Introducing the Talent Academy

By Dave Ulrich | April 13, 2022

Enroll in the Talent Academy to attract and retain talent and build human capability for the future.

Video Transcription 

Hi, I'm Dave Ulrich, I'm a professor at the Roth School of Business and a partner at the RBL group. We are committed to helping build people and organizations and leadership that help a company succeed in the marketplace. We are dedicated to do that through research, through theory, and through practice.

We want the best theory in the world which explains why things happen. We want research to document what happens and practice for how you can improve. Welcome to the RBL Talent Academy. 

You want to be a talent leader. You want to lead your people to make a difference. We are trying to give you the skills and tools and knowledge to make that happen. We know that talent matters. You know that intuitively, and you know that your leadership is based on how well your talent does after you.

We know that you've got to be a good coach with skills and abilities. We know that you got to personalize the relationship with every employee. We also know that you've got tools at your disposal, getting people on the team, driving performance, managing careers, development, diversity, communication, retention.

Our commitment is to help you to be a better leader, to be a better professional, and to make a difference for you and your career and for those you serve. 

Your people may be competent. They have all the ability in the world because of what you've done, but they don't work very hard.

That's a problem. You want to build commitment and how do you improve that commitment? We believe that employee engagement or commitment, and I'm using the words almost interchangeably, is about building a value proposition. What's the value proposition I, as a leader, can give my employees?

I raised the concept of value proposition with somebody recently, and she said, “I don't know what that means.” And I said, “It's the simplest idea in the world. Those who give more to the company should get more back.”

That's it. Those who give more value should get more back. So think in your own mind of an employee. Think of yourself. How much value are you giving the company? How much do you get back? And if you see that give and take, how much value do you give? How much do you get back? You begin to see a pattern of the employee value proposition with equity. 

Think of employees at (A) they give a lot of value. They're high on what the company gets. They give value to the company, but they don't get much back.

What's going to happen to those employees? “The Great Resignation.” They're really good and they're known as good. They're going to leave. They're going to get offers. They're going to go they're going to bail out. They're not going to stay because they're creating value and they're not getting much in return.

Think of employees as site (B). They're getting a bunch back from the company, whatever that might be, but they're not producing much. Here's the risk they're going to stay. In fact, I think that's almost a greater risk than losing (A)s, because now you've got employees that aren't contributing much staying.

Where you ultimately want to get is (C). You want those who give a lot to get a lot back. And when you manage that form of equity between what you give and what you get, you create a value proposition that works.

I've lived with this personally. You've probably lived with it as well. At the business school at the University of Michigan, a number of years ago, the dean would meet with every professor. Some employees, some professors gave more back to the university.

We had a professor named C.K. Prahalad. I'm not sure if you've heard of C.K. Prahalad. You'd have no reason to. Except he was a genius. C.K. was incredible. They do a thing called Thinkers 50, the top 50 business thinkers in the world.

He was ranked number one for ten years, and if anything, he was ranked too low. He became a mentor to me, and I'm so grateful for his work. But he'd meet with the dean on how much value do you give to the company?

The dean would say, C.K., you're giving a ten on value. And Instead of saying, “What you get back,” he'd say, “What do you want?” 

And C.K. said, “I live in Michigan. I've lived here for a number of years. I enjoy working at the university. But it's cold in Michigan, in the United States. I'd like to live in San Diego, in California, where it's warm, it's beach.” 

And guess what the dean said. “Okay. You're high on the give. You got a lot of flexibility.” So C.K. moved to San Diego. How do I know that? I met with the dean within a day or two. (And he asked) “Dave, what do you want from the relationship with the school?”

And I said, “I want to live in San Diego.” And he grinned at me with this lovely grin and he said, “You're not C. K. On that give and get axis. You're about a five. You're not C.K.” By the way, I’m in the United States. I live in Utah. I'm halfway to San Diego. Now, I say that personal story as a joke, but it's real. 

Think about the employees who work for you. Plot them. Where are they on the give and the get? And by the way, you may want more data than just your own, but as a leader, think about the employees who work for me. Make that 1 to 10 on each axis. Where are they?

Dave has published over 30 books on leadership, organization, and human resources. These ideas have shaped how people and organizations deliver value to customers, investors, and communities. He has consulted and done research with over half of the Fortune 200 and worked in over 80 countries.  He has received numerous public recognitions and lifetime awards for his work. 

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