Talent Development & Customer Intimacy

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The following guest post is by Mark Slotnik of McMann & Ransford.

As I stated in my last post, talent is always important and is one of the key drivers of the Customer Intimacy Engine™. Your people will constantly be generating new ideas for True Solutions™, taking those ideas to your customers and delivering on the promises made. And let's not forget that these teams are also accountable for developing account intimacy. Therefore, most companies going to the Intimacy model make developing talent one of their key initiatives because in an Intimacy based business, the skills required to sell ideas, deliver projects, and develop account intimacy are different from traditional product and service company skills.

When considering talent development programs, most people ask, "Can we just get the few online courses we need to add to our existing curriculum?" and/or "We already have extensive product and technical training - isn't that enough?"

That's like playing the game of horseshoes such that close enough is still good enough to score and potentially win. So yes, both of these are important and useful but they are components of a well crafted program.

The talent base requires a mix of skills to yield well-rounded personnel to drive success as they progress in the intimacy model and their career:

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In general, I find companies to have a very good handle on the Technical side of the equation. In addition, many people obtain their domain knowledge through their interactions with customers (i.e. the customer trains them). Where most if not all fall short is on the specific development of skills necessary for customer intimacy - those that are most closely associated with professional services skills, or "soft skills".

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Successful talent development programs also incorporate the principles of adult learning. If you are like me, you no longer absorb/learn like a sponge all of the new, complex teachings like we did in school by sitting and paying attention in class (and we all did that, right?). Adult learning requires more than webinars and training guides - a successful talent program includes coaching, mentoring, training and self improvement to fully enable your teams for success. People must be given the opportunity to:

•    Participate in an intellectual forum to ask questions, share examples and learn from others
•    Try their new skills in a safe environment
•    Implement the new skills supported by experienced coaches
•    Demonstrate successful adoption

As I stated in my previous blog entry, most companies going to the Intimacy model make developing talent one of the key initiatives. Why? Customer intimacy driven companies benefit by improving their customer's business outcomes and additionally, more than most other business models, value knowledge. Developing talent benefits your company by accelerating learning of skills and abilities within the organization. It benefits your teams by making their work experience a positive one, and by helping them to reach their full potential.

Remember, in a Customer Intimacy business, the individual's success is the company's success. The company that provides the framework to develop its employees is the one that succeeds in the marketplace. And while the company provides the framework to develop your employees, in the end it is a shared responsibility, as the individual must take the initiative to ensure his/her success.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dean McMann published on February 8, 2011 10:41 PM.

Customer Intimacy is not Engagement was the previous entry in this blog.

The CEO and Customer Intimacy is the next entry in this blog.

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