From High Potential to High Performance Seminar

From High Potential to High Performance Seminar

6 July 2017

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On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the “From High Potential to High Performance” conference at the Trades Hall in Glasgow with our Commercial Director, Barry Lee. It was an incredibly insightful event, hosted by Thomas International, that gave me useful ideas as to how to approach Accountancy and Finance recruitment during my internship.

Several speakers stood out on the day – they really made me think about my degree course, recruitment and leadership. For example, Lillian Hosea and Miles Henson (Directors at People Academy) eloquently spoke about how the face of recruitment is changing because leadership models are changing.

They spoke about historical and cultural shifts as to what makes a good leader. Perceived styles of good leadership hundreds of years ago may well be tantamount to criminal activity in a contemporary example. What we expect from our leaders has changed dramatically over the years.

Employees, today, like it when their leader or manager’s presence can be felt. We expect guidance and the standard to be set ‘from the top’. People leave managers, not companies. That’s why leadership qualities such as agility and communication are so essential. In one-to-one situations, such as appraisals, no ‘one size fits all’ approach will ever be successful – a good leader will try to accommodate the needs of their employees as individuals.

They also quoted one example of a company who have actually employed an algorithm to take a seat on their board. I’m sure they get logical, well-thought out decisions made … But it still seems a little unusual, even in a technologically savvy society. In another unique example, they cited the use of ‘therapets’ or ‘work dogs’ to create a calming working environment for employees in high pressure situations. This has already proved successful in universities for students who are sitting exams, and at Google HQ, where they encourage the presence of pets.

Another excellent speaker was Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology at University College London. He spoke of humans as social animals. But, in the workplace, we tend to get along with people or get ahead. We choose to co-operate or compete. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium and finding the way to strike that balance is essential when pursuing a leadership role. A sign of a good leader is someone who is able to develop and maintain happy, healthy relationships on their way to the top.

He also cited the adage of not learning from success, only failure. To further this point, he said he did not use the word ‘weakness’. Instead, he refers to any perceived flaws as self-development opportunities. This is a great way to look at situations as chances to learn and better ourselves. If we are constantly challenging ourselves, we will grow.

As for the recruitment process, he threw down the gauntlet and dared us not to be afraid to say what we don’t want, rather than simply nodding in agreement. We shouldn’t settle for something that is not working for us.

I was delighted to have attended the conference this week as part of my internship here at HR Consultancy. If you would like to get in touch with me, with regards to Accountancy and Finance recruitment, you can contact me on 0141 212 7785 or email



Written By Jenna Laws


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