Chapter 12Fostering craftsmanship excellence

Average players want to be left alone. Good players want to be coached. Great players want to be told the truth.

—Doc Rivers

Digital talent has a keen understanding that their value is closely tied to their skills. For this reason, they are particularly attuned to how well they can build their skills in their job. You may think: Isn't this true for all jobs? Yes, but it is particularly true for digital talent because the world of technology is evolving so much faster. Companies that can't deliver on this skill-building expectation shouldn't expect to keep their best people for long. There are two aspects of talent development where companies can support this aspiration: flexible career paths that accommodate the development of great technologists, and learning journeys tailored to their needs.

Flexible career paths

While some digital colleagues want to progress into general management roles, more than two-thirds of developers don't want to become managers. These individuals instead prefer to keep their craft sharp and pursue ever more sophisticated digital challenges.

For this reason, digital organizations often have both manager and expert career paths (see Exhibit 12.1). A dual track also relieves common promotion pressures, including having technical paths that are less explicitly competitive than managerial ones, and fixing some compensation challenges by allowing those at the top of the expertise track to have pay levels ...

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