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"A Career is a Marathon More Than it is a Sprint"

Published Thu Mar 05 2020

"A Career is a Marathon More Than it is a Sprint"
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The worldwide talent development community is diverse. Our members bring a wealth of experience and insight to their work. We're spotlighting their stories.

Stephen Remedios has been a member of ATD since 2018 from India. Here's his story in his own words.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in several cities throughout India, changing schools and friends with every transfer that my father took. After studies in economics and management and a decade in sales and marketing roles, I discovered my true calling: enabling people to achieve their fullest potential in the domain of their biggest strengths. I spent the next decade working with people as a facilitator, coach, and consultant to help them achieve their goals.

I live in Bangalore, India with my wife and three boys. I spend most of my personal time indulging the diverse passions of my family. My wife loves gardening; my eldest, electronic dance music; my middle, tennis; and my youngest, word games and spelling bees.

What are your personal and professional goals?

My personal goal is to create the supporting conditions and scaffolding for everyone in my family to realize their fullest potential in an area of their choosing, which translates into giving them unique experiences that give them a glimpse into their future should they continue to work hard at their craft.

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At work, I strive to demonstrate the effectiveness of an engaged and enabled organization. Most organization transformations fail because the underlying culture isn’t addressed. There is a people dividend that isn’t being fully realized, and I make it my goal to champion this agenda.

What challenges have you had to overcome in your career?

Making the shift from sales and marketing to people strategy midcareer was a significant challenge that I had to overcome. When I began on my own as a trainer, facilitator, and coach, I did everything from arranging rooms to training in small towns in $10-a-night hotels. Over the years I gradually progressed from training tellers to CEOs. There were many moments of doubt along the way when I was tempted to go back to doing sales and marketing roles, but I resisted just long enough to get the next break.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve gained or experienced during your membership with ATD?

I have always found the State of the Industry reports useful to understanding global trends and the direction of the industry. I make it a point to attend an ATD conference every other year. It is the most efficient way to enhance your network and discover all the newest thinking in our field.

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Can you share any professional tips, specific to talent development, that you have picked up along the way?

I am always struck by the number of people who are living lives that someone told them they ought to be living. The key to talent development is a deep understanding of what you are working with. Executives with decades of experience struggle to articulate what their strengths are, what kind of work renews them, and what kind of people they do their most productive teaming with. Great talent development always begins with a grounded assessment of the individual that’s closely aligned with their perception of self. Once you have that baseline, the sky is the limit.

What’s a common misconception you see when it comes to talent development?

In talent development there’s this misconception that you can easily buy, build, borrow, or (ro)bot talent when people leave. Replacing quality talent is the hardest thing to do in a world where performance is more transparent than ever before. I often argue that you can clearly establish a talent to value mapping and ascribe revenue to a person with a few simple assumptions. Organizations don’t pay enough attention to their most important players.

Do you have any advice for people looking to further their careers?

Start by looking at the domains where you do your best work, where you are most energized, and where you whistle to work. Ask your peers and team what you do best. A career is a marathon more than it is a sprint. To get to the finishing line and have enough in the tank for a glorious retirement requires you to think of sustainability earlier rather than later in making career decisions. Building a career that allows you to use your strengths most of the time sets you up for success and sustainability.

What is your personal definition of talent development?

Investing in an appropriate manner to enable every individual in the organization to perform at their fullest potential in their jobs such that the organization outperforms.

How do you stay motivated?

Working with many clients who are looking to solve their unique challenges keeps me on my toes. The recent developments in the understanding of how the brain works and the growing stature of behavioral economics in making lasting behavioral change means that we live in exciting times. Being in this domain at this crucial time and having the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution is a huge motivation

How do you find meaning in your work?

In this work, you make a lot of friends and build relationships for life. I’m in touch with several people who I have coached or have run workshops for. They call me long after our business transactions are concluded. To know that I have made a difference to another fellow traveler no matter how small creates meaning in my life.

Have your own story to tell? Share it with us.

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