(By Buzz Knight) Talent remains as one of our most precious commodities. Great talent is the difference maker in a head to head competitive battle. It is also our point of differentiation when it comes to our battle for ears versus pure plays.
If you are someone managing talent first of all thank your lucky stars that you are working for a company that shares your love for talent and is giving you that resource to have a shot at winning. This is something to not take lightly.
So how do you make the most of this resource and best manage your talent?
One priority for your consideration rests with how you make that process of managing talent interesting and dynamic for them. Let’s face it, most talent does not like the process of being managed. Yes, they would like encouragement and recognition but by and large they would rather be left alone. It’s incumbent on you to make the process of delivering feedback with a unique and compelling value proposition.
Some thoughts on how to approach this are as follows:
-Be present and in the moment when possible for your biggest shows. Before COVID-19 the recommendation from me would be show up as often as possible for your entire morning show. I’ve observed many great programmers use this as a simple and definitive way to be literally present for talent to provide real time feedback and support. If you can’t do this in person then find a way to do this virtually with an eye on making this productive and not suffocating for the talent.
-Communicate regularly and consistently with your talent with regards to ratings performance. Additionally, communicate the performance of the station on other key factors such as revenue, budget goals and relative performance versus the market. Your talent are strong determiners of the fate of the mission and its only fair that they know where things stand.
-Another tactic to put on the table to keep talent engaged is the method used by the late great basketball Coach John Wooden. Coach Wooden believed that variety was an important element in his day to day coaching style as a way to keep his talent engaged. He wanted to consistently mix it up with the routine of practice drills so the exercise wasn’t monotonous.
Consider ways you can make your talent drills filled with variety. Don’t just rely on the same air check method every time. Maybe one day, focus on what makes talent from another market great at what they do. Then another meeting ask the talent specifically to come prepared on what they think the best content of the week is. Follow up with another drill only bent on focusing on excellent teases.
You get the picture. Mix it up to keep it interesting. Great talent managers know how to dole out feedback so effortlessly that it becomes second nature for both the talent and the programmer.
-Foster a relationship where the talent feels welcome to give their thoughts regarding the overall operation. Many times these open and frank bigger picture conversations can be an easy way for the programmer to give feedback regarding other aspects of the talents job.
-Lastly, the programmer should find ways to give regular feedback, ESPECIALLY moments of positivity. The ratio of positive to negative feedback needs to be always on the side of positivity first. The ratio of positive to negative feedback should be close to 10 to 1 if possible. Filling the talents bucket allows those moments that they need the brutal truth to stand a better chance of being received.
Talent IS special so your treatment of them should be as well!
Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]