How to build talent for the future by Paula Leach

By Guest Contributor Paula Leach

Author of Vantage Points, Paula Leach, explains what the key five Vantage Points are and how to use them to create a culture where employees can thrive.

I believe that all leaders can simplify the often complex role that they have.  Firstly, by focusing on the key point of leadership which is to coordinate resources and people to support the moment of something from A to B.  And secondly, by distilling their job into two main aspects:

  • Creating clarity
  • Getting out of the way and creating space for others.



Part of a leader’s responsibility to ‘Get out of the way’ is to nurture and develop talent in the team or organisation.  This is critical not only in support of a thriving and energising workplace where people can see progression and potential to grow, but it is a critical aspect of risk management as well for leaders to ensure there is continuity such that performance and delivery can be sustained over time.

At times, developing talent can seem like it is bound up in formal processes and at other times it can seem very subjective and personal.  To simplify this for any leader, developing talent involves both these aspects and the magic of an effective approach is the blending and cross referencing of both.



This is one end of the talent spectrum.  The starting point here is not about people, it is about the work that needs to get done.  Gaining clarity here requires objectivity and a focus on the specific work that the organisation will have in the future and what at the experiences, qualifications, skills and behaviours that are required for this work.  The work can be categorised into roles, however the risk is that once categorised into roles, we describe the person who is in that role today, rather than the work that will be required tomorrow.  Keep a future focus and base the descriptions of what is required based on that work.  This provides a reference point at one end of the spectrum.


This is the other end of the talent spectrum.  Based on the people that you have within the organisation today, what are they seeking in terms of career growth?  Honest conversations based on listening and discovery are important here and this end of the spectrum is all about individual people.  By listening to individuals (all individuals, not just those that current leaders may define as ‘potential’) a reference point at this end of the spectrum can be built which enables an understanding of who is in the organisation today and what are their capabilities and dreams.


One objective and about future work and the other fully immersed in the feelings and dreams of individuals. Building this picture at either end of the spectrum enables a leader to determine whether the organisation does have sufficient talent internally to meet the future needs of the organisation’s work.  Similarly, individuals having an understanding of the future work of the organisation may be able to define and refine their dreams and ambitions more clearly and with reference to something that they may not be able to see today.  This may also work back through to supporting a more ambitious and adventurous definition of the future work with future leaders engaging with and informing broader thinking.

With enquiry at both ends of the spectrum, a leader can determine who in the organisation requires what investment to help them to bridge the gap and prepare them for the future work.  It also enables a leader to identify gaps.  Finally, a very people-centric listening and discovery process ensures that any leader, consciously or unconsciously, does not miss out on future diverse talent simply because the parameters for growth were too restrictive from the start.


PAULA LEACH has developed a lifelong interest in the way people work, individually and collaboratively in organisations, to the best of their potential. In particular, Paula believes in the value of positive, human-centred, intentional leadership as the key enabler for individuals and teams to thrive. Over 25 years, Paula has built her experience across global multinational, large public sector and entrepreneurial growth organisations, holding the positions of Chief People Officer at the Home Office and Global Chief People Officer at FDM Group. She holds an MBA from Henley Business School and is a Fellow of the CIPD. Paula now runs her business, Vantage Points Consulting, specialising in her passion for unlocking the potential in people and organisations through coaching and business consulting. She is launching the Vantage Points Foundation in Autumn 2021 to support and mentor young women launching their dream careers.



Suggested Reading

Everyone who holds a position of leadership regardless of their experience or scale, has five key Vantage Points from which they can build positive momentum and high performance. This book introduces these Vantage Points and provides highly practical examples of how leaders can use these in their daily approach to leading teams of brilliant people.

Vantage Points, invites leaders everywhere to consciously broaden their awareness via the exploration of the key Vantage Points. With this heightened awareness, great leaders can learn to focus their attention on their two primary jobs: creating clarity and space for individuals and teams to thrive. Vantage Points is a resource designed to support leaders in becoming more intentional in their actions and human centred interventions to enable and celebrate the shared collective endeavour of their team

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