This article is a tribute to Tom Peters, leadership guru, otherwise known as the “Red Bull” of management thinkers.


People Are Everything




Imagine a world in which leaders recognize that talent doesn’t just support the brand, it is the brand. So how does an organization become a talent magnet? Peters’s rules for becoming a talent-magnet organization start with PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST. Successful companies don’t just say ‘people are our most important asset’ they understand that people are everything.

Peters doesn’t mince words, “Pursuit of talent. Either it’s an obsession… or you’re not serious about it. Either you spend virtually all your time on it…. Or you don’t”. Leaders become masters at picking great people because they make it their number one priority. Why? With the right people in the right seats you don’t have to worry about the job getting done.


Talent Is In The Intangibles




So how do you pick top talent? Cowan has been in the talent game for 60 years and we support Peters’s perspective that talent is in the intangibles. When HR sits down to comb over hundreds, sometimes thousands, of applicants they are faced with the challenge of diving deeper than skills, responsibilities and education. Raw profile stats wont tell you a person’s attitude, ambition, or drive. At Cowan we’ve learned to search beyond the bullet points on a CV to question team fit, competencies and goals to understand why people do what they do. Experience is essential and cannot be overlooked but it won’t tell you who is the best. Being the best can be summed up in what you are WILLING to do to be the best. It’s about understanding the whole individual, not just the parts that fit the job description.


Becoming a Talent Magnet




Building an organization that attracts top talent is key in retaining the best people in your industry. As important as compensation might be, it’s not a deal breaker when talented people consider job opportunities. “The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated,” wrote William James, American Psychologist. Opportunity to advance, work-family balance, recognition, being a valued member of a team, respect and a show of gratitude for ones contributions are at the top of the list of what Top talent looks for when considering a new job opportunity – and the absence of one or more of these elements is often the reason companies fail to retain top talent.

Peters quotes Ed Michaels of McKinsey & Co.’s list of demands Generation-X talent look for when considering employment:
• Challenge
• Responsibility and trust
• Freedom, independence and control
• The opportunity to build individual human capital
• Being valued
• A compressed, clearly defined career path

Does your organization fit the bill? Competition for top talent is fierce. If you think these demands are too aggressive and over the top, think again. Unless you suffer from “too much talent” in your organization, it’s time to compete.

What do you think? How can companies attract and retain top talent?

Visit Cowan International job board today for global job opportunities with game changing companies.