Strategies to develop your top talent

Archive for the ‘Models’ Category

Speaking the same language

Managers continue to miss the sometimes subtle but often-times obvious ways that they are failing to communicate with the employees they manage.

This came home to me in a fresh way back in April when I was training a group of about 50 managers with China Telecom.  They were gathered from across different cities in China and they were at different levels in the organization, some front-line supervisors of employees and some of them director-level managers of other managers.

China Telecom (more…)

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Three dimensional leadership

When people describe leadership they often use contrasting concepts:  either command and control, or servant leaders.  Others contrast hard-edge management by the numbers with a softer and emotionally intelligent “coach.”  Even personal styles are seen as either loud, direct and aggressive, or quiet, indirect and reflective.  When leaders reflect on their own expressions of leadership, I’ve noticed they also tend to self-define in contrasting terms.

When we frame leadership in these either/or bipolar contrasts, we tend to get more of the same:  two dimensional leadership.  It’s either black or white, hard or soft, aggressive or reflective.

It’s time we embrace three dimensional leadership.  We value leaders primarily for their 1) good judgment,  2) decisions and 3) their ability to craft and communicate a compelling vision that others want to follow.  Since these are all part of the domain of value, I turn to the foremost expert in valuation and value analysis for some guidance. (more…)

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Culture clearly plays a part in leadership and how it is expressed in different places.  People who live or move within different cultures encounter these differences and know they are real; the words to accurately describe or understand the differences, however, are often lacking.  We resort to general observations or broad-brush statements that are riddled with exceptions.

The experiences of leaders in different countries clearly shape them.  Two researchers looking at leaders in China, India and Singapore noted difference in challenging assignments, developmental relationships, dealing with hardships, education and personal experience.  All of these influences shape individuals into the leaders they are, and gaining an appreciation for each individual’s personal biography is insightful and essential for understanding their own expression of leadership with its gaps and its strong areas.

One way of understanding leadership differences is through behavior styles.  (more…)

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I’ve advocated many times for an “evidence based” approach to management and business.  Too often I come across people who are getting acceptable results but when pressed to explain, they clearly don’t know why it’s working.  When they stop getting results, they don’t know what to change or do different.  That’s why I urge people to test your assumptions, take accurate measurements, keep score, notice what’s working–and what isn’t.   I believe it is crucial to avoid learning the wrong lessons, which happens when we draw conclusions about our successes and failures that are not based on the facts, but on our prejudices, assumptions, or a strong-minded person’s opinion.

brown_bear_by_marshmallow1We also have to guard against mistaking our measurements and our models with the whole picture.  There’s always more than what we can see or measure, and we need to avoid wearing self-made blinders.  It’s in the hidden spaces that wild and chaotic forces lurk.


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Talent and the culture factor

top-talent-1What kind of companies tend to keep top talent?  Those that pay a lot or are leaders in their field?  What about those who have an engaging culture?  Let’s take a moment to look at both of those possible answers and see what part culture plays in attracting, developing and retaining top talent. (more…)

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50 Classics

For those of you intently focused on developing your top talent I recommend the following resource as a guide.  It tells you where to look for inspiration, original ideas, the great thinkers.

Tom Butler-Bowdon has put together 50 Classics of Success, Self-Help, Spirituality, Psychology and now Prosperity.  That’s 250 books total… (more…)

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The Five Fields of Leadership

Here’s my model of Leadership Levels or what I call “Fields of Leadership.” I still need to show examples of these and work them out in more detail, but here they are in outline form. Leadership Fields are the primary domains where one exercises leadership. Leadership in one area can help one develop leadership in another domain, but it doesn’t guarantee that this will happen. Each field has its own set of skills, competencies and mindsets that go along with it. High levels of Thought Leadership don’t automatically make one gifted in Interpersonal Leadership. My thinking is still developing on this topic; I’ll post more here so stay tuned.


Leadership can be expressed on many different levels, and each field of leadership has its requisite skills and competencies.  The five fields of leadership are:

1. Personal Mastery:  Self-Awareness, Vision, Integrity and Self-Control

2. Interpersonal Skill:  Empathy, Influence, Communication, and Contribution

3. Thought Leadership: Observation, Analysis, Learning/Integration, and Sharing

4. Group Endeavor: Organization, Meeting Discipline, Execution, Collaboration and Teambuilding

5. Systemic Leadership: Vision for Future, Organizational Design, Culture and Values, Strategy and Transformation

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  • Filed under: Leadership, Models