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If we really want to develop and ignite talent, let's stop looking at people as resources

People are not managed. People are led. And they are not managed because they are simply not resources


It is very common to hear CEOs say that the most important thing in their companies is people. And this is very good! That people are their greatest asset. This is extraordinary! But…

Being people, they have to come as a priority on our daily agendas, otherwise they quickly become liabilities.

If everything else comes before our people, then people are not a priority. It's like saying my family is a priority, but I don't spend any of my time with them. Or, that the relationship with my wife is a priority, but my focus is on everything else but not on the relationship.

A priority is everything where we place our intention and attention, whether we want to or not. It's everything that takes up more space on our schedule. Whether we want it or not.


For example, personally as a son, I would exchange all the moments when my parents were away from home, working to give me the conditions to do other things (like study, do sports, etc) for more quality time with them. Quality time to develop skills that I came to realize later on, would be sorely missed in my adult life.

And no, this is not a public complaint :-) I talk a lot with my parents and this topic has already been discussed calmly. Because they did the best they knew.

There is nothing wrong with working long hours, being determined, earning money, giving your children the possibility to study, enjoy and live other experiences... if it is accepted like that.

But my point here is: let's call things by their true names.


Lets go from transactional to relational

It is true that we hire people to do a job, to perform a function within a structure, a structure that must naturally exist. From a transactional point of view, that's fine.

But on a relational level, if we continually treat them as resources and not as people, we will continue to feed a production line and we will not be helping each one to be the best they can be. At the end of the line, we are all harmed. The company because it is constantly looking for people who “don't exist” and people because they keep looking for places where they can be who they really are and where they can develop to be who they want to be.


What does a talent want the most? To be challenged and stimulated!

At a time when talent retention is one of the most talked about topics, I believe, not only from my experience, but from everything I've been living and observing, talent is increasingly related to purpose than to any other indicator.

The Human Resources departments should change their name to: Human Developing Departments.

And I say this, because the main purpose of this department is/should be, to help people to be better. I'm not suggesting that they don't, I'm suggesting that they should broaden their spectrum of action and understanding.

Better people are better professionals. Better professionals produce better results.


Examples and analogies between collective sports and performance of other professional (business) teams are recurrent.


Here’s my TOP 5:

1. Wearing the shirt and sweating the shirt are not the same thing;

2. When my colleague fails, I encourage him to improve, I don't point out his failure so that I can stand out; solidarity is absolutely crucial and has to be encouraged;

3. THE TEAM is made up of all the elements that contribute, each one to be the BIW (Best In World) in their role; using soccer as an example and, as even José Mourinho que well renowned soccer coach said relatively recently - who is on the bench is as important as who is playing. Everyone is extremely important, from the ball catcher to the wardrobe (person who takes care of the equipments). But in general it is difficult for us to understand this, we all “want to play now”.

4. We do not train athletes. We train people who practice sports;

5. Invisible training its even more important than any other visible practice.


What do I believe can be done and/or reinforced to have more aligned organizations and talent igniters?

1. A very clear and unambiguous long-term vision - what we want to achieve and contribute to society as an organization;

2. Allow and provide an environment where people can be people;

3. Help to improve/optimize their strengths (instead of trying to reduce their weaknesses);

4. Develop a culture of self-responsibility and accountability; the culture of an organization is everything that is lived inside but not written anywhere;

5. Develop inspirational leadership rather than management by fear and control; (we can only be inspiring when we have a clear vision of - where we are going);

6. Leadership is about people, management is about processes;

7. Develop a language of integration and candor, where everything can be said if it is said with respect;

8. Living the organization's values transversely, vertically and on a daily basis (they do not serve only to be posted on the wall or to be talked about once a year during the annual kick-off);

9. Have four premises:

I- The first person to grow should be the leader of the organization, otherwise it will always exist a blocking  effect;

II- All people on the team have more talent than what they are showing at the moment; We should provide structure so that they can develop it, along with an environment of trust and risk support without “guillotine judgments” (please do it well or just leave);

III- Everyone is experiencing a personal problem/drama that affects them, and, as a leader/facilitator we can make a difference in their lives;

IV- A group of people is not necessarily a team; in a team people trust and encourage each other.


I have a very strong conviction regarding this whole theme: People cannot be managed. People are led. And they are not managed because they are simply not resources.

I don't think anything I write here is new. And I also think that in reality we don't need anything new.

We need to look at people as people. We need more truth and to humanize ourselves even more.


My team training and engagement program - Grow My Team

It was all these reasons and a few more that were left out in this text, which led me to develop a team optimization program based on 3 pillars: Leadership, Communication and Collaboration - Grow My Team.

A program with an implementation up to 12 months (I don't believe in magic pills and effective changes take time) completely aligned with my vision and personal purpose:

Helping people and organizations to free themselves from constraints and to catalyze all their talent.


As always, I hope I helped.

At service!

João Cordeiro