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Talent Dynamics RSS Feed Blog Archive: November 2011

Michelle’s November news

I was told recently by a client that my news reads like a ‘smug diary of my glamourous travels’ Well, this month is no exception!

I’m writing this from my hotel room in Tokyo where I am running the first ever Japanese PC Accreditation here, with our Master License Holder, Tamami. We have got a group, of very cool, Performance Consultants in training and the whole workshop is being delivered in Japanese – well, the bits i’m delivering are being translated!

We also took the opportunity this week to run another Taster Session at the British Embassy here in Tokyo, where we already found some great new partners for the next Accreditation workshop in Japan in March!

If you are interested to know wether being a Talent Dynamics Performance Consultant would add value to your current role and company, we have some great, limited attendance webinars coming up for you to find out much more. To find out how to register yourself or someone you think would benefit for one of these webinars, please drop me a line. asking for more details.

Have a fabulously Flow filled month ahead!


PS Please look out on next month’s news, for details of how you can be the first to register for the amazing opportunity in January, with the new Talent Dynamics for Sales materials!

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Unas spotlight: Strengths vs Waste Soapbox

Though I’m a very positive person, today I feel the need to get on my soapbox about the money and time that is wasted on training and development trying to fix peoples weaknesses. Why is it that people can know something intellectually and yet not act on it? How many people are out there in organisations that know that it is better to focus on and develop people’s strengths but don’t actually do it?

Research has shown that when people spend too much time working in their areas of weaknesses they are likely to burn out over time. A key source of stress is people not working in their flow. From a Talent Dynamics perspective what I mean by flow is somebody being on their path of least resistance, where they are doing what they are naturally good at and really adding value helping others to be more effective. When people are out of flow they often find the work more challenging, it usually takes them longer to do and is likely to be of a lower quality.

Here in lies what I call ‘the curse of competency’. This is where people have the ability to do an activity, even though it isn’t an area of strength and usually would be done much better by somebody else. Often this task or activity will repeatedly crop up in appraisals as a point to work on.

Yet when training and development budgets are spent on developing people’s strengths and their associated skills then you can anticipate a much higher return on investment. Development doesn’t stop just because you have discovered somebody’s strengths and areas of flow! You can now be much more focused and discriminatory about where you invest.

You can bet that your employees will not want to waste their time acquiring knowledge or learning skills that will take them out of flow either. Being in flow often taps into their inner motivation and means that they have much more fun at work too, which will increase retention of your best performers.

So what can you do today about this? Well if you’re responsible for training and development budgets, see if you can get to the bottom of poor performance. Is it really a lack of skills or knowledge, or is the person out of flow? If they’re out of flow then no amount of development is going to help them very much. You simply can’t develop what isn’t there in the first place…

Instead look to work with them and their line manager to tweak their accountabilities. What do they love doing? Where do they think they can really add value? Sometimes it’s just about letting them do something in the way that suits them and their strengths. Teach them the strategies that work best for their strengths and watch their performance soar.



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Creating a Vortex of Flow

Roger HamiltonWhat is the paradigm shift that 21st Century companies have taken, that enables them to outperform their rivals? Talent Dynamics generates power in team through trust and flow, and the creator of Talent Dynamics, Roger Hamilton uses the metaphor of the river which comes up often. Here are three different levels at which power can literally be drawn from a river, and what we can learn from them:

The Water Mill: The water mill has a water wheel that turns with the flow of the river. They date back to the Greeks and lasted through to the Middle Ages. You don’t see many of them anymore, as there is very little leverage in this system. If the river is slow, the wheel moves slowly. Many companies operate in the same way. They only flow at the pace of the market. When the market slows, so does business. Today, few companies can survive by simply opening their doors and waiting for customers, and most have lost out over the last 30 years to businesses in the second power paradigm:

The Dam: Why be limited by the flow of the river, if you can artificially hold up water flow, and then drop the water from a great height? It was with the advent of reinforced concrete in the 1800’s that dams could be built to leverage several 100 times more power than the traditional water mill. In a dam, falling water is forced through turbines with constant force, regardless of changes in the flow of the river. The industrial age corporation with its marketing and delivery channels, barriers to entry and sales funnels operated like dams, controlling and channelling flow. They were able to spin out more power and profit by keeping to a rigid structure. This paradigm is now failing, as rivers and market flow have fragmented and are far harder to capture. This is where the third power paradigm is taking over:

