Stretch Development in this Employment Era

Posted on: June 10, 2014, by :
Bridge over the Mississippi River

Using Stretch Development to Adapt and Thrive

Recruiting practices and talent management continue their evolution accelerated by several factors including competition, technology and globalization. Professionals need to understand expectations and adapt in order to survive and thrive in these new times. Adapting also often involves learning and development. Effective growth more often than not involves stretching to learn and apply new knowledge in new contexts. Stretch development can be employer, self lead or both. I recommend pursing both when possible to maximize growth and opportunities.

Stretch Development: Why it Matters

In Harvard Business Review’s 21st-Century Talent Spotting, Jonathan Harvey, a top HR executive at ANZ, an Australian bank that operates in 33 countries, describes his experience with stretch development when he explains: “When it comes to developing executives for future leadership assignments, we’re constantly striving to find the optimal level of discomfort in the next role or project, because that’s where the most learning happens.” The article also points out that the scarcity of top talent motivates better hiring—hiring that moves beyond intelligence, experience and past performance to include a focus on potential.

Your Experience

When is the last time you experienced discomfort with a project or assignment you were given? Reflect upon the experience and what you learned. Were you given similar assignments in the future because of your performance and potential? If so, did you leverage this to emphasize the value you added? I’m not referring to seeking recognition but rather if you used the experience to secure additional opportunities of increasing levels of responsibility.

Potential is becoming as important as intelligence, experience and past performance in many industries.

If you have been given a project or assignment that didn’t go well think about what went wrong and how things could have gone differently. Learn from the experience and continue to seek opportunities for growth. Consider pursuing opportunities for learning and growth to increase your abilities and to add value and be valued.

Photo by Thomas Hawk, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.


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