Transfer Window.

At the end of the football season, whether a team has been crowned champions, relegated or somewhere in between, the owners and managers will review their talent pool to determine what if any signings (and sales) they wish to make in the summer transfer window.

This exercise is then repeated in January – in other words, twice a year teams assess their talent pool and I suggest that this is something every business should do too. Here’s a simple process to make sure that you’re effectively managing your talent.

Football, and other sporting teams, allocate their squad into three categories:

  1. A-Stars: those who are automatic shoe-ins and have 3 to 5 years or more left of their career.
  2. Talent pool/Academy: the young players of the future who are developing in line with expectations and the club’s needs.
  3. Contract extensions: older players who can still contribute for a year or two.

In the best teams, any player that doesn’t fit into one of these categories is sold or let go.

The master of this approach to talent management was Sir Alex Ferguson. He was ruthless in making sure that the A-Stars of yesterday were let go unless they fell into the contract extension category.

Less effective managers all too often fall into the trap of hanging onto players who are past their sell by date, the stars of yesteryear who no longer have it. Something too many businesses are guilty of as well.

In challenging times, it’s tempting to solely focus on attracting and retaining the A-Stars but this is very short-term thinking and dangerous for the future growth and development of the business. The Talent pool/Academy is where your future profits will be derived from and therefore needs to be continuously added to and improved – ask yourself honestly, how many people do you have in this category and is it enough for your future growth or do you need to manage your talent more effectively?

Twice a year create your own transfer window and make those tough decisions you’ve previously put off and at the same time recruit new talent to appropriately add to the team.

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