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Book Brief - One Page Talent Management by Marc Effron & Miriam Ort

Updated: Jul 23, 2022

I read One Page Talent Management in late 2018. My brain was hungry for input on all things talent development, and I ran across this brief book, which piqued my interest due to the simple + scientific approach the authors recommend. It's become a go-to reference, and one that I recommend adding to your professional library.

This Book Brief highlights three key points from One Page Talent Management, with a New Introduction: Eliminating Complexity, Adding Value that are important for us Talent Folk to keep top of mind. With a read through of the full book, you'll find plenty of thought leadership to apply to the talent practices in your organization. Especially relevant for the current journey at Southwest are guidance on performance management, competencies and talent reviews.

Remember, Book Briefs offer talent development-specific application from business, leadership and sundry books. Not a review. Not a synopsis. Three to five bullets that you can apply to your daily TD life.

1. Consider value vs. complexity. With every talent activity that you support, strive to reduce complexity and add value to your customer and the business.

  • Evaluate value vs. complexity in your next design or launch process. Before launching performance management for the new year for instance, start with a blank whiteboard. Strip out nice-to-have steps in the process - what's the bottom line need for performance management based on how your company uses ratings. Keep steps simple and geared to your customers, both managers and employees.

2. Create transparency and expect accountability. Starting with a bias for transparency and accountability supports openness and sets an expectation for leaders to proactively manage their talent and employees to own their own career progression.

  • A tricky talent activity that I am still working to figure out is how to equip leaders for an effective post-talent review discussion with their employees. On my white board, I'm starting with full transparency in the discussion between leader and employee on where s/he falls on a talent review. Equipping leaders for that conversation and creating accountability is where I want to focus with my team.

3. Cultivate a love for business and a production mindset + display courage. I love that these authors share my belief that our role is to fuel business results through talent. You do that in part by cultivating a knowledge and love for the business of your organization. Our job is one of talent production, oftentimes on a mass scale. And finally, it's tough and sometime lonely to be developers of talent - be courageous. Have the hard conversations, challenge the status quo and hold others accountable.

  • This one is a call to invest in yourself this year with personal development in one of these areas. Need to build business acumen? Take a class on financials or business strategy. Need to cultivate courage to have the hard discussions? Pick up a classic, like Difficult Conversations or Crucial Conversations. Or try a new approach such as Radical Candor.

And to tease your interest further in this book, a few other interesting topics the authors address are SIMple vs SMART goals, conducing a value-complexity audit and the science of employee engagement surveys.

Comments are good. Let us know a take-away that is valuable for your current talent landscape.


Effron, Marc, and Miriam Ort. One Page Talent Management, with a New Introduction: Eliminating Complexity, Adding Value. Harvard Business Review Press, 2018.

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