The Talent Plan is the most important plan in your organization | Talent Plan – LT: Step 5 of the Talent Planning Process

Time to read: 5 minutes

What’s the most crucial plan in your life?

What plan do you have that brings you the most significant ROI? Is it your financial plan? Health/fitness plan? Retirement plan?

What about for your business? Is it your marketing and sales plan?

I can say with almost 100% certainty that no plan will bring more ROI in your business than a Talent Plan. That’s because it enables you to proactively solve your number one challenge limiting growth: people issues.

That’s why in today’s Scoop and podcast (click here to listen), I share the steps to creating a Talent Plan for your leadership team, then each department.

You can complete this step as a standalone exercise, or if you are completing the Talent Planning Process with us, this is the step after Session #3: Talent Vision and Sprint Goals. If you missed that Scoop, click here to read.

Here’s a recap of the previous three steps/Sessions:

  • Session #1 – Team Development Exercise
  • Session #2 – Strategy
  • Session #3 – Talent Vision & Sprint Goals

What is a Talent Plan?

To create a talent plan you first need to know where you are going as a company. That is why in the Strategy, session #2, you created a Strategic & Financial Vision for your organization. The vision creates a 3-year bullseye of where you want your company to be. This leads to developing your Talent Vision which is the functional organizational structure you need by the end of your vision to achieve it.

All of this will be critical information for you–the leader–as you develop your Talent Plan. Without it, you can still gain value from creating a Talent Plan, but it will be insufficient because you are not building it with your future vision in mind.

First, let’s cover what a Talent Plan is, reinforcing why it’s essential to have a vision already established.

Your Talent Plan is the bridge that gets you from your current structure/team to your Talent Vision which includes your 3-year functional structure.

The 8 components of your Talent Plan

Now that you have a Strategic Vision and a Talent Vision, you are ready to fill out the Talent Plan template to ensure you have the right people in the right position. This is how you accelerate growth by proactively solving your people issues.

(Download our Talent Plan Template)

There are eight components in your Talent Plan.

1. Talent strengths

What is your team or department is good at? Where are you–as a team–the strongest?

What strengths does your team bring that enable you to deliver your competence and stay ahead of your competition?

2. Talent challenges/weaknesses

What are your team’s blind spots or weaknesses? What current talent challenges are you facing?

This is a critical item, as your talent plan will resolve these weaknesses.

3. High potentials we need to retain

What team members do you need to retain to achieve your vision? Without them, accelerating growth becomes significantly more difficult.

Retention is vital, and this item brings those team members that need to be retained–at all costs–to the forefront. You then focus on engaging and retaining these team members through several techniques like feeding their primary Driving Forces/Motivators.

(Click here to learn more about our Feed The Force workshop that gives team’s a repeatable process to engage and retain their team)

4. Skillset voids to achieve the vision through development or hire

What skillset gaps are you missing on the team to execute your strategy and achieve your vision?

Your skill set voids become obvious as you develop your 3-year Talent Plan to move towards your Talent Vision (3-year functional structure).

Once you identify the skill set voids, you fill them in two ways: (1) developing current team members or (2) hiring new team members. Without skillset voids, you can achieve rapid growth toward your vision.

5. Development priorities for each direct report

Now that you have identified your skill set voids, the preferred method to fill those voids is through development of your current team members.

For each direct report: (1) focus on leveraging their strengths: (2) identify the 2-3 areas of development for the individual to focus on that will bring the most value to the team and organization in achieving your vision.

6. Prioritized new hires & promotions to fill skill set voids

For this item you create a list of the prioritized new hires and internal promotions you need to make to ensure your vision becomes a reality.

This list may change as you move toward your vision and gain more clarity. By prioritizing your hires and promotions, and including it in your annual budget, you will fill the skill sets voids as you execute your talent plan.

7. Succession plans for your team

What roles will need a succession plan by the end of our vision? Whether it is someone near retirement or someone who no longer fits your Talent Vision, proactively creating a succession plan for them will benefit both you–the organization–and the team member.

8. Action plans in next sprint to execute talent plan

What action plans need to be completed in the next sprint to carry out this Talent Plan? Make sure each action plan has an owner and due date to ensure it gets completed.

How to create your Leadership Talent Plan

There are several resources to help you create your talent plan for the leadership team first, and then for each department. Those resources include the following:

  • The behavioral science results of each team member
  • The behavioral science team wheels
  • 9-box
  • 1:1 meeting with each team member

After Session 3 as you are completing your talent plan, meet with each of your direct reports to gain insight that helps you create your Talent Plan.

When the leader meets with each team member, they have a candid discussion around the following:

  • Review their behavioral science results – where can their style and strengths bring the greatest value to the organization and themselves.
  • Discuss their career goals and aspirations
  • Discuss and document their top 2-3 leadership development priorities
  • Discuss the Talent Vision and Talent Plan and get any input they have on it

After completing this for every leadership team member, you should have the information to build out your Talent Plan and finalize your current organizational structure. Once you finish it, share it with the leadership team to finalize.

Now that you have created a Talent Plan for your leadership team, the next step is to create one with each leader for their respective department.

How to create department Talent Plans

To accomplish this step, the company leader meets with each department leader and goes through the same talent planning process and template the leader just completed for the leadership team talent plan.

The talent plan is included in each department plan along with the department’s financial vision, organizational structure, and action plans to achieve the spring goals. I will cover department planning at length in an upcoming Single Scoop and podcast.

The Single Scoop

My one action item for you out of this Scoop is to download the Talent Plan template (click here to download) and begin developing your Talent Plan.

As a leader this is a significant opportunity to accelerate growth by becoming proactive in solving your people issues through a Talent Plan.

That is why a talent plan brings you more value than any other plan in your business and life.

Always remember, those who Talent Plan—PROFIT!

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