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Maximise The 4 Talent Types For Team Results - Part 3

Wednesday 14 February, 2007
by Faith Ralston
In the article Maximise The 4 Talent Types For Team Results - Part 1 we examined the talent types Diamond and Club. The article Maximise The 4 Talent Types For Team Results - Part 2 continued with Spade and Heart talents. This article outlines action ideas to integrate the four talent types.

Action ideas

Here are five practical actions you can take to optimise the four talent types on your team. Put these ideas to work and benefit from talent differences.

  1. Deliberately mix and match talents

    Match individual talents to project needs. Learn everyone's talent on your team. Look at the projects and identify what needs to be done. Match individual talents with these tasks. If the project is in start-up mode, be sure to include Diamond talents on the team. For projects in a state of chaos, ask Spades to clean up the mess. Utilise Club talents to develop an overall strategy and Heart talents to develop buy-in strategies.

    Encourage team members to sync up their talents in productive ways. Like a game of volleyball, individuals learn to take their best shot and set each other up for success. Teams who successfully orchestrate and synergise their talent differences can win big!
  2. Balance ‘too much of a good thing'

    At any point, you can have too much of one talent or not enough of another. For example, if you have too many Heart talents on a team, meetings can become emotional and unproductive. Not enough energy is directed at the task and moving the agenda forward. Add Spades and Clubs to the mix to help the team get going again.

    Conversely, a team of Spade talents might focus only on the tasks to be done. Spades run down a checklist and ask, "Is this done? Is that done?". Strategic dialogue about the vision and culture are not on their agenda. Balance Spade talents with Clubs who will infuse a strategic mindset. Add Diamond talents when you want more creativity.

    A team dominated by Club talents will design big plans for the future. Balance out this team with the realism of Spade talents who can help the Clubs appreciate the challenges of implementation.

    If you have too many Diamonds on a team, you'll have more ideas than you can implement. Diamond talents can also disrupt an orderly process by tossing their latest idea into the mix. Add Hearts to increase this team's sensitivity to others and Club talents to provide essential structure.

    There's a time and place for every talent to make their contribution. Be alert to any imbalance of talents and involve other talent types to ensure optimum results.
  3. Challenge "it's not my job!'

    Help team members respect and appreciate the work of each talent type. When team members are not using their talent, they often feel like they are not doing "real" work.

    For a Spade, brainstorming and strategic planning don't feel like real work.  The Spade wants to focus on projects that are due next week - not next year.

    For a Diamond, the details of implementation are boring and not ‘real work'.  The Diamond feels valuable when he is brainstorming and researching future ideas.

    A Club talent, participating in a team building session, might think it's a giant waste of time. The Club wonders, "When is this session going to be over so I can get back to my real job?".

    The Heart talent who is working on tasks instead of people issues may feel extremely bored.

    Each talent type wants to be working in their talent specialty. The work of each talent type is important! All 4 talents are essential for high team performance. Help team members recognise and appreciate the value of each other's talent strengths. Work to minimise misunderstandings that arise from talent differences.
  4. Ensure successful hand-offs

    Conflicts and tensions often arise during project hand offs. Club talents who are handing off to Spades need to be willing to listen to potential problems and roadblocks. Spade talents who are implementing Diamond ideas need to be open and receptive to their new ideas. Diamond talents often need to acknowledge the impact of their ideas on others and the realities of implementation. Heart talents may need to embrace tough decisions made by a Club talent and let go of 100% buy-in to new ideas.

    Each talent type needs to appreciate the perspectives and contributions made by other talent types. It's easy to blame others when talent differences arise and expectations are not met. To minimise conflicts, manage transitions when handing off work to different talent types.
  5. Be accountable for results

    Everyone must be accountable for the end-goal. A Diamond might think, "I've just made an incredible breakthrough! Why do I need to get bogged down with the mundane details?". But ultimate success requires that everyone keep the end goal in mind and stay involved.

    Team members can't just do their part and sit back. Everyone must take responsibility for the success of the project. If a customer calls and needs a creative solution, even if individuals lack Diamond talent - they must find a way to get it done. If team members don't know how to respond, they take responsibility and find someone who does.

Make sure you have a winning team. Encourage team members to play to their strengths and work with others who have different talents. Maximising everyone's talents will give you a leading edge. In today's marketplace - it's the lively exchange of talents that wins the day!

Related articles: 

Maximise The 4 Talent Types For Team Results - Part 1

Maximise The 4 Talent Types For Team Results - Part 2

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