The people we hire, and the focus we put on their development as leaders, are critical to P&G ’s ability to innovate and compete. Nothing I do will have a more enduring impact on P&G’s long-term success than helping to develop other leaders.

A.G. Lafley, CEO, Proctor & Gamble

For too many companies, recruiting and hiring are need-based – there is an opening because someone left or there is a need for some function, and the goal of recruiting is to fill the need. In today’s fast-changing business environment, this is too short-sighted a view.

For the best companies, recruiting and hiring are seen through a strategic lens where current needs are looked at in light of what the organization will need in the future and hiring is not only to deal with today’s needs but also with developing for the needs of tomorrow.

Strategic recruiting looks at three dimensions: Talent Mapping, Talent Management, and Leadership Development.

  • Talent Mapping is a strategy that is used by businesses to plan for short-, medium- and long-term talent acquisition. Talent mapping involves identifying the capabilities, experience and potential of current employees and aligning those with the growth strategy to reveal talent gaps and development needs.
  • Talent Management is the systematic process of identifying the vacant position, hiring a suitable person, developing the skills and expertise of a person to match the position and retaining them to achieve long-term business objectives.
  • Leadership Development is the process which helps expand the capacity of individuals to perform in leadership roles within organizations. Leadership roles are those that facilitate execution of an organization’s strategy through building alignment, winning mindshare, and growing the capabilities of others.

Talent mapping can be seen to go hand in hand with strategy development to determine what talent will be needed to achieve strategic outcomes and when and where those talent needs will be deployed. Talent management, then, involves identifying who amongst current personnel has the potential to fulfill those needs, and if no one is identified from current staff, then locating new hires who have or can be developed to meet them.

Leadership Development can be seen as a special case of talent management, specifically focusing on leadership as the skill set to be developed. We are speaking here about leadership as distinct from management, as the two involve distinct skills and approaches. As Peter Drucker once said, management is doing things right — improving operational performance, maximizing revenues, and reducing expenses while increasing artistic production values and audience appreciation. Leadership is doing the right things — setting organizational priorities and allocating human and fiscal resources to fulfill the organization’s vision.

While management competencies can be taught, the ability to lead must first be identified and then developed. Leadership development requires a long-term commitment to a structured program that will develop your talent into the kind of leaders that will take your organization forward, and it begins with a combination of assessing current talent and making leadership a key part of recruiting new personnel.

One of the most common mistakes made, is to recruit and promote employees based on their job skill rather than their readiness to lead. While high performing individuals need management skills, they also need the determination and commitment to inspire others and the ability to have a positive impact on the culture of your organization.

Here are some of the best and proven strategies to recruit new leaders and to develop leaders within your organization:

  • Recognize potential
    • Emerging leaders can exist at all levels of your organization. It is important to know the leadership skills and traits that you are looking for. Set clear criteria around the competencies and expectations required to identify and evaluate those individuals who are demonstrating these qualities. Ensure your managers are on the lookout for potential talent and make the leadership development of others a performance measure for existing leaders.
  • Sell your vision
    • To attract and retain your best employees it is fundamental that they believe in the vision of your organization. It is important to be transparent and share your organization’s goals, strategy and the role your employees play in making that happen.
    • Creating a culture whereby your people are invested in the work they do, can easily contribute ideas and feedback, and understand their contribution to the overall success of your organization, will ensure they feel valued and believe in what you are trying to achieve.
  • Create development opportunities
    • It is essential to give emerging talent the right tools, resources and opportunities to develop their leadership skills and demonstrate the traits and behaviors you are looking for in a potential leader

Your talent acquisition leaders are often skilled at identifying leadership potential and/or on communicating your organization’s commitment to leadership development. When the hiring market limits options, a recruiting firm that understands your talent map and your organization’s strategy can be invaluable in filling your “leadership pipeline.”


BrainWorks is a prominent boutique executive search firm offering a 29-year track record of successfully sourcing and placing top talent. By harnessing proven strategies, collaborating with stakeholders, and leveraging a diverse and talented candidate network, BrainWorks helps businesses find, attract, and ultimately hire talented professionals that create differentiated results. To learn more about how Brainworks can help you, contact us.

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