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You’ve got talent, but do you know how to use it?

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Everyone has a talent, be that juggling, singing, dancing, writing or…. leading or managing projects… Doesn’t sound as exciting as getting the ‘Golden Buzzer’ on Britain’s Got Talent or winning a BAFTA does it? However, the importance can be far greater.

I can almost hear the red buzz of murmurs and groans, and see the collective rolls of eyes as I attempt to even make a comparison between projects and talent, however, I honestly believe there is a place for this likeness.

We all need a level of understanding of where we are in our journey within our careers; be that through ‘putting ourselves out there’ in front of an audience or assessing our capability, we all need that affirmation and feedback from time to time. This helps us stay focused on the path to our ambition.

What point is she trying to make? I hear…

The point is that every sports team, music band or orchestra is made up of individuals who are there to fulfil a specific role. They may be motivated differently as individuals or come from very diverse backgrounds bringing their own experiences, however, working together they achieve a united goal, sound or outcome.

Individuals and teams can only improve and move forward together if they are consistently assessed, given feedback and supported though coaching, mentoring and great leadership, so they evolve both personally and collectively.  

Projects work in a similar way through a clear understanding of the collective end, milestones, clearly defined and understood roles, responsibilities/accountabilities and never forgetting the plan… we all love a plan don’t we?

If only it were that simple. Just like most things, where people are involved there is complexity… we all know and understand the need to play our part, work collaboratively, communicate well, manage issues and risks in order to achieve the right outcomes, but is that always the case? Most project managers know and have experiences that don’t reflect this utopia I outline. So if there is one certainty, it’s that the project plan will need to change, somewhere along the line costs will differ, motivations will moderate and you must deal with complexities or answer difficult questions from other stakeholders or the sponsor. In truth, many project managers would be more concerned if everything felt seemingly easy and straightforward.

Understanding your talent pool as an organisation or your own level of knowledge and experience as individuals not only helps you resource your projects well, through aligning the right level of project manager or programme manager to the needs of the programme, but can also help you plan capability development interventions that accelerate and create a well-balanced team of professionals, who can support each other through self-sustaining communities of practice.

CITI’s ‘Orchestrating Talent’ programme is a journey into capability development using our long-standing capability assessments which are online and based on knowledge, approach, skills (interview-based questions) and experience (KASE).

You receive instant reporting based on the assessment completed and this provides a snapshot of strengths and areas for improvement compared against other project managers (over 40,000 assessed to date within varying industry sectors). Informed choices can then be made on what competences need to be developed and how we can support and help you to understand what your talents are, explore where your talent can be refined and prepare you for a bigger stage.

Organisations can also benefit from data led decision making on where their community thrives and discover the gaps that ought to be filled to ensure a robust community is being nurtured with the ‘right’ learning interventions rather than a one size fits all approach. These assessments can also complement behavioural and leadership type assessments to identify leaders and early adopters within your community.

It's vital to understand talent, and as someone with a keen interest in leadership development, coaching, change and projects, I have witnessed far too often ambitious plans and strategy that have not been executed well. Commonly, this is through a mismatch in resourcing or understanding rather than technical know-how or ambition. Data led development is something that CITI have led on for many years, it’s how we bring together the technical elements of projects and programmes with the humanistic side of leadership and management.

LIsten to my talk on capability assessments at the APM Think Differently event, available on demand soon

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