Create the Team Everyone Wants to Join: Ideas for Growing and Keeping PM Talent

Tim Wasserman, SCPM, CLO,  TwentyEighty Strategy Execution
Posted on: 10/14/16
Written by: Tim Wasserman, SCPM, CLO,  TwentyEighty Strategy Execution

photo-1461360370896-922624d12aa1-000091-edited.jpgWhile project management leaders may not always have the authority to hire or fire, they do have powers that can significantly impact project management talent growth and retention. This is important because project management talent gravitates toward organizations that successfully align their talent management and organizational strategies.

In fact, The Project Management Institute (PMI®) has identified several specific areas project management leaders should address to strengthen employee engagement and alignment (PMI, 2014):
• Meaningful work
• An ability to make an impact
• Visibility for successes
• A transparent culture
• Authentic leadership
• A well-defined career path
• Alignment to the project, team, and organizational strategy

While most organizations want to believe they embody the list above, it’s not always the case. Fortunately, there are tools you can use to increase your talent management powers. The Strategic Execution Framework (SEF), which was developed to help companies align their strategy to their execution, is a powerful tool that PM leaders can apply to their talent efforts.

It consists of six domains that have been proven to help companies effectively determine, articulate, and execute their strategy:

Ideation – Know who you are, why you exist, and where you’re going. Having a strong ideation at the project and program level – as well as the organization level – provides a clear definition of the work to come, allowing employees to understand the impact of their individual and group efforts.

Nature – Align your strategy with the larger company’s culture and structure. Discovering and articulating the culture and structure improves alignment between the organization, the work, and team, enabling its members to produce at their highest levels.

Vision – The translation of long-term intention into short and medium-term goals, metrics, and strategies. A strong
vision helps the project management leadership define and measure its organizational contributions, allowing team members to align their work focus to outcomes and deepen their understanding of how their role contributes to the organization.

Engagement – Know the right project-based work required to execute the organization’s strategy. For the
project management leader, it’s about understanding what skills are needed on the team. For the individual, it helps them align their perspective to the organizational goals, while providing them direction about the types of skills they should focus on growing.

Synthesis – Executing projects and programs in alignment with the portfolio. Organizationally, synthesis is about how project-based work gets accomplished through methodologies, governance, and other processes. For project management leaders pursuing talent, synthesis speaks to the need to ensure that the necessary resources
are in place to attract and retain talent. 

Transition – Moving the results of projects into the main stream of the operation. By reviewing the metrics defined for success at the individual, team, and organizational level, project management leaders should have a clear perspective of how well they are addressing the areas that can have the greatest impact on talent management objectives.

While the SEF serves as an excellent guide to identifying a talent management strategy and guiding its execution, it doesn’t speak to the specifics of “what” to do. For that, we’ll use the TALENT model™. Integral Talent System’s (ITS) research-based TALENT model maps the needs of the organization and team members, helping leaders to focus on the areas that can deliver the greatest impact. According to ITS the following areas will provide maximum ROI for talent retention:

Targeted Recruiting and Hiring – Ensuring the organization’s ideation and nature aligns with the individual’s ideation and nature avoids culture clashes, frustration, and builds mutual buy-in and commitment between the individual and the organization.
Achievement – A key role of a project manager is to assess team member capabilities, assign roles accordingly, and provide the information and coaching needed to help the team member deliver the results for which they are accountable.
Learning and Professional Growth – ITS’ research shows that affording the individual the opportunity to build their résumé with experiences strengthens the desire to stay with an employer.
Ensuring Recognition – ITS found that compensation is “the price of admission” for organizations that want to attract strong talent, but it’s not what helps retain the talent. Instead of a one size fits all approach to recognition, leaders should take a “one size fits one” approach, where recognition is individualized.
Nurturing Career Development – Coaching and mentoring programs build and strengthen networks and enhance the sense of belonging, keeping top performers interested and engaged with the team and/or organization over the long term.
Team Collaboration – Effective collaboration enables desired team outcomes as varied as the effective resolution of conflicts, as well as the meaningful celebration of wins and successes.

Aligning your organization’s strategy to your talent management efforts will deliver what you, your
organization, and your team members need to keep renewing their commitment for a successful and long-term

The TALENT Model was developed by Integral Talent Systems (ITS), a global technology-enabled talent
management consulting firm. ITS conducts ongoing independent research so that its clients stay abreast of the
most current workforce trends and best practices at 

About the Author: Tim Wasserman, SCPM, CLO, TwentyEighty Strategy Execution is responsible for leading the strategy and content of all Strategy Execution learning solutions. He is an expert in the successful implementation of large-scale organizational behavior change, with over 25 years of experience developing and implementing enterprise-wide initiatives for global enterprises. Tim has led design and implementation teams to improve execution capabilities for organizations including Cisco, Google, Medtronic, Nordstrom, Prudential and Boeing. He has delivered workshops globally, and is on the SAPM program faculty delivering on campus at Stanford on the topics of organizational change and transformation as well as global team effectiveness.

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