The Art of Talent Spotting and Development
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The Art of Talent Spotting and Development

The Art of Talent Spotting and Development

In my previous article, I wrote about Entrepreneurship, the challenges and my personal experience. I concluded that not everyone was suitable to be one.

How do I as an Entrepreneur, spot and develop a possible talent?

Talent spotting and development is a management skill that is fine-tuned through experience. To attract the right candidates, I realize the Leader must have certain traits or focus. I have summarized my own emphasis below:

Lead by Example
-Quality over Quantity
-Know Your Style
-Personal Development
-Success Replication

Before I elaborate on these points, to put things into perspective, I want to start by giving a background information of myself. If anyone is to ask me how I end up where I am today, I would credit it to a big decision made in 2010.

Background

At 24 years old in 2010, I was an Auditor in one of the Accounting firms in Singapore. While struggling to achieve Work Life Balance and working towards Early Retirement, I soon realized that if I were to continue my career as an Auditor, I would not be able to achieve the few goals in life that I had set for myself. The main reason was due to the slow career advancement and salary increments.

I stumbled upon the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. In this book, he famously wrote:

“If you’re the kind of person who has no guts, you just give up every time life pushes you. If you’re that kind of person, you’ll live all your life playing it safe, doing the right things, saving yourself for something that never happens. Then, you die a boring old man.”

― Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Drawing inspiration from the book, there was nothing that motivated me more than having to overcome the challenges that stood in my way. I wanted to achieve my life goals which were to own a car, start a family, and finance my house, I had to take a risk at some point of time. An opportunity arose and I took a leap of faith to leave my stable job to start a career in Prudential.

The Start


I started off as a Financial Consultant in 2010. My goal was clear and simple, to get myself promoted to Financial Services Director (FSD) in the shortest time possible. By the end of my first full year in 2011, with hard work and outstanding performance, I was promoted to a Senior Financial Consultant (SFC). Some of my peers have to take 2 years or more for this achievement.

Lead by Example – Talents would only be willing to join a Leader that had proven his worth. They want to follow someone that had been there and done that, rather than others who did not practise what they preached.

At the end of 2012, I was promoted to Financial Services Supervisor (FSS) while leading a humble team of two Financial Consultants. I truly enjoy the process of developing and grooming like-minded individuals to improve themselves and achieve greater goals.

Quality over Quantity – Consistently in the next few years, I recruited a handful of individuals and focused on training and developing them individually rather than massively recruiting to maintain the quality of my team. One must dedicate time and effort to coach talents. When there are too many rookies, time spent on training could be compromised.

At the start, there was not much guidance managing my own team. It was a transitional stage from a lone producer to a coach leading a small group, and I had to “bang a lot walls” before I could figure out the right strategies.

Know Your Style – I was at the stage of developing my leadership style. I was unsure what type of Talents would thrive under my guidance. There was mismatch of my style and the individuals who joined the team initially, resulting in mediocre performance. With constant feedback, I figured that certain profiles would fit my style of coaching. That reinforced the philosophy of focusing on quality Talents with the traits that I look for.

It is imperative that in a successful team, we need capable members. Therefore, while expanding my team, personal development supersedes all other undertakings. As a mentor, I employed various pedagogies to target every individual’s unique personalities, roles and responsibilities. By personalizing the coaching provided, my team was able to deliver spectacular results. At the end of 2015, we achieved the Million Dollar Agency (MDA) award while I attained Directorship before 30 years old.

Personal Development – Having a growth mindset is a trait that a Leader must have and this is also inculcated to the team. As a result, the team and I continue to attend Self Development courses and training to better equip ourselves, so that we can mentor other Talents in the future.

Concurrently in 2015, I groomed an Associate Financial Services Manager (AFSM) from my group whom became my Business Partner¹.

Success Replication – The hallmark of a successful leader should be determined by the quality of the Talents developed. True leaders would want their Talents to outperform themselves. Systems in place and consistent tutoring given would ensure the continuous replication of future success stories.
To reinforce the success of the systems, at the beginning of 2018, a new AFSM was promoted from my group. I am also heartened to share the most recent achievement in 2018 for achieving the Multi-Million Dollar Agency (MMDA) award whilst promoting another AFSM² (Jaslyn Ng – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaslynng/).

These are the background information of some of the Talents developed through our systems and featured on Asia Advisers Network (A regional platform showcasing the best professionals and fellow Entrepreneurs):

https://www.asiaadvisersnetwork.com/article/aid/46958/Have-an-end-goal-that-is-so-strong-it-will-be-all-worth-it-Priscilla-Tay

https://www.asiaadvisersnetwork.com/article/aid/47291/Thriving-with-the-right-mentor-and-organisational-culture-Ryo-Shu-banker-turned-financial-consultant

https://www.asiaadvisersnetwork.com/article/aid/47528/Scepticism-rejection-and-disappointments-Nonetheless-persist-Ong-Zhi-Wei

Take Away

Having the right people in the team is important in any business. Therefore, spend more time to select the talents, and subsequently the efforts in developing them would be well worth it.

Derek Koh started as a Financial Consultant in Prudential in 2012. Under my guidance, Derek attained many awards and began expanding his group. In 2016, Derek is one of the awarded leaders in Agency Development and Associate Financial Services Manager Category. Till date, he has attained two consecutive Multi-Million Dollar Agencies, the President Club Award and is now a Financial Services Director.

I was also a mentor to Jaslyn Ng, an Award-Winning Top Financial Consultant. Jaslyn joined my group as a Financial Consultant in July 2017, switching from the HR Industry. Within 6 months, Jaslyn qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) award, placing herself in the top 1% of the industry worldwide. In 2018, Jaslyn’s first full year as a Rookie Financial Consultant, she earned the prestigious Court of the Table (COT) award which was equivalent to three times the requirements of MDRT and got herself promoted to Associate Financial Services Manager leading a team of 4.

During the award presentation, I was asked how she achieved the COT as a newcomer within such a short period. As her mentor, I simply said, “What Jaslyn did right was not one single thing. It was the combination of many right things that she had done to make her where she is today as a COT qualifier”. (Refer to Jaslyn Ng’s profile for her articles where she shares about her successes and tips on achieving COT: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-achieve-court-table-cot-jaslyn-ng/)

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Scepticism, rejection, and disappointments. Nonetheless, persist! - Ong Zhi Wei

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HOW I CONVINCED MYSELF TO JOIN A SEEMINGLY UNSTABLE CAREER IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY WITH PRUDENTIAL

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