Insight / Opinion

Look down.
It’s where your true talent lies.

Businesses thrive when there is great leadership at all levels. However it’s easy for senior management to become dazzled by the promise of ‘top talent’ or fixated on upper-hierarchy succession. They fail to peer deeper within their enterprise for the budding leaders who can brighten every far-flung corner with ideas and inspiration, up and down the scale.

When you seek tomorrow’s leadership, cast the net wide, and cast it deep. That doesn’t mean training everybody – the most promising candidates will always rise to the surface – but by exposing a broad population to leadership development you will tease out great potential that might otherwise be overlooked. Meanwhile the trickle-down effect will raise leadership quality across the company as a whole.

Be prepared to re-think the rulebook when recruiting candidates.

  • Qualifications and track record are not everything.
  • Emotional intelligence – the ability to control yourself and influence others – is a vital skill when arming your business to deal with a complex, turbulent and unpredictable future. You may not find it where you expect.
  • Look for those dexterous in adapting to change, able to learn rapidly from experience, and who model your organisational values.
  • Caution yourself against ‘casting to type’ – cloning the leaders and managers you already have.

For delegates on our Emerging Leaders programmes it’s often a surprise to them that they’ve been chosen – and that’s a good sign.
When we put together a High Potential leadership programme with clients it will be based around four flexible stages and generally spread over six months to two years. Those stages will include the selection and preparation of candidates, an initial two to four day launch event, work based learning and a thorough review.

The initial launch days will be intensive and supportive, bringing together learning teams that will ultimately form your talent pool. Delegates will leave buzzing with ideas, but the real advances will come when they’re back in the workplace. They’ll need the close support of a line manager, further coaching and mentoring is highly recommended, and most importantly the organisation needs to ‘buy in’ to the programme at the highest level for it to be successful.

When fully embraced, programmes such as these form the beginning of a leadership pipeline that will carry your business forward and deliver benefits lasting many years.

Our High Potential programme is a good example of where a bespoke course is the best solution. Discovering all we can about your organisation and the challenges it faces enables us to create a tailor made programme that can range from short, high impact workshops to individual master classes for directors and senior management to an organisation-wide ‘upgrade’ of leadership skills and understanding.


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