Sometimes the best talent development examples will surprise you

Talent Development and Talent Acquisition are the two areas where I spend the bulk of my time, both personally and professionally.  I am fortunate to have a business where I am blessed to do what I do well and get paid to do it.  Some are not that fortunate, but I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to do what I do.  The “day job” here at Ryan Search & Consulting is what most people see above the surface, but an equally important and rewarding part of what I do is contained in the work I am fortunate to be a part of on Monday nights (and throughout the week) with the Career Transition Support Group at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood, TN.

Today’s post will focus more on the development side and I’ll take more of an organic approach to what we will talk about.  The word organic is one that has grow in usage and emphasis in the last two decades with the growing emphasis on healthy foods on the part of many.  Organic is also a word I use when describing the development process that many of us go through in our personal and professional lives.  We all go through multiple growing seasons in our lives.  These seasons involve a preparation, cultivation and harvesting process.  I suspect many of you can recount times in your life when you have gone through preparation, cultivation and harvest in your own careers.

The interesting thing about this process is that not all species go through the same type of process, and some of us will bloom when you least expect it.  I have a couple of examples to share from the plant world and I’ll then shift to how this might apply to the world of leadership and development.

Lycoris squamigera is also known as the Resurrection Lily or “Surprise Lily”.  This plant will grow in the springtime, die back and then miraculously reappear in the summertime with beautiful blooms that occur when you might least expect them.

Schlumbergera, or “Christmas Cactus” is a species that originates in Brazil and tends to bloom in the late fall around Thanksgiving or Christmas.  While many blooming flowers and plants show their beauty in the warmer months, this plant chooses to impress us in a less than typical time, especially for us in the northern hemisphere.

The two plants above represent plants or types that provide beauty and pleasure at times when you might least expect them to.  So too, we see others in our world who have the capacity to do the same if we only don’t give up on them.  Too often we expect all of our staff members or co-workers to go through the same cycle of development that we may have experienced on our own.  While many of us may “flower” or produce on schedule during the normal seasons of our career, there are others who will produce or hit their peak when you least expect it.

The moral to the story for today is to not assume that each and every species you have in the workplace will react and develop, or grow, on the same timetable.  Some will harvest when you expect them to, some will never produce, and still some others will take your breath away when they come forth with outstanding ideas or actions when you least expect it.

Biologists know their species when they work with them and leaders need to know their staff members too.  Don’t expect every member of your team to produce at the same time, even if you put them through the same cultivation process.  Some will bloom right on cue, but some will never do so and the final group, those we are highlighting today, will overwhelm you when you least expect it.

The second message is to never stop cultivating those around you.  While some will require more attention, some will require less, and almost all will produce some fruit if you just stick with them.