(4 mins read)

Recently, we participated in a celebration which is unusual and uncommon these days. We celebrated a 35 years long career of one of our friends in one company. Can you imagine… 35 years in one company and still counting? Once all the cupcakes and doughnuts disappeared from the table, we engaged in a discussion as we tried to understand what actually happened during all these years. A recipe for a long and successful career is simple. We need to find a common part between our own career aspirations and company needs.

At the beginning of the year all the attention was focused on closing performance from the previous year and setting objectives for another year. Now, when key performance management activities are over, we could focus on another, critical HR process: talent development.

All companies have got the same or similar budgets, strategies or tactics and having the best people, top talents could make a massive difference. People want to grow and develop their professional careers in the most professional way. Not  too slow but not too fast. Not too challenging but also not too easy.

A successful career is a function of three key elements:


Couple of years ago, I worked with a manager who tried to run a talent agenda without talking to people. The manager was convinced that it was possible to develop talents without talking to them to explore their career aspirations and needs. It was a disaster and a big fiasco. As a result almost all people from the team “decided to continue their professional careers” outside the organization.

A successful talent agenda requires a harmony among talent, manager and talent system.


Everything starts with people and their mindset. If you want to develop a successful career, you need to have a GROWTH MINDSET. It is all about taking full responsibility for personal development and believing in yourself. Nobody will manage it on our behalf. Having a growth mindset will open you to a challenge, which will push you to leave your comfort zone and operate there where not everything is clear and simple.

Second, a critical element is to have well defined CAREER ASPIRATIONS. If you know your career destination it will help you in taking some decisions every day. Not everything is clear and obvious immediately. Give it a bit of time and you will see that common sense and clarity will come with time. Being clear on career aspirations will help you to define a developmental plan. Without it you will not be able to grow. Well defined and specific developmental actions will support your progress and career.

Finally, you need to engage in a dialogue with a manager. Let your manager be your CAREER AMBASSADOR. You need to share all your reflections on your development, career aspirations and developmental plan. Ask the manager for feedback, comments, suggestions or a challenge. You need to be clear and precise, your manager will represent you later internally in your organization.


A key role of a manager is to develop people. EVERYONE IS A TALENT. As a manager you need to get to know career aspirations and developmental plans for every team member. It could be done by listening to employees and asking questions to clarify or to confirm that your understanding is the right one. Explore what they want to achieve in the future? What type of developmental actions have they implemented in the past? What did work and what did not? What is their personal learning style? Every detail is important as people are different.

Don’t forget to provide an open and honest FEEDBACK on everything which was shared with you. It’s your role to share with an employee a reality check.

Finally, as a manager, you need to actively PROMOTE TALENT internally. Appropriate preparations and participation in talent sessions is critical. During internal talent sessions you will be able to present individual talent profiles and answer additional questions. There will be a possibility to review a list with potential vacancies.


Future success of all talent development depends on an understanding of a TALENT SYSTEM. It’s applicable for a talent and a manager. We need to know how it works. Usually, a standard way of discussing talent is that first, we discuss potential or all talent, then we discuss developmental plans for our people  and finally, we discuss succession plans for key positions. This standard approach is working well and it will help you to develop talent in the future or identify gaps or future needs. Another key element of the talent toolbox is our knowledge and understanding of DEVELOPMENTAL TOOLS. Different developmental tools have diverse applications and efficiency. For example, participants of a graduate scheme will be supported by different development opportunities than a group of professionals with 20 years of experience. The matrix below provides you with an overview of development program efficiencies.

Finally, a simple technic, will help you to drive a successful talent agenda. Having an updated VACANCY LIST will help you to identify potential job opportunities for talent. Once you know the upcoming opening, you could also prepare key talent and help them to develop some competencies which will be critical for upcoming vacancies.

If you are interested in exploring additional information on talent, career aspirations and developmental plans click the link below.

Good luck!

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