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Leaders Letter 102 – What Is Your Talent Density?

Dear leaders, as I have said previously I still keep a coffee shot meeting open per week (aka one slot one shot), recently these conversations (in IRL or over URL) have focused on talent retention and ensuring you keep your employees happy. 

One counter I always offer is what is your talent density? 

What is the talent density pool? 
Talent Density Pool is the number of talented employees you have and how they interact, share knowledge and improve each other without any guidance.

Talent density is one of the most underrated and underappreciated elements of management and organisational design. For me, it is a key component of creating and maintaining a company culture

(Sorry a sports metaphor) Like an elite athlete, you improve by being surrounded by great people, by training with and being surrounded by better players you learn to improve your game. 

So when star players from smaller teams join “bigger teams” you often see huge shifts in their skills. Often you will hear former professional athletes say what a great step up it was.
Some later in their career will call out it was too big of a step at that time in their career.  

I have friends who move into a new role and get a buzz from the step up and increased talent density pool around them. 

Great Improvements

I firmly believe I was at my greatest when I work most closely with super-smart people. I would openly look forward to collaborating with these colleagues and even look forward to meetings with them knowing it was a chance to improve the product, service or debate actually the merits of slowing down and being more deliberate in our operational efficiencies. 

A quick story, I used to always enjoy working with the financial lead at a previous company, I used to like collaborating on being creative with forecasting (and even when we had to re-forecast (a lot)) and used to love seeing her train the team on budget management and ownership. 

I learned a huge amount from her and the bi-monthly meetings and planning sessions. 

Even in a recent project, I worked with an evolving leadership team and I really enjoyed a couple of the department heads who were from completely different fields, their knowledge, know-how and communicative skills were some of the best I have experienced and it was a joy to collaborate with them. 

When I raised this with them, they were unaware and hadn’t considered how it should raise the status quo of their management team. If others do not see it or do not get to experience this, this is a problem and needs addressing. 

Questions to consider: 

  • Do you raise your talent density when you hire? 
  • Do you consider how you could leverage a key hire? 
  • And make a statement with the hire (without adding too much pressure on them?)
  • Do you consider how you pair or create swarms to improve this? 
  • Could you benefit from management pods of dense talent to improve results and collective knowledge? 

Thanks and have a great week considering how you improve or reshuffle your pack to improve your talent density. 

Danny Denhard

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