Talent Development Trends since 2015 (part 2 of 2)

We’re continuing the discussion on Talent Development trends that have been effective in recent years.  In Part 1 of 2, I referenced my own dissertation research conclusion (Nguyen, 2015) on Talent Development that was relatively new thinking at the time.  In this blog entry, I wanted to validate and update previous learnings by highlighting a few informative White Papers from reputable thought-leaders, such as the Center of Creative Leadership.

Here are some my key notes from various white papers that you will find formative wherever you are in building a working knowledge base for Talent Development.  

  • The 70-20-10 Rule emerged from over 30 years of Lessons of Experienced research.  
    • 70% challenging experiences and assignments,
    • 20% developmental relationships, and
    • 10% coursework and training.
Action Learning is 2x better than the next 2 LD tools
  • 5 universally important sources of leadership learning stand out from studies: 1) Bosses and superiors, 2) Turnarounds. 3) Increases in job scope, 4) Horizontal moves, 5) New initiatives
  • Experience Driven Talent Management
    • senior leaders who support stretch and rotating assignments as a key strategy for developing employees.
    • performance management plans and practices have, as their foundation, individual learning and growth.
    • highly-valued employees being routinely exported to other parts of the organization, rather than siloed or hoarded.
    • development opportunities considered when making decisions about how to staff key projects.
  • Organizations that successfully implement experience-driven development do 5 things: 
    • Identify stretch assignments
    • Staff for development, not performance
    • Create new experiences
    • Enhance learning from experiences
    • Promote experience-driven development culture
  • Development is notably important to millennials. Between 50% and 65% are in their current job because of learning and career opportunities (Deal & Levenson, 2016). A global study of nearly 10,000 millennials found that almost three-quarters say that they have access to learning and development resources at work that will improve their skills—leaving 25% wishing for better (Deal & Levenson, 2016).
  • The talent strategy begins with a clear understanding of the business strategy, so that the organization can make intentional decisions about what is needed to create a strong and sustainable talent pipeline.  A talent strategy provides guidance for the critical investments an organization will or will not make in people.
  • While this has historically been an HR role, talent management is quickly becoming a priority among senior leaders and managers who know they are dependent on having the right pool of people involved in the work, now and in the future. And individuals throughout organizations are seeing they have the primary role in their own learning and career growth.
  • Research suggests: Nine leadership skills are consistently viewed as most important now and in the future. They are change management, inspiring commitment, taking initiative, building collaborative relationships, leading employees, strategic perspective, strategic planning, participative management, and being a quick learner.
  • Leadership GAP = “inspiring commitment, building collaborative relationships, change management, taking initiative, and leading employees”—none are considered to be a “top ten” skill by many orgs. In other words, the majority of the competencies rated important for organizational success are not the leadership skills at which their managers perform the best.
  • Another critical success factor for effective leadership development is executive management sponsorship (endorsement) and visibility. In the open-ended segment of the research, active support by senior leaders was referenced frequently as a most effective factor in leadership development practices. 85% of the organizations cited executive management commitment and sponsorship as cornerstones of their approach to developing leaders.
  • Benefits of Stretch assignments (experiential learning):
    • … cohesion or bonding that occurs as individuals work intensively together. Taking on and solving significant organizational challenges establish a crucible that forges relationships with lasting impact. These experiences establish interpersonal networks that grow and strengthen as leaders mature and move into more senior levels of management. 
    • …experiential learning can bring together leaders from different disciplines to work on special projects. This co-mingling of participants tends to break down barriers and promote the ability of organizations to pursue problems synergistically. 

WRAPPING IT UP. From a quick survey of best practices in the field of Talent Development, we find several key factors that can contribute to a higher probability of success for Talent Development strategies:

  • Create Stretch Projects for experiential learning (action learning) opportunities for High Potential prospects.
  • Identify a visible and engaging Advocate (Sponsor). One preferably with influence and reputable with senior leadership.
  • Cultivate Learn & Share Environments for both the managers and the prospects to provide a feedback loop. Everyone needs a place to informatively debrief safely and constructively.
  • There is NO disadvantage for intentional cross-training and assigning new experiences for your leadership & talent base. Taking on and solving significant organizational challenges establish a crucible that forges relationships with lasting impact and establish interpersonal networks that grow and strengthen as leaders mature and move into more senior levels of management. 

