Episode 98: Discover and Develop Hidden Talent Pools

The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast

Published: January 4, 2023


Executives in every company we work with express concerns about their ability to attract and retain managerial talent. The solutions for most organizations are to either recruit young workers directly from school and invest in their development, pirate leadership talent from competitors, or find it internally. Of these alternatives, we strongly advocate that organizations first take a close look inside. This 90th Percentile Podcast episode discusses what organizations can do to discover and develop hidden talent pools.

Register for Zenger Folkman’s upcoming webinar, The Leadership Edge: Developing Your Company’s Hidden Talent Pools

Key Points

  • Organizations need to examine four hidden talent groups of highly talented and underutilized individuals who would be strong candidates for these future leadership roles: women, young supervisors, STEMM workers, and individual contributors.
  • Two traits where women outscored men to the highest degree — taking the initiative and driving for results — have long been thought of as particularly male strengths.
  • When I looked at our database of 17,000 worldwide leaders in our training programs who hailed from companies in virtually every sector of the world, I found the average age was 46.
  • CEO of container Store, “First-year full-timers receive 263 hours of formal training, compared with an industry average of about eight.”
  • Ironically, individual contributors are more influential than managers in training new employees because they teach basic skills or answer “on-the-job” questions.
  • Organizations are missing a great opportunity to retain these hidden talent groups, help them be even more influential, and to prepare a portion of them for key managerial positions in the firm. Peter Drucker once said, “The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things.”

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Discover and Develop Hidden Reservoirs of Talent– Article by Jack Zenger, Joyce Palevitz, and Joe Folkman