I’ve written often on the subject of leadership development and talent management because very few things in business can catalyze change and create sustainable growth like leaders who understand how to leverage their talent and resources. It takes more than charisma and subject matter expertise to be a leader, it also takes a keen understanding of how to create organizational leverage. In today’s post I’ll share some thoughts on how to maximize your talent and resources…

One of the main keys to generating organizational leverage is for C-suite executives and entrepreneurs to know how, when, where and why to deploy (or redeploy) talent and resources. It has been my experience that it is much easier to recruit talent or acquire resources than it is to properly deploy talent and allocate resources.

Jack Welch the former head of GE built a reputation as one of the great business leaders of this era. When asked how he transformed a lack-luster, institutional, global corporate giant into a dynamic culture focused on innovation and growth, Welch responded by saying; “My job is to put the best people on the biggest opportunities and the best allocation of dollars in the right places. That’s about it. Transfer ideas and allocate resources and get out of the way.” Welch clearly not only understood the concept of organizational leverage through proper deployment of talent and resources He mastered it.

I’ve heard it said that the role of a leader is to create and manage good followers. While there is an element of truth in that statement if this is what you aspire to as a leader it constitutes a complete underutilization of leadership responsibility. I believe great leaders will mentor and coach subordinates for the purpose of identifying and developing other great leaders.

By way of example when I was in the military I witnessed many of my peers who felt it was their job to exercise command by giving orders and having complete control over their subordinates. While these individuals had all the outward appearances of running a tight ship, their units often times displayed an inability to execute at a high level in times of chaos or without frequent and direct communication with their leader. In contrast I felt it was my responsibility to use my position of influence to transfer knowledge and experience for the purpose of developing subordinates into becoming leaders in their own right. I wanted to make sure that I developed troops that could think on their feet and take charge in the worst of situations assuming that I might not be available to lead them.

Ask yourself the following questions: What are your best markets? Who are your best clients? Where are your greatest opportunities? Where are your biggest challenges? What are your biggest threats? Where are you going to deploy your top talent? Where are you going to invest your resources? Where are you going to develop more talent? Have you identified the proverbial diamonds in the rough lurking in the shawdows of your organization? Where can you create more resources? If these answers are not clear in your mind it is likely that you are not getting the maximum leverage out of your talent or your resources.

It is very typical (although not very productive) to have too much talent or too much budget being wasted in areas of little or no return. Any great leader will periodically challenge his/her assumptions to test whether given the current environment they have the right mix of talent and resources applied to the right areas. If you have what is perceived as a great opportunity yet is seems to be stalled, immediately stop and evaluate the talent, resources, systems, processes, market dynamics, etc. to determine where to apply leverage to kick the initiative into high gear. By way of contrast if an initiative has been taken from concept to implementation and it appears to running smoothly you need to evaluate whether key talent and/or resources can be redeployed to other higher and better uses.

It is essential as a business leader that you have a clear vision from which you develop a definable mission that leads to an actionable strategy. It is through articulating your strategy that you will be able to tactically recruit and deploy the right talent and make the proper allocation resources at the right time for the right reasons. Your talent and resources are valuable and finite commodities that are far too precious to waste…