they know how to leverage all key performance drivers. In this part of the programme we explore with them the findings of neuroscience and how thoughts and emotions combine to create mood states that influence the amount of energy available at individual and group levels. Participants experiment with creating internal and external resonance and internal and external dissonance. This enables people to learn how to quickly manage their own energy and/or the climate of a group and access the creative energy available to them both within themselves and within their groups and teams. This ability to manage resonance and dissonance provides a new level of resource and energy that already transforms personal performance through renewed self-awareness, creativity and team leadership.

The second range of performance drivers are the habitual strengths of the individual and the cumulative or collective strengths of the teams they lead. Building on the results identified by the business or department leaders and translated into graphic personal and group visions, we now facilitate a robust evaluation of personal and team strengths to achieve that vision. Here our programme is seen to be different from a generic assessment of strengths and weaknesses. Focus on performance outcomes requires identifying specific competencies and levels required and assessing whether and to what extent these are currently available. Gaps then form part of the learning agenda for individuals and groups.

The third range of performance drivers are weaknesses understood as blocks to enabling transformation. These can be within individuals, teams, group and company culture, leadership, performance management, the combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and resourcing. Understood in this sense they are the variables that drive performance down, undermine motivation and need to be articulated and, where possible, converted if performance is to be transformed. BULR however honestly identifies what cannot be addressed or remedied and explores with participants the phenomenon of transcending hardship as a transformational skill.

Step 3. The Learning Agenda

Based on the work of Step 2, the individual and group learning agenda is designed actively by participants themselves. This is in stark contrast to generic programmes imposed on participants in the hope that along the way some skills are learned. The findings of research on the effectiveness of leadership and talent development programmes is disappointing in that they generally fail to deliver sustained performance transformation and are difficult to link to improved results. The cause frequently cited is that the learning takes place divorced from the business, so that while perhaps stimulating in itself, fails to deliver returns to the business.  

In designing the learning agenda in Step 3, a portfolio of learning is created which involves a combination of experiential learning through working on business projects, analyzing and resolving business issues, experience in other parts of the business, personal research such as interviewing key business players and mentors, self-reflection, peer feedback, secondments with clients and robust client feedback among others. During this period the three enabling conditions of adult learning are assured, ongoing Assessment, Challenge and Support (ACS). This shortens feedback lead-time and reinforces new learning and skills acquisition more rapidly.

Step 4 Experimentation

This is the phase during which participants progress their learning by implementing their portfolio accompanied by group and individual short-term coaching focusing on new skills, on analysis of what is going well and what is being learned from mistakes. Here the power of group feedback to individuals enables them to question their own defensiveness, observe models of alternative ways of doing things and enjoy the transforming freedom that comes from collaborative learning that becomes free of defenses. During this phase, participants are learning to use their network of closer relationships to reinforce their own development. Sharing their experiences with those closest to them at work and in family and friendships is a powerful driver of faster and sustainable learning.

Step 5 Evaluation and progression

In the evaluation phase, key stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on individuals, the group, and the programme, and to provide evidence of change and results experienced. Career Development Discussions  are encouraged between BULR facilitators, leaders in the business and participants in the programme. This reinforces transformation. Ideally, where talent or leadership programmes are being implemented for others, those on the Core Talent Transformation programme will be involved in the design, delivery and leadership of such initiatives.

Note: The BULR Core Talent Transformation programme is grounded on robust research including Strategic Leadership Development, Intentional Change Theory, Neuroscience and Behaviour, The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Performance Differentiation, Organisational Accelerated Change and Analytical Psychology.