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Three Powerful Conversations Managers Must Have To Develop Their People

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The fog of war envelops every battlefield. When the plan breaks down amid the chaos and ambiguity, how do young Marines know what to do next? How can they take relevant action in the present when their carefully detailed plan has been rendered useless? Every leader communicates something called Commander’s Intent — effectively an end state or envisioned future of the battlefield when all is said and done. Understanding this vision, even the most green Marines can take decisive, relevant action right now. Managers should equip their people to achieve the same level of clarity in their careers, says Candor, Inc. co-founder and COO and former military leader Russ Laraway. Laraway believes that managers can grow and retain top talent by helping their employees articulate long-term vision for their careers. His approach has made him a sought-after advisor on the issue of employee retention and talent development. While at Google, his framework for career development led to more than a 10-point bump on engagement scores across hundreds of employees. In addition to Google, Laraway’s career spans operational and management roles at Twitter, founding and leading his own supply chain consulting firm and serving as a Company Commander in the Marine Corps, in which he oversaw 175 Marines.

Drawing from his talk at First Round’s CEO Summit and additional conversations, Laraway explains a servant leader’s approach to career conversations, a tool that accelerates development, enhances engagement and boosts retention in teams. He lays out a step-by-step approach for creating meaningful dialogue and details pitfalls to avoid. Any startup seeking to keep its talent for the long term will gain helpful tips from Laraway’s framework.

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