New Talk to Inspire the New Walk

Getting people to walk a new walk may mean you need to talk a new talk.

Talent management is all about getting people to envision and step into more of their potential. Sometimes that’s a tough sell. Particularly when people are pretty happy doing what they’re doing. While it may seem like a no-brainer to you that people need to keep upping their game, it’s not always obvious to others why upgrading their capabilities really matters. 

It’s risky to change how you show up in the world, since you’re not sure how others will perceive the “new and improved” you.  People don’t want to look silly, or soft, or weird in any way. They want to be perceived as being confident, competent professionals. That’s not always easy when they’re stretching into new territory.

There are a few things to keep in mind when inspiring others to take the risks needed to realize more of their potential:

Illuminate the danger of the status quo.

The bar for acceptable performance continues to rise for most people. It used to be you could get by sticking with the same old skills. That won’t cut it any more. People are falling behind faster and faster these days. Sometimes you have to help people see that the risk of not changing is higher than making change.

Emphasize the Benefits that Matter to Others

You might be wildly excited about taking on a new challenge, but that’s not true of everyone. Listen to understand what others truly value, and express the benefit of doing things differently in ways that appeal to whatever matters most to the person you’re hoping to inspire into action. If they value safety, show them how they can make the change as easily as possible. If they’re looking for advancement, highlight how the new capabilities will showcase well when promotions are considered.

Paint the Picture of Success

Help people envision what they will be able to do differently as a result of their efforts. Use specific behavioral descriptions that enable people to literally see – and feel – the benefits they will derive from their new abilities. Focus on how the changes will relieve the major pain points that are most significant for them.

Make it Look Easy

People won’t change unless they believe they will be successful. So show them how the desired outcome can be attained with minimal risk. It helps if you listen to hear what’s concerning the person the most, then offer stories, resources, coaching, and step-by-step plans that make significant change feel like it’s doable.

Perhaps inspiring the less inspired is a stretch opportunity for you as a talent management or change management professional.  How will you inspire yourself to take the risk and talk this new talk?

Dianna Anderson, MCC

CEO, Cylient


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