From John: Developing Your Beta Version

John Pembroke Photo

2 minutes

Here are a few tips on investing in the talent development needed to create your own future better self and that of your team.

A colleague recently shared an article with me titled, “A Nudge for Learners to Stay in a Continuous Beta State,” by Damodar Padhi. In it, Padhi writes about how we all have two versions of ourselves: alpha and beta. 

Our “alpha” is the version of ourselves that everyone can see. It is our steady state that we are recognized for within our current roles. In contrast, our “beta” version, just like for software, is always in progress, and there may be bugs to work out.

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This idea applies well to talent development within our organizations. In talent development our “alpha” is the talent that has helped us become the organization we are today—and the processes and programs that helped us acquire and nurture that talent. 

In contrast, our beta version of talent development is what we need to be refining and improving to best respond to today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. How will we recruit, hire, retain and develop ourselves and the rest of the talent the organization needs to move forward successfully in the future?

Here are a few tips on investing in your beta talent development:

  • Recognize your beta potential. Whether it is an internal leadership development program or an engagement initiative, a lot of effort goes into creating processes and systems to support your talent. With so much time and energy invested, it can be hard to step back and see how it could be more efficient or effective. Be okay with examining your current processes to see how they can be tweaked to be more effective. 
  • Make learning accessible. Support staff in their desire to boost their own beta versions by creating a culture that makes learning not only accessible but encouraged. Whether you have online or in-person training available—or you leverage idea-sessions that support peer learning—help staff understand that learning is key to growing. CUES Learning Portal offers CUES members access to content to support their learning whenever and wherever the urge to learn hits.
  • Know the needed skills. Understand what skills and behaviors are needed for staff to succeed individually and as a credit union today and in the future. What are the technical skills needed by your lenders or IT staff? What soft skills are needed by your current and future leaders? Nudge staff to work on their beta versions. They will eventually become the new alpha version of themselves and your overall organizational culture. CUES Consulting could help you.

In his article, Padhi writes, “The moment we refer to the beta version of a type of software, our antenna goes up. We assume there will be bugs. We assume it is not ready for release. We assume there would be risk in using it. All this is true. It means that the potential of the product has not been exhausted yet.”

The same is true of talent development. Continuous learning presents the opportunity to improve our beta versions into new, useful, organization-building, ROI-enhancing alphas.

Since joining CUES in March 2013, John Pembroke has played a leadership role in developing and launching a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. Under his guidance, CUES has revamped its membership structure, launched new institutes and introduced Elite Access™ Virtual Classroom, an innovative blending learning offering. Additionally, CUES has expanded its market further into Canada and the Caribbean. Pembroke’s experience includes 25 years in financial services, marketing and e-commerce. He also has served as chief marketing officer at PSCU Financial Services, St. Petersburg, Fla. Pembroke holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania and a MBA in Marketing and Policy Studies from the Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago. Pembroke also serves on the board of directors of the Goodman Community Center, Madison, Wis., whose mission is to strengthen lives and secure futures. 

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