The Vortex: Roger Hamilton relates his experience at the Green School in Bali: “We are taking the Green School off the grid. We’re installing solar panels to power the school, and the latest technology in hydro-power, a river vortex. While dams cause major environmental damage, a vortex only needs a small height drop to work. Water is channelled into a circular structure which makes it spin as it drops, and this water vortex drives a turbine with 8 to 12 times the power of water that falls from the same height.” The most successful companies today work more like a vortex than a dam. Customers step in, and experience multiple touch points that continually heighten their trust in the company. Connection points are more frequent and faster paced. While a dam controls a customer until they escape, a vortex delights a customer and keeps them engaged for far longer. This is the future of hydro-power, and this is the future of business. This value vortex is a natural outcome of Talent Dynamics.

“In a value vortex, there is spiral of service and leadership that reinforces the promise and culture of the enterprise with every spin. All information and experience loops back and builds on itself. This system is far more powerful than the traditional ‘production line’ paradigm and, like a spinning top, it is far more sustainable and balanced.” – Roger James Hamilton


Jans Corner: Turning Talent into Genius

Albert Einstein said that “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Genius stands out it in any business yet rarely do we see that genius is widely experienced and witnessed in everyday work. When I work with teams and watch life unfold in enterprises, much more often do I see “fish” being criticised and condemned for poor tree climbing or encouraged to try harder. Admittedly, even the fishiest fish, when provided with a sweet enough carrot and hard enough stick, will think that climbing is the way to go to make it or at least survive at work.

As a result, genius is killed before it can even see the world and the most of creative and productive potential as well as aliveness of ingenious people during a good half of their waking hours is wasted.

Smart companies – big or small – hate to waste any form of talent. They like their squirrels on the trees and fish in the water. The put the Ferrari on the race track (or Autobahn) and the Landrover in the rugged terrain. They will put their diamonds on exhibition and their gravel in foundations. By unleashing talent they allow genius to show up.

Still, everyone has a talent but rarely do we see genius at work. How do we turn on the genius gene in an apparently average individual?

Here are four pointers:

1. Discovering the talent:  It starts with believing that gold is hidden in everyone and continuing looking for it. Nowadays there are numerous methods and tools to make it easier and faster to pinpoint individual talents and often times even basic curiosity, observation and inquiry can go a long way. Discovering one’s talent can be very liberating experience.

2. Understanding the talent: Any talent needs to be understood for the value it brings to the venture and the team. What exactly can we do better, faster, cheaper, more enjoyably as a result of having someone with this talent. In most instances when we peel the onion we can see the value that individuals talents bring to the table and become not just liberating but exciting – for everyone. Work can be both easier, more productive and fun.

3. Developing the talent: When the value of someones talent is well understood the next step is to create opportunities for it to be developed and used. Projects and accountabilities can be designed around making the best out of talents so that the value can be practically used. In practice, this often is a matter of focus and courage. Focus to keep the fish in the water and courage to allow it to swim, even if the first instance is a small fish tank.

4. Effectively engaging the talent: Finally, talent turns into genius when it is effectively given to empower others and directed to fulfil a larger worthwhile purpose. This is about vision and commitment. The Apollo XY landed on the moon on XX August1968 out of a commitment to a bold vision and as a result of genius of thousands of individuals at work for a decade. There is nothing more stimulating and satisfying then bringing our best to something really great! This is when talent turns into real genius and when everything flows naturally.

The good news is that both team leaders and team members, employers and employees, can participate in the process and take responsibility to make genius happen. Discovering, understanding, developing and effectively engaging everyone’s talent is a win-win for everyone.

And the real opportunity to create genius at work is about creating a game worth playing – exciting, challenging, meaningful and one that make a real difference… not just increases the bottom line.

Whether you are an executive leader, HR manager, or employee behind a desk I’m sure you can rise your game today. Are you up for it?


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Talent Dynamics featured in the Blackpool Gazette

Michelle has just been interviewed by the Blackpool Gazette for an article in their newspaper. Click on the following link to view the aritcle –  New territories for training firm



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