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Leadership at D2L- Be Talent Magnets


**Welcome to a series of posts about what leadership looks like at D2L. Here at D2L, we recently shared the leadership competencies/behaviours that we know are required to transform the way the world learns. We considered both business and client goals and needs, and our drive to continue to disrupt the world of learning for K-12, Higher Ed and Corporate Learning. The competencies we decided upon aren’t new. They aren’t rocket science. They don’t come with cute little sayings. But we believe in them. And know they will set the stage for people to do the best work of their lives here at D2L all while helping to make learning more engaging, accessible and inspiring.**

Time for self reflection again! We ask our D2Lers, do you think the people you work for/with would describe you as a Talent Magnet?

Are you the kind of person that people are lining up to work for/with? Are amazing, high performing D2L (or wanna be D2L) rock stars doing whatever they can to be on your team/project/committee?

This is an important leadership competency for us at D2L because we know this much is true. If we are to truly transform the way the world learns and dramatically touch the lives of millions of learners, then we need a D2L community of talent that are high performing, serious about meeting their goals, curious and creative. We need D2Lers who are engaged, competent, interested and customer focused. We need D2Lers who take initiative, are boundaryless in their approach and who achieve results.

The thing about talent as described above?

  1. They usually have a variety of employment options available to them
  2. They have an almost constant desire to grow, develop, stretch and learn (how do you think they got so amazing to begin with???)

We know that if we are truly committed to reaching every learner and transforming the way the world learns, then we MUST be equally committed to ensuring that we have the best talent available to us at any given moment. How?

Partly, by ensuring that our people leaders and individual contributors are Talent Magnets. Imagine if in your company, even 20% of your work force focused on this particular competency. What might happen to your ability to innovate, to make better decisions, to deliver outstanding products to your customers?

Let me ask you- what might happen to your colleagues or your employee if YOU made the commitment to drive growth and development as a key business priority?

What if YOU spent 20% more time this month championing a coaching culture where you provided feedback often that was specific, forward thinking and learning/development focused?

Sometimes, in a world of loud and distracting interruptions, we can lose sight of our high performing employees and team members. We can take them for granted. We can assume that they don’t need as much of us because- well, they’re just so damn amazing! If you recognize this pattern in your own actions- give yourself a break. It’s not an unusual pattern at all. The squeaky wheel- yadda, yadda. The competency of being a Talent Magnet requires us to flip those priorities and focus, mindfully, on building and supporting high performing teams via feeback, coaching, and leveraging all the skills and abilities being brought to the table.

Individual contributors demonstrate their amazing ability to be Talent Magnets when they:

  • Provide a colleague with clear and in real time feedback about their performance or impact
  • Initiate growth and development conversations with their managers
  • Win Hearts and Minds so effortlessly that people are inherently drawn to be around them/work with them

And people leaders can show their commitment to being Talent Magnets when they:

  • Initiate growth and development conversations with their employees
  • Explicitly commit resources (time, support, finances) to an employee’s learning and development
  • Invest in their own development, growth and self reflection so that they can improve their ability to be talent magnets
  • Engage in ‘boundaryless’ growth and development conversations with employees- committing to keeping amazing talent within the D2L family, even if it means losing that person’s position on their team

Listen, attracting talent is only step one.

This alone won’t do enough to ensure that D2L is equipped with the skills that we need to achieve our goals. Why? Refer back to #1 above. Once someone has chosen to do the best work of their lives with us, there continues to be much work to be done to support, engage, develop and retain that level of talent. Frankly, the work has only just begun. Secondly, we can only obtain so many of our rockstar D2Lers from ‘outside.’ Sometimes, our best bet is to grow and nurture from within.

So….Let’s Work on It!

What can you do to be even more of a Talent Magnet?

  1. At D2L, we’re lucky to have a Performance Coaching Course which houses our Quarterly Check In forms (a voluntary tool to help guide coaching conversations including a question about growth and learning opportunities), access to on demand coaching skills webinars and a list of D2L coaching champions that you can leverage and other resources. To become a stronger Talent Magnet- consider starting with humbly assessing your own coaching and feedback skills. Seek out similar learning opportunities both within and outside of your organization.
  2. People managers may want to consider being much more explicit, targeted and direct with their support for people’s attendance at learning opportunities by actively forwarding any internal or external learning opportunities to employees. The message of “you’re worth it,” “I support you,” and “we invest in the growth and development of our people” can be intensely powerful.
  3. As D2Lers work on their professional or career development, a stop along their journey should definitely be our D2L Competency Library. These competencies describe the skills, behaviours and attitudes required for each role at D2L, helping us all understand what’s expected in the job we have today — or the one we aspire to! Look for a similar resource at your company. Review the competencies listed for your role and consider how you may want to grow/develop. Sneak a peak at another role’s competencies and consider what you may need to do for a lateral or horizontal move. Equipped with some of this information, you can better target your learning and development opportunities and have a more informed conversation with your Manager.

We want D2L to be the place where people do the best work of their lives. That requires our people managers to be actively supporting the growth and development of our people (and themselves) and individual contributors to do the same. Good luck!

**We have set Be Talent Magnets as one of the necessary leadership competencies here at D2L. We are humble enough to know that simple saying something doesn’t make it so. We recognize and celebrate those who do it well. We tell the stories of what good looks like. We are embedding the competencies into our onboarding programs. You’ll see them in our job descriptions. We’re developing learning opportunities to allow these capabilities to be strengthened in our formal and informal leaders alike. We continue to work at holding each other accountable by increasing our opportunities to provide each other regular and in the moment feedback. Sometimes we succeed and some days…..Meh….Sometimes this stuff is easy. Sometimes, it requires a bit more bravery. But it’s worth it all of the time.***

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