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The Talent Advantage: How to Attract and Retain the Best and the Brightest

ISBN: 978-0-470-45056-7
203 pages
June 2009
The Talent Advantage: How to Attract and Retain the Best and the Brightest  (0470450568) cover image



"The Talent Advantage gives each of us the opportunity to learn new ways to accelerate leadership development. Do yourself and your employees a huge favor—invest your time in reading this book."
—PETER BLAKE CEO, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers

"The Talent Advantage is the quintessential road map for anyone who wants to become a successful business leader!"
—BJORN MOLLER CEO, Teekay Corporation

"Drawing on a wide variety of practical examples, the authors explain how to create extraordinary leaders through effective succession planning. The book is a fantastic mix of stories, wisdom, and practical advice."
—CRAIG CAMPBELL Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

"The Talent Advantage will make you think about talent management in a new way. The book is full of practical strategies that can be applied immediately to strengthen your talent pool."
—PAUL WILSON President, Mark's Work Wearhouse

"Talent is an essential competitive advantage in the new economy. This book is full of practical tips and techniques to give companies an edge in the war for talent."
—CHAD HILEY Vice President, Human Resources, Barrick Gold Corporation

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Table of Contents



About the Authors.

Chapter 1 Why Leaders Must Fight the Battle.

Human Resources is to Talent Search as Airplane Food is to Fine Dining.

Strong leaders attract strong people.

Threatened subordinates sink the ship.

Staff functions are, well, staff functions.

Would YOU be hired by your own HR department today?

Chapter 2 The Five Failings of Non-Extraordinary Leaders (and their cures).

The Leaders’ Dysfunctions Become Everyone’s Dysfunctions.

Priorities: Not making the priority list.

Assessment: Not knowing it if you tripped over it.

Exemplar: Setting the wrong example (cognitive dissonance).

Connections: Career development divorces succession planning.

Women: Not understanding male filters.

Chapter 3 The Three Priorities of the Talent-Seeking Leader.

How to Accelerate and Simplify the Search for Top People.

Winning the war for talent: People.

Strategy development: Involving the right people.

Strategy execution: Creating a culture of accountability for results.

Chapter 4 Talent is More Than Pure Performance.

We’re Not Talking About Performing Seals.

What is talent and why does it matter?

The difference between good and outstanding.

Talent “outs”.

Assessing your resources: The talent test.

Chapter 5 The Semi-Renewable Resource.

You Can Replant Trees, but Talent Doesn’t Grow so Easily.

If talent were readily renewable, every company would be excellent.

Trees don’t move, talent does.

Talent isn’t forever—it can obsolesce.

The last thing you need is parity.

Chapter 6 Talent Is Attracted, Not Recruited.

The Myths of Corporate Recruiting.

Competing by dollars is silly and expensive.

Why “most desired” lists don’t matter.

Maximizing application of talent drives up attraction.

“Shanghaied” sailors eventually mutiny.

Chapter 7 Competitive Advantage Is All Around You.

Talent Builds Advantage From the Inside Out.

Approaching the marketplace from a position of strength.

The value of a strong bench.

The power of human and intellectual capital.

Why talent is often subsumed.

Chapter 8 The Process of Retaining Talent.

Attraction is Useless Without Nurturing and Development.

Nonfi nancial incentives and motivators.


The dynamic of skills, experience, knowledge, and behavior.

Emotional connections.

Chapter 9 The Aerodynamics of Leadership.

Creating an Arrow and not a Flying Barn.

You may be on the horse, but do you know where it’s going?

Strategy as a daily guide and filter.

Accepting dissent but not rebellion.

Micro- and macro-managing.

Chapter 10 Counterintuitive Development.

Focusing on Top Talent, not Remedial Help.

Minimizing dysfunctional human resource investments.

Recognizing the all-stars.

Creating accountabilities for development.

Sharing success and credit.

Chapter 11 Six Strategies to Win the War for Talent.

Winning Mere Battles is Insufficient.

Create a leadership style that is consistent and transparent.

Create accountabilities for talent creation.

and retention down the line to attract, retain, and develop talent.

Marry career development and succession planning.

Become the leading advocate and avatar for top talent acquisition.

View talent holistically, embracing life balance.

Accept nothing less than extraordinary leadership and talent.


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