Feel free to leave a comment and begin a discussion. I love to learn some of your best thinking as well. May this blog be a gift to you in assisting others become the best version of themselves.



Talent Development Trends since 2015 (part 1 of 2)

I’ve been fascinated with the topic of talent development for quite some time (more specifically within the past 10 years).  I never quite had the words to articulate this interest for developing leadership pipelines.  Even when I started my PhD program in 2009, I was curiously searching research articles, journals, and books for building healthy leadership farm systems that could build sustainable and thriving teams and organizations.  These searches would lead me to keywords such as transitional leadership, succession planning, leadership pipelines, and leadership development.  But, they always focused on “developing the leader” once you’ve identified THE “leader”.   

Photo Credit: Mohawk College

There’s the problem.  If you knew that baseball player had the potential to be great, you would place him on a special development program.  But what about the other 99% of players?  That’s why my attention turned towards the broader pool of people talent.  Not everyone is called to be that Senior Vice President or prominent leadership position.   Any healthy organization would want to discover and develop their most significant resource: their people at every level.  For the purpose of this blog, I wanted to share some of my key learnings for anyone who wants to know the current thinking for Talent Development since 2015.

  • In 2015, I finished my dissertation on comparing leadership behaviors for those who had formal LD training vs those who did not.  The results were quite enlightening for the focused data sample of leaders in non-profit, faith-based organizations.  Using the Bass’ Transformational Leadership Model, the study showed the two groups did not differ very much in leadership behaviors, and this particular sample of leaders ranked within the 40-60th percentile among all US leaders.  You can read up on the boring conclusion here.
  • From my dissertation, I made some recommendations to Program Administrators in Higher Education for developing effective graduate leadership development programs.  
  • Integrate higher levels of team building and meaningful interpersonal projects
  • Consider looking at innovative ways of helping students interact with the content. This millennial generation learns through experiencing activity, and not through a textbook on “how to”. Administrators must find ways to help professors teach leadership experientially, interactively, and reflectively.
  • The research shows leadership skills are best practiced outside of the classroom (action learning) and then debriefed in the safety of peers.
  • People learn best when they are faced with their peer challenges, and collectively work through those challenges together. Creating and solving simulations of leadership issues would actively engage the learner while also reinforcing the habit of self-reflection, (Nguyen, 2015, pg 277-278).

Of course, my research theories were all isolated in the confines of the academic bubble.  I needed to test these theories in the real world.  Would I become an effective practitioner with my own advice?  Since my dissertation, I’ve joined 2 world class non-profit organizations to actively help build up next generation leadership talent.  The search for thriving Talent Development strategies isn’t over quite yet.  There’s more to contribute to this riveting topic. 

In the next blog (part 2), I want to show you what the other LD experts are saying.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how the current research and trends are revealing the best practices for developing talent over the past 5 years.  

Continue to PART 2 of 2: Talent Development Trends since 2015

Video Meetings are Great, but Something’s Missing…


PC: Marvin Meyer

A few years ago, a friend of mine invited me to lunch at a “cool” place.  Being the food-lover I am, we went to explore this new find.  While the server was taking my order, I asked, “What’s the most popular item here?”  They recommended me the MEATBALL SUB, which I have fell in love with ever since Subway introduced it to me as a child.  At the end of the meal, my friend curiously asks, “so how did you like it?”

My response: I paused and I looked at the sandwich.  Everything in my mind told me this was a meatball sub.  It tasted like one (not the best ever), but it tasted like a meatball sub.  I replied, “It was great, but something was missing… I can’t put my finger on it”.  He smiled and responded, “It’s vegan.  This is a vegan restaurant.”  Aha! Something WAS missing!  It’s the part of a meatball sub that makes your mouth water… it’s the FATTY JUICES that oozes out of a meatball that makes your tastebuds crave for another bite.


