You know the book is good when my inclination is to simply and literally reproduce as much of it as I can in a blog post and say “First, read this excerpt … Second, buy the book and read some more … Third, Go live out what you have read.”
Yes, Talent Mindset: The Business Owner’s Guide to Building Bench Strength by Dr. Stacy Feiner is just that well-written and useful. For starters, I found seven PAGES of useful quotes from this book as I read it. The ability to clearly and directly explain concepts is not a natural state for all authors, but Dr. Feiner has the gift.
“Self-awareness is a critical first step to launching Strategic Talent Management – we’re talking about the capacity to acknowledge your impact and influence on others and the environment.”
Early on, Dr. Feiner nails the business owner by emphasizing the importance of self-awareness. Owners and leaders who believe they can influence from afar or remain aloof from the machinery of their business will be challenged to think differently about how they impact employees and the business. Even a decision to be “hands-off” has impact.
The book is organized so that you first get a good feel for the entire process of Talent Management. The point is made early on that Talent Management has nine distinct, but interlocked elements which Stacy describes as Centers of Excellence, which she organizes carefully into three “corridors”: Acquisition, Development, and Deployment.
I have not experienced a clearer description of the people management process …
Dr. Feiner then goes into rich detail, not about how to actually do each element, but what we should be trying to achieve in those elements and how it all fits together. Her examples are carefully chosen, not to be duplicated, but to illustrate the points she makes about the goals for each element.
“Training is an enterprise-wide campaign that sets the tone for your expectations of employees’ performance … creating an environment where interactive, progressive learning happens.”
Sharing what ought to drive our decisions at each point is more valuable to most of us than the prescriptive approach taken by some other business titles, where we are told to do what apparently worked at another organization, usually a much bigger one.
My experience is that even the best ideas have to be adapted somewhat to your unique organizational situation. The trick is to do so without surrendering to the current culture, which will resist change. Dr. Feiner gives us powerful help to accomplish this.
I made three big mistakes while reading this book:
1) I assumed that, since the subtitle aims directly at business owners, I would find little value in the pages. I was wrong …
This is a book about how to do every important element in the people process for a business. While it aims at middle-sized companies and their owners/leaders, I believe that even very small and very large businesses will learn valuable perspectives and practices which they can use.
2) I thought this book was just about the process of finding and developing people. I was wrong …
Talent Mindset does cover the process of Talent Development very well, but goes on to outline a business leader philosophy which goes way beyond just talent. Like other truly valuable titles, this one looks at the topic from a strategic viewpoint and moves from being a “How To” to a “Why Do This” approach.
3) I focused on the Talent Development section, since I live in the world of Training, Performance Management, and Leadership Development, while assuming the other sections would be of little nterest to me. I was wrong …
Based on a quick skim, I would have been just as pleased with the other two major sections on Selection and Employee Engagement. Probably little in this book is really new to those of us who have worked in organizations, but Dr. Feiner clearly shows us how the process can work and the connections between those nine centers as we gain, grow, and help employees succeed
Coaching is integral to the Leadership Development process because we need the foundation and beams from a practiced professional to rise up. Coaching is also crucial to this Center of Excellence, and the entire Strategic Talent Management continuum, because the process requires such deep, personal reflection that we can’t expect to do this in an honest fashion without some outside perspective. It requires a coach; someone who will rigorously challenge the status quo, provoke self-examination, and provide the business analysis tools to create a stronger, more sustainable culture that becomes a breeding ground for uncommon talent. (p. 120)
This book emphasizes coaching throughout for the business owner and leader, but especially in the area of leadership development. That one point alone is enough to convince me that once again, a book can provide value and help you grow as a leader.
“The Strategic Talent Management process is not complicated, but it does require sweat equity.”
If you care about making your Talent Management system drive the business success of your organization while also meeting employee needs and addressing core business challenges, you will read and use Talent Mindset to make your desires into reality.
Loving this addition to my working library in the Heartland ….
Disclaimer: Received preview copy of this book. Loved it anyway.
Dr. Stacy Feiner is an executive coach for the middle market. Stacy brings psychological strategies to business owners helping them improve their performance, advance their organizations, and achieve the success they want and deserve.
Stacy addresses complex dynamics within owner-operated companies, family businesses, management teams and boards. Her methodology solves people problems, clearing the way for driving strategy, growing profitability, and eventually transitioning to the next generation.
Dr. Feiner earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Illinois School for Professional Psychology, MS from Northeastern University, and BA from Hobart & William Smith Colleges. Stacy is a licensed psychologist, executive coach, author and national speaker.