In a world of rapidly changing technology and more data and information available than ever before, making decisions about what to do with data can be hard and perhaps even daunting. I am hardly surprised that sometimes clients as well as researchers seem baffled by where to start. At Talent Plus ®, we partner with our clients to collect and dig into all kinds of data – individual talent profiles, team talent composition, engagement and job performance, to name a few. Our job is to address and solve problems central to our clients’ interests. If you yourself and collectively as a research team want to get to this point with your clients, you have to avoid the pitfall of never-ending analyses, overwhelmingly massive data files and seemingly disparate findings. The danger is that these pitfalls can emerge from research endeavors lacking guidance and a clear framework. My answer in these situations is perhaps overly simplistic, but follows something I believe to my core: researchers need to channel their collective energies to focus on what matters most to the client. No amount of data is too great once the group’s focus is narrowed and the approach is tailored to produce as much knowledge as possible about what you agree to study. Great data scientists and researchers know that not every tool to use is a hammer, and not every problem is a nail. So how do you get to this point where you can engage in analytics that matter most to you, and know your research team does not see everything as a nail?

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Who’s responsible for developing the leaders of your organization’s future? Recent research from DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast suggests that 2/3 of organizations have programs in place for identifying and developing high-potential leaders and that in 85% of those organizations senior management is responsible for identifying and developing those individuals. But it’s a tricky needle to thread for a senior management team. Four key questions help. Who? How many? How? Why?

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Let’s start with this premise:

Without the right talent, all bets are off on sustainable growth and profitability for any organization.

Singapore buys into that premise and, over the next five years, will be doubling down on talent development as a critical driver for the country’s continued economic growth.

As Singapore celebrates 50 years of independence in 2015, the country’s leaders are looking ahead. They plan to provide SkillsFuture Credits for every Singaporean that never expire and to add regularly scheduled “top-ups” to fund periodic development infusions. Individuals can use these credits to pay for the learning and development opportunities of their choice. Singapore’s investment will be huge. They plan to spend an average of over $1 billion per year over 5 years to implement the full package of SkillsFuture measures.

Singapore’s strategy for ensuring continued growth and economic development for the next 50 years is to invest in talent development. How will they get the best return on that investment?

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Cruising down the side of a mountain at a screaming pace, I was feeling rather confident in my mountain biking abilities. Until I realized my brakes went out…completely out. At this point, I began to scream along with my screaming bike down the path. I then noticed a large log up ahead. I kept thinking to myself, “Don’t hit that log. Don’t hit that log...whatever you do, do NOT hit that log.” Then….BAM! That’s exactly what I hit, and I hit it hard.

I’m sure you’ve all had similar experiences and can relate to this well-known phenomenon.

You steer where you stare!

What has your attention in your career?

What are you fixated on?

Where you spend your time focusing is inevitably the direction you will go.

Do you spend your time thinking about those pesky traits that are a struggle for you in hopes of “fixing” yourself or to improve in some way? Or do you spend your time doing more of the things you love and can’t seem to get enough of?

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In today’s world of rapid advances in technology and product development, a leader’s attention is justifiably drawn to understanding and implementing the details associated to these advances.

The attention a leader could otherwise devote to team members frequently diminishes to a point that the relationship between a leader and his/her team members erodes. The more a leader attends to management, the less he or she can devote to leading team members. Yet a leader’s team represents the engine and drives positive change and advances. A leader must decide if it is wiser to focus upon technology changes and product development or more important to lead his/her team members through strong relationships and mentoring. Leaders should reflect upon and determine if their time and energy is more aligned to things or team members. If it is things, perhaps the leader is more of a manager than a leader.

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