With the unprecedented Covid-Reality of 2020,  our entire world has changed in all areas of life, especially, in how we MEET & INTERACT with one another.  Whether a business meeting, kids schooling, a small group Bible study, or special moments like Birthdays, we had to depend on video conferencing technology (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Meetup, WhatsApp, Gotomeeting).  On the week when everything shut down, Harvard Business Review published this fabulous article on how to make the most of remote working & video meetings: A Guide to Managing Your (newly) Remote Workers I was excited to tryout a meeting tool called, “Silent Meetings” started by Jeff Bezos at Amazon (Game Changer!! You need to try it.  Reference these quick reads: The Rise of Silent Meetings, The Silent Meeting Manifesto, 5 Best Practices for Silent Meetings). 

Looking back over the past 3+ months, I believe the world has exponentially evolved to become more tech-savvy.  I believe my personal productivity is up.  I am doing more than ever.  However, with all the benefits for efficiency, convenience, and affordability, I felt something was missing.. but I couldn’t put my finger on it.


I know what I’m missing!  First, I’m missing “decompression time”.  Our schedules are being compressed and we trick ourselves into cramming 7 video meetings into a day because we don’t need to drive anywhere.  I’ve been craving for those “pauses” in between meetings to 1) collect my thoughts, 2) review my notes, 3) take a breath to reset my mind.  Sometimes we refer to these moments as “grounding yourself” or practicing “mindfulness”.  Those pauses could be that 5 min walk from building to building, or that 20-min drive to the coffee shop (remember those days).  We’re missing those SELAH moments (my thoughts here on Pauses“).  I’ve come to the point where I start my video meetings by telling everyone, “I Need 5 Minutes to Reset.” I’m believing this could be a gift to everyone on the call.

Second, I’m missing the “informal relational interaction” that you get at the water cooler, walking down the hallway, or the impromptu “knock on the door – can we talk?” moments.  We don’t exactly add that into our schedules.  In my line of work, we purposely schedule time to “BE AVAILABLE” for those impromptu, divinely scheduled conversations.  For parents, you purposely sit in the living room to let your kids know you are available to talk whenever they want.  They never want to talk, until that one life-crisis moment happens, and they run to the safest and available person they know.  These “short and insignificant conversations” add up and build towards the deeper, relational interactions down the road.  I miss coming to a meeting early and having those side-bar personal chats with the other people.  (We can’t this on a Zoom call of 10 people on the hour).

Finally, I’m missing the “meeting after the meeting”.  I remembered my mentor in my doctoral program would always tell us, “Don’t forget, the meeting after the meeting is just as important“.  Because we don’t have to walk from building to building or co-workers having access to ADD meeting times to my calendar, I’ve noticed I would hop from call to call without margins.  Often times those post 5-min conversations could mean so much.  “Hey, Bobby, can we walk and talk?” or “Hey, Susie, can I grab a few minutes to process with you?” or “Hey, Johnny, I need a friend, can we catch up?”  If everyone is jumping from call to call, when do we have that time to recover these unscheduled moments?  Wouldn’t that be a gift to everyone if we could add those informal 5 minutes on the backend of our meetings?  I’m not saying cut your meetings short, but to add in that moment where people can breakout or text each other for that 5 min call?


This is not an exhaustive list of “what’s missing” from video meetings.  OR, am I trying to say that we should minimize video meetings, because they are GREAT!  For some time, I’ve been trying to find the words to articulate my internal thoughts.   What exactly was I missing from these video meetings?  I hope this has helped you in some way or another.

So now I ask, “Hey, friend – do you have 5 min?  How have you worked around some of these missing elements.  How do you supplement these “Spaces in Between” where we can deepened our relational trust, friendship, and embrace humanity again?

Please comment below or find me in a video meet up 🙂

My Cheat Sheet for this Bitcoin Craze!


