The C,F,E's of Talent Management

Eric Frankel

My eleventh-grade son has the ability, the intellect, and the Competency to get better grades, but lacks consistency in his Focus and Effort. This concept of C, F & E when applied to talent management is a real eye-opener.

C represents Competency, a term more appropriate for business professionals than a 17-year-old. If an employee, consultant or vendor is incompetent get rid of them…quickly.

Competency leads to respect and collaboration.

F is Focus
, the ability to be highly engaged in the situation, conversation and task at hand. No one is focused 24/7, but an executive must be focused when it come to his or her vision and the communication required for effective execution. A manager had better be focused when it comes to mentoring and developing their underlings. A production worker must be focused to keep injuries and quality at acceptable levels. A sales professional must be focused on every prospective and existing customer to provide solutions, identify new revenue opportunities and garner goodwill for future referrals.

Focus leads to innovation and motivation.

E stands for Effort.
Effort is about responsiveness, enthusiasm, the contributor who brings his or her A-game every day. The intangible player who puts functional and organizational success first, knowing their own recognition will come. When combined with high grades in Competency and Focus, these employees are the mid and high potentials who stand out eager to learn, to meet new people and mostlikely to succeed.

Effort leads to productivity and success.
You can have Effort without a real Focus. Consider driving a car, riding a bike or boredom in a conversation at hand; just "going through the motions." Creative juices stymied. How about the teacher, accountant or administrative assistant waiting for the day to end, longing for that something not yet identified, but gets them through each week, month and year?

Competency without Focus and Effort leads to frustration, those psychologically depredating, high-stress scenarios where you have an employee with potential, but you have ultimately no control over their performance. You need to confront these situations head on.

In some scenarios, Competency without Focus or Effort represents opportunity. Improving focus may be predicated on hands-on managerial oversight, real-world business experience, maturity, less sensitivity; these can be coachable scenarios when the overall potential and work product is acceptable.

There are exceptions on an individual basis. For example, you may have a recently promoted production supervisor having a difficult time getting past friendships to be an effective manager. This person has a highly likable personality and is great with customers. So they are not Competent as a supervisor, but they are Focused and do deliver Effort. Give them a shot in sales instead; a recent client of mine transitioned a repair supervisor to field sales based upon our recommendation. He has risen to number one (out of 12) in just six months.

Effective talent management requires ongoing assessment and evaluation of Competencies, Focus and Effort. Think about your C,F, & E’s every day to invest in and grow individual contributors, to create internal and external goodwill, and to become an employer of choice where your talent acquisition, talent development and talent management efforts are top of mind and producing a rich ROI.