Is Your Talent Development Process Creating Winners?

talent development

This week’s story explores something every manager struggles with: talent development and avoiding turnover. There is nothing worse than putting time, energy and MONEY into new hires only to have them prove to be unsuccessful or dissatisfied with the job. Either way, they will be gone, and you will have to start over from step one. Don Hutson outlines his five stage Learning Development Model to set your employee talent development strategy up for success.

Is Your Talent Development Process Creating Winners?

by Don Hutson

L eaders are learners, and they inspire each team member to be one as well! The learning cycle is defined as the length of time that takes place between the introduction of a skill and the point at which it is internalized and effectively utilized by the team member.

Anything we can do to keep the learning cycle short will pay handsome dividends since increasing the skills of a team member puts competence on the street sooner! In order to facilitate this goal, we need to understand and use the “Learning Development Model” which has five stages…

The first is the Energized Beginner. These are the new people you have just on-boarded who are customarily excited about their new position and are eager to learn what must be done to succeed. Keep their enthusiasm high by giving them all they need to progress in a hastened manner. When they display a swift absorption rate, ramp it up a notch. If it moves too slowly they might well lose interest.

The second stage of the model is the Reluctant Novice. Do not be alarmed, but it is often the case that after an introduction to stage one, some beginners experience a bit of reluctance and can start thinking that the business is more complicated than they had anticipated. What they need from you is encouragement, assistance, and advice. Let them know that this is normal and work with them to progress.

The third stage in the model is the Tentative Performer. Now they are starting to get it! Here is where we encourage the “Practice, Drill and Rehearse” exercise. That will help them move more quickly to the next stage.

The fourth stage is the Competent Producer. For example, if they are in sales, this is the point at which they have become knowledgeable enough about your product or service to perform without constant oversight in the marketplace. They have demonstrated the capability to get it done. Stay with them as they need your counsel.

The fifth stage in the model is the Internalized Professional. These people are near or at the mastery level. It usually takes some time to get there, but your appropriate utilization of the Learning Development Model will increase the probability that they will become a high-level performer sooner.

Their reflex actions and verbalizations are on time and on point. Their demonstrated confidence impresses their prospects and they know what to do to get results. We have probably all had the experience of losing a sale, and when driving away we realize within two minutes what we should have said instead of what we did say that would have cemented the deal!

Jim Kleeman and I made a number of appearances together some years ago. At one meeting in Chicago, he was proclaiming the importance of training to the audience of entrepreneurs. He was interrupted by an audience member who said “Jim, what if I spend a lot of time and money training my people and they LEAVE?” Jim went down into the audience right up to the man and said, “What if you don’t and they STAY!” Everyone laughed but made notes – they got it.

The Learning Development Model offers you the proven pathway to always be fine-tuning your training and talent development process. When you use it as your constant guide, you will be a more successful leader because you will have a more successful team!


talent development
Follow Don Hutson

Don Hutson’s careers in speaking, management and sales have brought him many honors. He successfully worked his way through the University of Memphis, graduating with a degree in Sales. After becoming the #1 salesperson in a national training organization, he established his own
training firm and was soon in demand as a professional speaker.

Don’s client list includes over two-thirds of the Fortune 1000, and he is featured in over 100 training films. He is CEO of U.S. Learning, Chairman of Executive Books, and makes some 75 speaking appearances per year. Perhaps you have seen him on national television where he has been featured on both PBS and Fox News.

He is the author or co-author of twelve books, including The Sale, and his two Wall Street Journal and New York Times International best sellers, The One Minute Entrepreneur and The One Minute Negotiator.


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