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How Elite Leaders Find (and Keep) Good Talent

When elite leaders find productive help, they focus on recruiting the people who fit the culture of their organization and are prepared to contribute at high levels quickly, and sustain their addition of value. Take take the time and invest resources to identify people who are motivated, experienced, credentialed and possess unique transformational insights by virtue of having been in the business, field or profession for years or sometimes, decades.

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Landing these gems requires onboarding with incredible insight and acumen. But all too often, something disappointing happens. You discover that these talented professionals may not be performing up to your expectations. They are not fulfilling their role as expected, or as they represented they would when you interviewed or hired them. That’s a problem. 


How can you mitigate this challenge? 


How can you, as a leader, find and keep good talent that will perform and exceed expectations? 


There are several things that can be done, starting with “surprise, surprise,” YOU! Everything starts with the leaders and hiring managers of organizations and departments. Here are a few ways you can find and keep good talent:


Model What You Want. The first thing is becoming crystal clear about the standards of performance and the standards of conduct required for people to perform exquisitely and with excellence. Next, be clear about the attitudes you need to demonstrate, and model the attitudes you expect from your team. You need to believe in yourself and believe in the extraordinary possibilities of your team members. This includes behaving and communicating in ways that embody irresistibility (link to book). 

Every moment of every day, you as a leader, must demonstrate what you want from the people who work with you. This includes conversations (link to irresistible communication e-book). And it surely includes when you interview and hire someone. You need to illustrate and demonstrate what you want based on the philosophy, the values, and the culture in your department and organization.

  • To what extent are you not just saying what you desire but modeling it?

  • What stories are you telling of good and great accomplishments?

  • What examples are your sharing of high performing team members?

  • What are the behaviors and attitudes that are not acceptable and won’t be tolerated?

  • What will happen to the detriment of all when bad behaviors compromise integrity?

  • What are the standard expectations for performance and conduct throughout your department?

  • How are you representing all of this in your speech, demeanor, actions, countenance, and conversations? 

Contribute To the Onboarding Process. It’s up to you to be part of creating and implementing a rigorous, very well-mapped out onboarding process. One that is repeated when new hires come onboard, for the next twenty-four to thirty-six months. This can’t be a one and done or something employed later in the term. It has be shared and discussed, and yes, enforced when the person comes on board. It also has to be occurring as they come onboard or rather, demonstrated by you and your team. They need to see and believe there is something to this that’s woven into the culture, not something that’s unique to them as a new hire. It must be an ongoing process throughout the organization for top leadership and for all employees regardless of their tenure. 

  • How are you involved in creating an onboarding process?

  • In what ways is your onboarding process tied to your culture?

  • Does everyone understand this is the best way to understand what is expected of them on an ongoing basis?

  • Is it applied across the board and up the ranks?

  • Is it applicable and helpful, or is it simply fun and games or a waste of time?

  • What has the feedback been on the onboarding process?

  • What needs to happen to make it most valuable to everyone?  

Design a Roadmap for Success. Starting with your onboarding process, you should take a critical role in designing a roadmap for success for all employees. From the first day, to training programs, to leveling up skills, you don’t need to micromanage team lead or human resources officers. But they should present to you models and support them with substance that you can stand behind whole-heartedly. The professional development process shouldn’t be one that just checks boxes but rather builds enthusiasm, learning, skills, confidence, and multi-faceted effectiveness. Your internal training and development programs must include descriptions of the cultural ideals, standards of performance, goals, aspirations, and visions of the organization.

Other elements that should be understood by new hires and all team members are the necessary skills and competencies required for team building, teamwork, productivity, effective management, leadership, along with the technical aspects of the various jobs, and roles of each team member. A thorough entrenchment in these elements will help all employees, especially new hires, feel comfortable in their new roles. More importantly, it sets them up for success.

  • Is what you have laid out sufficient?

  • Is all that is covered in new hire materials and policy and procedure manuals important, easily understood, and useful?

  • Is it clear designed to commit to the well-being and overall success of new hires?

  • Is the roadmap designed to help all team members succeed personally, professionally, and financially? 

These three steps are just the beginning in a hiring and retainment process. While most leaders show up for the last interview then expect the human resources department to handle the rest, those leaders who value success are more intimately involved in the process. They know that in order to find the best talent, they must be a partner in the hiring process. They must also be a partner in onboarding.


Finding and keeping great talent requires intentional, diligent work. It requires hands-on effort from leaders. It requires you to give before you receive and to commit so that you, your new hire, and your organization will gain high-return benefits for a long time to come. 

Renwick Brutus' career has spanned roles as research economist, investment advisor, entrepreneur and consultant. He holds an MBA from Fordham University and has been recognized for his outstanding achievement in sales and business leadership. Today, Renwick applies his unique blend of business strategy and interpersonal skills to help individuals prosper and companies grow. He owns multiple companies and is in great demand to consult with business leaders. Contact him by email  and LinkedIn.


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