An Integrated Approach to Leadership Development: Spotting Talent


By letitiavandermerwe, 29 August, 2016

"Spotting-talent-is-one-of-the-essential-elements-of-great-leadership" -  David McCullough

It is not news that building and developing top talent should be a critical priority for today’s successful organisations. Figuring out how to do it faster, better, and earlier may soon become a significant competitive advantage. It is so easy to get leadership talent identification wrong. Spotting leadership talent is a minefield, as it is cluttered with our own perceptions and biases around what we think good leadership means.

There are a number of myths organisations believe about talent which need to be discarded:

  • If we assess and develop talent we will be all right.
  • Past performance is a predictor of performance in a more complex role.
  • Talent is only about success and exceptional achievement.
  • You can “microwave” talented people to make them ready quicker.

Organisations identify talent based on a combination of desired or ideal criteria related to the job profile. Some of these criteria have included physical attributes (where applicable), intelligence, experience, past performance, competencies, characteristics, skills and knowledge. Increasingly, organisations find that these criteria are no longer effective predictors of successful performance.  The new question to ask is not whether the company’s employees and leaders have the right skills; it’s whether they will be able to learn new ones.

From a leadership talent spotting we suggest the process starts with:

  • Defining the organisation leadership capacity requirements for the now and the future;
  • Determining the current status; and
  • Articulating the gaps.