Before I start, I am earning Bitcoin as we speak.  It’s trading at almost $5,000 (updated 4/5/19) and it had recent 20% spike in the past week.  THAT’S NUTS!!!  So here’s the SUMMARY of this BLOG for everyone new to this Bitcoin craze.  I went ahead and did the research and I wanted to bless you with the CLIFF NOTES version: 1) Bitcoin 101 & 2) Quick ways to Earn Bitcoin.  For some reason, I am mesmerized by this technology built around 1) decentralized information, 2) digital database online, and 3) distributive replication for everyone.

Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 9.06.33 PM

Section 1: Bitcoin 101

Start Here with Bitcoin: Book or Bust (CNBC) It’s an awesome documentary evaluating the pros and cons of the Bitcoin phenomenon.  You’ll also catch up withe the “Wolf of Wallstreet” and get his blunt perspective.  Then, I want you to loop back and understand the next generation of history making technology: Blockchain.  Bitcoin is an application of Blockchain – Watch this video nextWhat is Blockchain? (CNBC) Just like Internet busted onto the scene in the 90s, Facebook applied the technology to connect the world like we’ve never seen before.  “Bitcoin is to Facebook” as “Blockchain is to Internet”.  

Section 2: Simple Ways to Earn Bitcoin (for dummies)

Now, let’s earn some simple coins.  So many websites and blogs out there.  Where should you go?  Well, I go to one place because I’m super LAZY.  I want a 1-stop shop like Cointiply.  You’ll quickly learn that “Mining” for Bitcoin is pretty much NOT POSSIBLE.  But, you can use your phones & computers to do the following.

  1. Faucets (ex. Cointiply)
  2. Surveys (ex. Adscend Media)
  3. Watch Videos 
  4. Video Games
  5. Webpage Clicks
  6. Add some in the comment sections below.

There are some really good aggregate, 1-stop shop, websites that hosts all the above such as Cointiply.  If I were you, I’d just click, peruse a little, and sign up.  It’s that easy.   

I’m always updating this page.  Do you have another tip or link I should reference.  I’ll add it if you comment below.  

The “Pause” before the Climax!


For those who read music, you’ll know this special musical element as a “FERMATA“, and composers will use this powerful element when writing masterpieces.  I recently spent a 2 day get-away with 2 of my closest friends.  We knew it was time to catch up and have a weekend where we could retreat, unplug, detach, and enjoy each other’s company.  We had wonderful conversations ranging from our 5-year plan, Life Mission statements, our family life, and finding the HACK at Starbucks for Vietnamese Iced Coffee.  It was a memorable and pivotal time for the three of us (ask me what we ate that weekend).

At the end, on my way to the airport, we had one last conversation reflecting on our time together.  My friend mentioned to me that this was a good PAUSE from his hectic season, and he referenced how composers would often use the PAUSE before the grand finale of a musical arrangement.  He believed that this weekend was that PAUSE for all us because he felt that the best part was about to come.  I nodded my head, and didn’t think much at that moment.  However, on the 3 hr flight home, I pondered over his words…

Being a master violinist (NOT), I remembered the musical pause called the “bird’s eye” aka the “fermata”.  I googled “musical pauses” to see if there were any FAMOUS musical compositions that used this musical device.  And guess what we found?

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 10.11.02 PM

I found this wonderful article, “How a Pause Can be the Most Devastating Effect in Music“.  Read the excerpts below:

Composers have a similar understanding that in shaping sound, a nothing can be just as expressive as a something. It depends on the frame, what it is that echoes in the silence.

Some musical silences are simple enough. Recall the end of Handel’s “hallelujah” chorus in Messiah, the brief pause of anticipation before the timpani-pounding climax (LISTEN HERE)

Beethoven was perhaps the first composer to treat silence as an actual motif, part of the basic conception of a piece. His overture to the tragedy Coriolan starts with some of the most searing silences in music.

Now to the conclusion and life-lesson to this weekend story…

Read More…

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