Approximate reading time: 2.8 minutes

Top talent expects to be appreciated and even to get its own way. If not, well there is usually some other place to go, if necessary.

Michael Geoghegan, chief executive of HSBC is clearly top talent who knows his own mind. According to insiders he threatened to resign from the bank (since denied) unless elevated to the more exalted role of chairman.

What should a company do when its top talent plays an ace? More to the point what does it say about HSBC and how it gets the best from its top talent?

Given that plenty of people of ability would happily sit in his CEO chair, the most obvious course was for HSBC to call Mr Geoghegan’s bluff—which is what seems to have happened.

This being banking, naturally he will apparently walk away in the direction of a new bank, mainly to deposit the several millions he is expected to extract in compensation,

How far you pander to the demands of your top talent is a perennial issue.

So too is the wider challenge of getting it to reach peak performance. What exactly will light someone’s fuse and get them delivering their personal best?

This challenge will be familiar to most HR practitioners, whether one talks about the CEO or simply the rest of the employees. Performance management is high on many agendas.

Lighting the Fuse: Generating Peak Performance, a Practical Guide just published by Maynard Leigh Associates takes a penetrating look at what sets people on the road to delivering their absolute best.

It offers practical wisdom drawn from the research and experience of managing peak performers across a wide range of activity.

Anyone wanting to actively tackle the issue of helping someone perform at their best will find plenty of tips and stories to stimulate their own approach to this perennial people challenge.

In some ways, peak performance might well be re-cast as “Beyond Engagement” since for many working in this area, engagement by itself is not enough.

That is, it is essential to have engagement, but this alone does not necessarily produce outstanding performance.

So what does create peak performance? In Lighting the Fuse, Maynard Leigh highlights a variety of pointers, including:

·         Know what is driving the person towards wanting to reach a peak.

·         Help the individual make the personal decision to excel—that is, make the commitment.

·         Define the vision in as concrete terms as possible.

·         Evolve a structure or framework for tackling peak performance.

·         Contact personal passion through: practice, competence, confidence, appreciation.

·         Discover what allows the juices to flow and energy levels to rise.

·         Create conditions so that a person can be in their zone, where they can excel.

More of these and to download the complete report CLICK HERE