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This Week’s Focus: Last weekend my wife and I were fortunate enough to attend a friend’s 50th birthday party at a bar on the beach in Cannes. It was a wonderful evening and it was great to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a while. One ex-colleague I chatted with – we’ll call him ‘Tom’ – was transformed from his work persona. I had always thought that ‘Tom’, a short, balding middle-aged man, was a likeable guy, if a little reserved. Not on Saturday. I guess it’s fair to say that ‘Tom’ was the life and soul of the party – dancing, singing, hugging, kissing, joking – so much so that the singer of the band called him ‘Gorgeous Tom’!

The simple truth is that you don’t always appreciate the full personality or the full potential of your people. When Richard Baker became CEO of Boots the Chemists in 2003 he decided to replace the Retail Director he spotted Alex Gourlay running an HR project.

As Richard told me when I was researching my new book, First & Fast, “I thought, this guy gets it. He knows how the company works, he’s a pharmacist and a shopkeeper, and he’s likeable. I’m sure he can help get the juices flowing in the business again.” When Baker left Boots, Gourlay stepped up to become the CEO of Boots and is currently running the Walgreens drugstore business in the USA.

Similarly, I’m working with a client where a new Managing Director has removed the under-performing Production Director and promoted the factory manager to that position. For years the new director’s desire to improve the factory’s performance had been thwarted by the previous incumbent’s inability and inertia. Now, however, she’s flying and leading a step-change in productivity that is energizing her colleagues and her department.

So, who are the ‘gorgeous’ people hiding in your organisation that have the potential, talent and energy to drive the next phase of growth of your business if only they had the opportunity?

Off The Record: You’re Gorgeous by Babybird

Because you’re gorgeous, I’d do anything for you

Because you’re gorgeous, our love will see us through

Because you’re gorgeous, I’d do anything for you

Because you’re gorgeous, I know you’ll get me through

© Stuart Cross 2016. All rights reserved.