How to Identify and Grow Talent

How to Identify and Grow Talent

Last month I attended one of the free monthly webinars offered by Olsen Thielen through EBITDA Partners and I heard a presentation by Vikas Narula from Keyhubs.  He made a very compelling case that management only promotes the right person from the perspective of peers and subordinates 30% to 40% of the time.  That is a great hitting percentage for a professional baseball player, but not for identifying and developing the best candidates for technical team leads or any level of management for firms that want to truly be leaders.  Think of the ramifications. What would happen if you could do this all the time?  If you could promote the right person all the time or provide the appropriate training, mentorship and coaching for those candidates that could be a leader in the future with appropriate help wouldn’t your organization be that much better?

How does Keyhubs work?   They have developed software and services based on principles of organizational and social analysis to uncover the hidden relationship dynamics and reveal the self-organizing nature of groups.  Knowing this information, companies can be in a much better position to:

Identify and grow talent; (Check out diamonds in the rough and land mines along the way.)

Identify the silos to boost cooperation; and (Check out how integrating three business units into one department could be evaluated in the right way.)

Leverage key influencers to help drive change. (Check out how Keyhubs found the three people to implement change at Thrivent – The executives had no idea beforehand who the influencers were.)

This is data driven.  Having watched this presentation by Vikas Narula I thought to myself, this is a great way for firms that are considering promoting one of a few individuals for a management or technical position to find out what subordinates and peers really think, to identify various “clicks” within their departments that may not be readily apparent, and to make sure and bring on board the key influencers regardless of job title into change management. 

Given this information I followed up last week and met with Vikas Narula at a coffee shop in Minneapolis.  We had a great discussion.  We learned that we both are into learning, sharing what we have learned and trying to bring our clients to a better place.  Returning to my office I went on line and did some more research from their web site.  You can read three articles about the positive impact Keyhubs is making in Forbes, Upstart Business Journal, and Twin Cities Business Magazine.  

The pictorials in the Twin Cities Business Magazine depicts a couple of the actual charts from a typical analysis.  From the first pictorial in Twin Cities Business Magazine it is possible to see who the employees trust the most for help by the size of the circle (largest circle) and who has the most interconnections by which circles are located near the center of the first pictorial.  In the second pictorial you can see regardless of where someone sits in the organization chart, who has the most influence on other employees by the size of the circle.  If you are going to make some changes in the organization you really need to make sure you have on board the folks with the largest circles, because these are the individuals that will influence change.  By bringing them on board you should have a much better chance of acceptance by other employees.

Given what to me is a new tool that I think can be a very positive influencer towards helping make better decisions going forward, I wanted to share this with you too. Keep this in mind for yourself or for a firm that does not just want to be better, but wants to indeed be a leader.  Developing and promoting the right people, promoting more collaboration between silos and ensuring the influencers are on board will improve the bottom line, improve employee satisfaction and improve customer satisfaction.   Using this tool is a win-win for any organization.

I am not being paid to make this commentary.  Instead I had a real “eureka” moment and thought you may find this of interest for you, your firm or your clients.  Sharing neat ideas goes a long way towards building better relationships. Please share this with others that you think may find this of interest too. 

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]