In case you haven’t gotten around to making your New Year’s resolutions for the year, let me propose three for your consideration:

Develop the talent you have. You’ve seen the stories about companies struggling to fill new positions, even while they’re laying off other workers in droves. There’s a reason: Many of the mission-critical jobs of today are brand new — especially positions in IT, web marketing and social media. You can’t recruit someone with ten years of experience in a job that didn’t exist five years ago. And companies that have that kind of talent aren’t about to let it go. In short, you probably won’t find what you need in that stack of resumes. You have to develop it.

Seek small victories. Large-scale one-shot talent development “events” seldom work out the way they’re supposed to. Top-performing organizations get to the top one day at a time. Encourage your organization’s managers to pursue achievable, ongoing and incremental improvements when training their people. They’ll be more motivated by their successes, and your organization will get better and better.

Follow up on training. There’s clear evidence that training is only as effective as the follow up. Yet most training and talent development programs still don’t put enough emphasis on what happens after the training event. Resolve to incorporate follow-up into every training activity in 2011.

I could offer more, but we all know what can happen when you set too many objectives. So I’ll leave it at three — but I do invite you to post your own resolutions for 2011 in the Comments section.

photo credit: biscotte

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