Talent Leadership: A book review by Bob Morris

Talent LeadershipTalent Leadership: A Proven Method for Identifying and Developing High-Potential Employees
John Mattone with Luiz Xavier
AMACOM (2013)

How a culture of capability, commitment, and alignment can help sustain effective talent leadership development

However different their respective circumstances may be, business leaders agree that identifying, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and then retaining the talented people they need are among the greatest challenges they and their organizations face. This is especially true of high-potential leaders. All organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas. Sometimes they can hire that talent but, more often than not, they must develop it. Throughout history, great leaders seem to have a “green thumb” for “growing” people. In Talent Leadership, a book written with Luiz Xavier, John Mattone offers “a proven method for identifying and developing high-potential employees.”

More specifically, he explains how and why organizations that excel in leadership assessment and development create and then sustain “a culture in which current and future leaders continuously develop capability (the competencies and skills to achieve high-impact results, “can do”), commitment (passion, drive, and motivation to do so, “will do”), and alignment (a leader’s “connectedness” to the given strategic vision of her or his organization, “must do”). How important is all this? Mattone notes that, within the next five years, 40-70% of all executives in most organizations will become eligible for retirement. “Yet high-potentials and emerging leaders — those most likely to rise and fill those highest positions — account for less than 8 to 10 percent of the talent pool. That’s [only] in the United States.”

Throughout his lively and eloquent narrative, Mattone makes skillful use of reader-friendly devices that include dozens of boxed insights and suggestions (e.g. “Developmental Suggestions You Can Give to Artists,” Pages 161-162), checklists of key points or stages of a process, Exhibits (e.g. “JMP Succession Management Map” ™, Page 110), and bullet point clusters (e.g. “Defining the Scope of Coaching Intervention (Awareness, Analysis, Action, and Achievement, Pages 208-211). These devices can facilitate, indeed accelerate frequent review of key material later.

In Chapters 7-10, Mattone introduces a psychodynamic model of executive maturity, the “Enneagram”; identifies and discusses three predominant leadership styles: Heart Leaders (Helpers, Entertainers, and Artists), Head Leaders (Thinkers, Disciples, and Activists), and Gut Leaders (Drivers, Arbitrators), and Perfectionists); and then in Chapter 11, explains how to integrate assessment results and executive coaching to accelerate and continuously improve leadership development.

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also listed to indicate the scope of the material that Mattone examines:

o The Essence of Talent Leadership (Pages xvii-xix)
o External and Internal Challenges (5-8)
o Suggestions on How to Use Competency Models (20-28)
o The Outer-Core Leadership Competencies (37-52)
o Coaching from the Inside Out (67-72)
o The Ten Elements of Positive Performance Management (77-79)
o Employees’ Roles and Responsibilities in Preparation (93-97)
o Major Steps in Coaching as a Leader (102-105)
o Assessment: Calibrating Performance, Potential, and Readiness (120-126)
o Breaking Down the Enneagram (130-139)
o Typical Executive Caching Applications (206-211)
o Transitioning to Individual Development Planning (219-231)
o Nine-Box Placement and Executive Coaching (231-234)
o Final Thoughts (239-241)

Before concluding this book, John Mattone provides three appendices within which the material can help his reader to diagnose the health of her or his human capital/talent management practice and diagnose, also, the health of their succession management program. Then he includes in Appendix C “The Mattone Leadership Enneagram Index” (MLEI) that enables his reader to identify predominant leadership styles as well as levels of executive maturity in those who are now being or will soon be coached.

No brief commentary such as mine possibly do full justice to the quality and value of the material in this volume. However, I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of it. Also, I hope that those who read my commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not to obtain and read this book. In that event, I hope what it offers will help you and your organization to identify, recruit, hire, onboard, and then retain the talented people needed now and/or in months and years to come. The key to the success of those efforts will largely depend on the quality of those centrally involved in the process, and, on whether or not your organization has a culture (“garden”) within which personal growth and professional development thrive.

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1 Comment

  1. 夏装连衣裙 on April 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    thanks for sharing.Talent Leadership: A book review by Bob Morris gave me much help.

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