Nurturing your talent


Some ideas for investing in and developing the people who are essential to your business growth and success.

Over the bank holiday weekend I visited the Tulip Festival at Pashley Manor, a wonderful garden on the Kent/East Sussex border which boasts 20,000 tulips at this time of year. A wonderful sight – and well worth a visit, says Hilary Jeanes of PurpleLine Consulting.

One of the things that struck me is how in the beds of colour-coordinated tulips there is often one lone tulip of a different variety which really stands out. I’ve also noticed the same thing in municipal plantings – on roundabouts, for instance. It seems to show up more with tulips than with other types of plants.

Quite what the result of the general election will have on business and organisational life will be revealed over the coming months, but I do think that people generally are more positive about prospects for the future.

There are reports in the press of people starting to think about their next career move. People are emerging from survival mode – doing what is required to keep their job – to recognising that they have more choices. This leads them to focus on what they want from and how they can get more personal satisfaction in their working life. That 70s concept of the psychological contract between an employee and his/her employer is starting to be mentioned again, recognising that the balance is shifting, as it always does when the economy goes from boom to bust or the reverse.

While the uncertainty persists, take the opportunity to think who stands out in your flower bed. Like the lone tulip of a different variety, there will be people who stand out in your business or your team. Maybe they stick out like the proverbial ‘sore thumb’ for the discomfort they bring you or others, or more likely it’s because they contribute something different that you value – a positive attitude, a different experience or skill or refreshing ideas.

So, continuing with the metaphor, who are your lone tulips? And what are you doing to make the most of the difference that they bring to retain them for the future of your business? They will be the ones who find it easiest to move on, at significant cost to you and your organisation. Providing them with the right environment – the equivalent of soil, light and water - would help them flourish and remind them of the benefits of remaining with your organisation.

Here are some suggestions for a proactive approach to retaining your best people, many of which involve little or no investment:

  • Start a dialogue with them.
  • Give them feedback about the skills and attributes you appreciate most and help them to understand where their strengths lie.
  • Find out what their goals and aspirations are
  • Assess how they fit with your own needs and future business strategy
  • Agree a realistic plan of action which you can review with them on a regular basis as part of your performance management.
  • Offer them support to achieve or identify their goals. This could involve giving them new experience or opportunities, encouraging feedback from others (formally or informally) or providing other development opportunities like a job swap.
  • Encourage them to identify a role model or mentor who is in the type of job they aspire to and meet with them to find out what is their recipe for success.
  • If you are willing to invest in them, consider coaching as a way of building their capability. Where would our best sportspeople be without their coaches?  A flourishing business is one which provides its customers with what they want and having the right people in place to deliver that business is essential.

These activities work for everyone. We can’t all be the lone tulip – and indeed many of us don’t want to be. But we can all be happy and successful in our work with the right environment and support. And that doesn’t always mean more money. There are huge benefits to be reaped whatever business you are in.


Contact me on 01763 245323 or email for a no obligation discussion on how you can provide effective support to enable your people to flourish.

Hilary Jeanes, director of PurpleLine Consulting, provides coaching and consultancy to enable organisations to realise the potential of their people.

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Working with you to realise your potential at work by

- getting clear about your strengths and aspirations
- increased confidence and self belief
- identifying and securing your ideal job
- supporting you to thrive and enjoy your life.

Leadership and career coaching for individuals.
Coaching & mentoring for HR leaders and practitioners.
Coaching senior leaders in isolated roles.
Coaching individuals to design the life you'd love on retirement.
Meeting and workshop facilitation.

Hilary Jeanes (trading as PurpleLine Consulting Limited)