In this session, we discussed talent acquisition, cultivation, and retention, with a particular focus on understanding the difference between “performance” and “potential” via the following articles:

We used these questions to guide the discussion:

  1. How can you best spot potential
  2. How can you adapt your management style to people’s individual needs
  3. What’s the right kind/amount of diversity among talent pools, how to get it, and how to sustain it?

Key issue in talking about talent is the difference between:

  • High Performance (performing their current job at a high level)
  • High Potential (having the potential to hold leadership positions and take the company forward)

High Performers are not necessarily the right people to be in leadership positions or in situations where a lot of flexibility is required (which is typically required of good leaders). High Potential people tend to have the following traits:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Insight
  3. Engagement
  4. Determination
  5. Flexibility

How do you retain high potential people who, besides pay, are typically seeking the following characteristics from their work:

  1. Autonomy (freedom to direct their own lives)
  2. Mastery (ability to excel at what they do)
  3. Purpose (yearning for their work to serve something larger than themselves)

One way to help in identifying and retaining high performance people is Stretch Development. Giving high potential people tasks that stretch them and allow them to grow.


Other issues that came up in discussions:

  • How do you provide space for people to do non-fee generating work? (what is the right balance)
  • How do you identify employees who are too focused on pleasing their boss but do not have good relationships with their team mates
  • Some employees may be good for network augmentation
  • Adam Bryant’s “The Corner Office” recommended
  • Using interviews to identify the right talent for your organization:
    • Brightspot often have role play interviews to help make the final selection but it is very time consuming
    • Other people have tried to put interviewees in a challenging interview situation but it hasn’t really worked out