Kamal Bhandal, VP, Global Brand & Consumer Experience, joined Align Technology in 2013 and shares her vision on the importance of nurturing talent in today’s competitive professional world.
Why is nurturing talent important?
I believe this is the most important thing we need to do as leaders. At the end of the day, employees are the ones that set a company up for future success – our company. As leaders, we need to help people discover their potential, listen to their ideas on what’s working and how we can improve. We need to ask ourselves: how do we unleash the talent that we have and provide a culture for them that allows them to learn and grow? How do you maximize their strengths?
The other important piece for leaders is not only to look at people as individuals, but to nurture your team as a whole. Leaders often think about talent on an individual basis, but it is more expansive than that.
Is there a particular skill set or approach you see as critical to being successful in nurturing talent?
I would say the most important thing is that each leader needs to understand how important team success is and the positive results it will bring to a team, to the department and in the end, the entire organization. To me, it’s a belief. It’s how I personally try to operate every day. Often times, as leaders we can underestimate the power of team success. Everyone is busy with competing priorities, and focus on the team can slip. I’m guilty of this myself sometimes. Though allowing this to happen as a leader will be detrimental to the team as well as to each individual.
A second critical skill would be to identify when chemistry within a team is not quite right. Leaders should diagnose what the personal differences or possible issues are and act immediately. If you don’t recognize how your team interacts…if there is a chemistry problem, in time, it could harm your talent and team. It is so important to diagnose and remedy this.
What change have you seen over the last few years regarding nurturing talent?
Over the last 4 years, Align Technology has grown significantly. It has become clearer that our focus on our people is critical. We have continued to mature in how we operate, and we are maturing spotlighting our people better. As a company, we have very ambitious goals. We have seen that the success that enables our future growth, the key to our success, will lie in the talent, efforts and ambition of our employees and how strong and successful those people are.
What would your recommendation be to other leaders?
People, and especially talented individuals, can choose to work anywhere. For us as leaders, the most important thing that we can realize is that we all have the power to create an environment where work can become more than just work...we have the power to create an environment that talented individuals want to be a part of. I think that happens when you are focused on nurturing the talent you have, both at an individual and at a team level. We have the power to create an environment that, if done right, can have a greater purpose. We may not be able to achieve it every single day, though we should try. People can choose to work anywhere and it’s our job as leaders to ensure that we create a culture where the most talented people want to work.
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