Developing An Eye For Talent

American radio broadcaster Bob Edwards had it right when he observed, ‘People are always ready to admit a man’s ability after he gets there.”

Particularly in today’s media-influenced world, we can each point to a multitude of examples of how someone successful enough to become chief executive of a major global corporation, the coach of a well-known sports franchise, or the next big thing in entertainment is lavished with praise by others either unaware or unwilling to voice such lavish praise while he or she was on the way up.

First appointed, then anointed it seems. Of course, sometimes the hype and hyperbole about one’s accomplishments takes on mythical proportions, with the truth subject to all sorts of distortions.

While there are lots of reasons to celebrate stories of business achievement and incredible leadership success and influence, there are just as many good reasons to go in search of the next great performer before he or she is discovered by the rest of the world.

It’s a pity that in many organisations, the old adage about ‘You have to move out because you can’t move up’ is a reality and a real indictment of the utter failure of leadership development and succession practices within these enterprises.

One of the real tests of leadership acumen and ability for today’s business challenges is the question of whether any leader – for any role – has had a hand and played an active role in the coaching, mentoring and sponsorship of others in terms of their growth and development.

The very best leaders, and those most suitable for recruiting and promoting, are those who have committed themselves to letting others flourish, grow and learn and then move on to their own next challenge.

Developing an eye for talent requires your investment getting to know your subordinates’ strengths, weaknesses, hopes and fears and advocating for their advancement once they’ve proven their merit. It’s also a great way to pass knowledge to the next generation of managers and build your legacy as a leader.

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Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2013


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