Why do some teams succeed while others stumble? Because hiring, developing and engaging talent requires careful decisions that are too easy to get wrong without data. In The Science of Dream Teams: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness, author Mike Zani introduces the science of “talent optimization,” a new discipline that’s a far more reliable way to manage your employees than your gut instincts.
- “Proper talent optimization lifts morale, builds teams, and turbocharges productivity,” explains Zani.
With simple steps, Zani (a former US Olympic sailing team coach) shows how companies of any size can collect and analyze voluntary data about their employees to purposefully align a company’s business and talent strategies.
The book explores how CEOs and management teams can collect and use data to:
- Build effective teams of highly sought-after professionals while optimizing costs.
- Create a company culture based on coaching versus dictating.
- React and adapt to unpredictable or unprecedented crises.
- Prepare their company and their team for the future of work.
- Teach company leaders the key to developing strategies that bring long-term success.
Within organizations, Zani shares that there are four types of employees:
Explorers – those in the Innovation and Agility quadrant; outgoing and risk-taking.
Producers – those in the Results and Discipline quadrant; focused on beating the competition and generating new ideas.
Cultivators – those in the Teamwork and Employee Experience quadrant; collaborative, inward focused and focused on nurturing community.
Stabilizers – those in the Process and Precision quadrant; detail people, most comfortable with a steady, reliable, clear hierarchy environment.
Optimizing the talent from each of those quadrants is critical to your organization’s success.
However, Zani explains that as a leader of any enterprise the first step in talent optimization and management is to confront questions about yourself. Knowing how others see you is vital. You will need to discover your blind spots and your corrosive habits. So, the first key to building a self-aware organization is to bring leadership’s self-image into alignment with perception. Zani also shares that it’s okay and actually powerful to show a degree of vulnerability as you build your self-awareness. Because a degree of vulnerability bolsters power in that it communicates that everyone, from the bottom to the top of the company, is accountable.
Finally, Zani explains this valuable insight – a company is like an intelligent machine. It comes up with answers. It solves problems. It innovates. And, its collective strength is that each person knows and sees things that others miss.
Thank you to the book’s publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.