Acquiring Talent Vs. Developing Talent

The best companies develop their leaders from the inside. Most executives that I discuss this with tend to say one and the same thing: that their highest performing leaders and managers have climbed the ladder—from entry level to senior management—learning the nuts and bolts of the business on the way.

When Fortune 500 companies and pre-IPO startups are acquiring companies just to get a hold of their teams, having a system in place to nurture and cultivate leaders from the inside might be your best bet for survival and growth. In the late 80s and early 90s, Sir Alex Ferguson was implementing a strategy to keep Manchester United on top of the game. The cornerstone of his plan was The Academy, an elite school that found promising (but inexperienced) talents and coached them into world champions. The Academy helped grow Giggs, Beckham, and Scholes into the players that they are today.

“There needs to be a cultural change in our game to allow managers the time to breathe,” Ferguson once said in a television interview1. “To develop a system where the supporters are going: Yeah, we’ve got five young kids for the first team, from the reserve or youth team, into the first team.” Like sports, like business, it seems.

Sure, acqui-hires and external candidates have the shiny resumés and that superstar status that no employee can beat. Their allure makes it easier to neglect the entry-level, front-line, and middle-level leaders who are continuously making your company a better place to work in and work with. At the end of the day, it’s their effort that will help your company to navigate the twists and turns of today’s bumpy business environment.

So what are you doing to find and grow your leaders from the inside?

Footnotes

  1. Source: Sir Alex Ferguson backs homegrown quotas and tells ITV News football needs a ‘cultural change’, ITV News, last accessed on July 5, 2017 at http://www.itv.com/news/2015-09-22/ex-manchester-united-boss-alex-ferguson-backs-greg-dyke-over-increasing-quota-of-homegrown-players-in-premier-league/

Innovation Manager at ICB, a software company. Curious about the technology of business and the business of technology.