Talent Development with One-Page Profiles

An idea from a book can transform your life, either by giving you a new perspective on an old idea or by giving you a brand new perspective on something brand new. One such idea is worth the time and money invested in a book.

One of the ideas that shaped my approach to talent development came from Jack Welch’s Straight from the Gut book nearly two decades ago. This idea has helped me develop my team members.

Welch suggests managers create one-page profiles for each member of their team. The top of the page should have the person’s name, a photo, and a grid assessing their potential and performance. Performance measures a person’s contribution to a project, while potential measures their competency. It’s critical to look at both. If someone lacks potential, they should be improved or fired. If an employee has potential but is underperforming, they may require coaching and training.

Below the grid, list the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. You can add accomplishments, teamwork skills, and other relevant factors in free-form text. Update this one-page plan every year to track progress.

Managers must evaluate where each team member falls on this grid and give them feedback and training plans.

I’ve been using this method for my team members since I read the book. I’m forced to evaluate everyone’s abilities and performance. The method helps identify the root cause of someone’s struggle-be it emotional issues, misunderstandings, or personal concerns-and opens up a dialogue. Knowing team members’ abilities in detail helps me grow them.

If you manage a team, try it. You and your team will benefit from it.