Talent Management and Leadership Development: Interview With Craig Woodall

CraigWoodallCraig brings over 25 years of experience leading teams, projects, organizations, and individuals. With a background in engineering, project management, construction management, and operations management he brings a wealth of knowledge to any organization. His passion is Leadership Development, helping people and organizations grow by maximizing their leadership potential. Getting beyond the traditional ‘check in the box’ approach to leadership development and project partnering, he will take your team on a journey of discovery, learning about themselves and how their beliefs and behaviours shape the outcome of their enterprise. Supporting your team as they grow into a forward thinking, innovative, and dynamic group who are hungry for change and driven for success.

Editor: Please tell us a little about yourself – your career path and expertise

Craig: I grew up in the UK, left school at the age of 16 and joined a global engineering firm called Amec. After completing a technical apprenticeship, I returned to school and completed my engineering degree. After a number of years in engineering and project management, I was given the chance to relocate to Canada with the company, an opportunity I jumped at. Once in Canada, I progressed through a variety of roles, culminating in a senior leadership position, running the operations of the company from the Oakville office. After 3 years of believing that being at the top of the organizational chart made me the leader, I had my eyes opened and started to understand what real leadership was about. Over the next few years, I developed a passion for real leadership and helping others on their journeys which lead to me leaving to pursue my passion. I started my own Leadership Development company called Byng Leadership and have never looked back.

Editor: What topic will you be speaking about at the Canadian Talent Management Summit?

Craig: I will be speaking about Annual Performance Reviews and more importantly why I believe that our current approach is failing the very people that it is there to support, our employees. Some organizations have chosen to ditch the performance review all together which is an easy way of avoiding a really challenging problem.  I believe there is an alternative and will be presenting that at the summit.

Editor: Why is that an important topic to HR and Talent pros?

Craig: In a recent survey that I conducted, over 80% of the respondents confirmed that they had completed a performance review in the past 12 months but less than 30% of them thought it added any value to their ongoing development. That means we are spending massive resources on implementing systems that are benefitting very few people. HR professionals are tasked with policing the system to increase the completion rates in order to convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing. I believe there has to be a better way.

Editor: Please share 2 or 3 ‘influencers’ in the talent and recruitment space who you follow and tell us why:

Craig: That’s a difficult question to answer as I find that with all of the social media available I am constantly being ‘influenced’ on a daily basis. Some of my favourites include Drew Dudley and his views on how understanding and living your values could change the way we engage with our people and speed up the process of achieving alignment with organizational visions. Another key influencer for me is Geoff Smith, CEO of Ellis Don. His approach to leadership is often contrary to good management wisdom but as a result he has managed to create an engaged and empowered team. Dr John Grinnell (Grinnell Leadership) has also been a huge influence for me personally, teaching me about self-awareness and its role in real leadership and people development.

Editor: The HR Gazette is a big believer in the shift from traditional thoughts of HR to embracing modern HR as part of ‘people and culture‘. What does ‘people and culture’ mean to you? 

Craig: All good companies believe that ‘our people are our best asset’ but only the great companies actually follow though and create a culture that demonstrates that belief. Creating a culture does not happen overnight, it takes more than pretty posters in reception. It takes a commitment and belief from the very top of the organization. Once that belief is in place a culture can start to grow, it has nothing to do with policies or procedures and everything to do with how we treat people, on a human level.

Editor: What do you think will be the major developments in the Talent space to watch out for in the next 12 months and why?

Craig: I hear a lot of discussion about the next generation as they enter the workforce, talk of the ‘millennials‘ and ‘entitlement generation’ and I hope that we start to embrace them and get past our fears. While it is true that the next generation will have different values, beliefs and behaviours than others that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. In fact, we need fresh ideas and diverse thinking or our businesses will stagnate. We are faced with a choice, we can either make some minor incremental changes to accommodate them until they learn how things are done in the ‘real world’ or we can push for a lasting, ‘Deep Change’ that will involve us understanding their ‘new world’ and adapting to it.

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