In my post of a few weeks back I made a passionate plea to let go of linear and traditional approaches to change. Instead I proposed to tap into the cognitive surplus of the target group that has to change. How? By arranging with - top - management for them to be allowed to experiment, help build the tools, processes and procedures and so grow into their role. One very practical way to do this, is by setting performance targets as learning targets for one year. For all intents and purposes these targets look exactly the same, the key difference is that they’ll only be used in appraisals to assess progress on learning, not on performance.

It seems that working and learning have become two separate worlds. Conference and training centers are fully booked with people that go off-the-job to learn something that they have to apply on-the-job. This learning transfer is impossible, unfortunately, as neuro-science shows us.

For every assignment I take on advising on integrated talent management we set business targets that it should help achieve. Often increasing the ratio of homegrown vs. recruited talent in key positions is stated as a target to aim for. The reasons are clear, on the one hand, recruitment is costly, and on the other, not very sustainable. Simply recruiting junior talent with five years of experience can cost upwards of 20.000 Euro and this amount ‘skyrockets’ to twice annual salary for C-suite level leaders. The sustainability factor is even more striking: talent that’s recruited for higher management levels frequently leaves within 18 months. No matter how strong their earlier performance, the culture-factor clips their wings.

What if we wouldn’t recruit, but incruit?