conversation-1468158_640As artist Linda Lamb once said “One good conversation can shift the direction of change forever.

I believe we can change the world one conversation at a time. Which one? The one we’re in right now. Too often, business is so caught up in achieving bottom-line growth that people are inadvertently treated as brains-on-sticks. Their humanity an irrelevance, sometimes even a nuisance. If only they would focus on their work instead of bringing their messy lives to the office. It just gets in the way of delivery!

What if we accepted that people will always bring their whole selves to work? What if we became curious about this, instead of irritated? What if truly understanding employees gave leaders clues on how to develop, place, motivate, retain and incentivise them? What if this led to increased levels of engagement and performance all round?

Talent Management requires a different kind of conversation. One where performance is only a part of the picture. Where future potential – encompassing the full gamut of leadership skills, readiness, aspiration and engagement – is at the core. One where leader and employee interact in a way that allows a deeper level of interaction and personal disclosure than previously experienced.

We’ve found that most people, leaders and employees alike, lack the skills required for these kinds of conversations. These include the usual basket of establishing rapport; active listening; reflection; questioning; feedback. These are all easily learned, and completely meaningless unless accompanied by authenticity. “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen, truly seen.”― Brené Brown

For leader and employee, an unintended positive outcome of allowing themselves to be truly seen is that they show up as their real selves. This enables connection as fellow human beings, whether we’re focusing on change, talent, performance feedback, engagement, development options, coaching or personal relationship building. I believe this makes relationships deeper, partnerships more meaningful, and results more sustainable.

We’re teaching our clients that authentic conversations, underpinned by genuine curiosity, are the key to unlocking their talent, and transforming their organisations.