Finding the Hidden Gems in Your Company

February 15, 2017

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

Meet Deb

Companies often hire us to help them find the best employees for their organizations. To our delight, we frequently unearth hidden gems who have been in the company all along.

When this happens, it creates a considerable advantage in cost savings and experience.

Think about it. What if your ideal candidates for open positions were those already in your organization?

We use the word “gem” here because these employees are very valuable assets to your company, and like real gems, you have to mine them. You may not see it on the surface.

In the story, “Three Feet from Gold,” a miner found a vein of gold, and then it ran out, so he stopped digging. Then he sold the plot to someone else. The next engineer dug a little further, and tapped into the lion’s share of the gold, becoming a multi-millionaire.

It’s the same concept in leadership. As leaders, we have to be miners. We must continue to dig, sometimes just beyond where we are. Leaders often give up on people too soon.

Think about diamonds. Diamonds are formed as a result of friction, pressure, and heat. Your future organizational leaders are formed in the same manner. And you, as the leader, must create the friction, heat, and pressure that helps them develop.

How do you do that?    

You place people in positions to see how they respond under pressure. You place in them a project lead role or a team lead role, for example. You give them opportunities to fail, as counter-intuitive as that sounds, and it will refine those who are diamonds in the rough.

Often, a leader will look at an introvert and think, “Well, they’re awfully quiet. They are an introvert so they wouldn’t be a great leader.”

On the contrary, statistics tell us that introverts make great leaders.

Finding the hidden leadership gem requires that the leader be willing to take a risk on the person and put them in a place where they could strengthen their leadership.

Several years ago, when I was opening up offices for a company just outside of London, we were looking for a customer service manager. After spending a week at an inn and watching the host – the receptionist – in action, watching her interact with the clients, the owners, her peers, and her co-workers, it was clear to me that she was exactly the type of person we would want on our team.

We ended up hiring her.

Interestingly enough, on paper she didn’t qualify.

She had been a barmaid, a nanny, and a host / receptionist, but she had never been a customer service manager before. But she was a gem in the customer service manager position.

Sometimes, we have to look beyond the paper – beyond the resume or CV – and really dig in to find true strengths. To do this, we must ask, “What are their core competencies?”

Forget about their experience for the most part, because you can teach them how you do things. It is really about whether or not they have the strengths, passion, and are a good match for the vision and values of the organization.

If someone is hard working and already exceeding expectations, it would be a great opportunity to test them in a role that is an area of their strengths. Even if it is not a permanent role, it would serve to strengthen their leadership for a role that is.

I learned from my mentor, John Maxwell, that in order to take your team members to a new level, you have to begin with a belief in them. And to establish that belief, you must have an observational eye – an eye for seeing them beyond their current position. You need to see them in a role they cannot even see themselves in yet. And then be willing to place them in that role to test and prove their leadership abilities – by using their strengths at a higher level.

In summary, as a leader, what are the steps you need to take to mine the gems in your organization?

  1. Be Observant – Look beyond current positions…to strengths.
  2. Be Bold – Take the risk of putting them into a position that uses their strengths at a higher level.
  3. Be Persistent – Don’t give up “three feet short of gold.”

For more information on how you can assess the strengths of your team and tap into those strengths to build a stronger organization, click here.



Mike Harbour is CEO of Harbour Resources. In a world screaming for leadership, Mike believes leadership is the difference maker and the deal breaker. It’s how we grow organizations. It’s how we impact lives. But, as you also know, leadership cannot be an idea we simply talk about; leadership is the action we must live out.

Mike’s depth of leadership experience has tested his leadership ideas and philosophy while serving in the United States Army as a US Army Soldier/Officer and the healthcare industry. Building on this experience and success Mike has become a leading Founding Partner on the world-renowned John C Maxwell Team as a Certified Coach, Trainer, and Speaker.

Because of his action oriented style, Mike is sought out to lead projects and teams for the John Maxwell Team where he is a leader on the President’s Advisory Council, A Peer Teaching Partner sharing his experience with thousands of leaders around the globe and a leader for the John Maxwell Leadership Award where hundreds have been nominated and interviewed for the coveted leadership award.

He is a sought-after speaker for events, teams and organizations seeking results and change in the way their leaders lead.

Mike has spent the last 20 years helping companies build teams that drive results!


As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results.

She brings deep experience in leadership development, strategy, building high-performance teams, and global operations to her work.

Deb knows first-hand how strengths and leadership are keys to business effectiveness and growth. Her skills were honed through over two decades as VP of Global Brand Operations for a large fashion accessory company in New York. In that senior corporate leadership capacity, Deb worked throughout the world to create and develop leaders, and to elevate team performance to world class. These teams now serve retailers in more than 80 countries, contributing to the growth of the company from $50M to well over $500M.

In 2008 and 2010 Deb was named one of the most influential women in business by LIBN and is a regular guest on radio and podcast shows.

Deb has shepherded the training of thousands and is a founding partner with her mentor leadership expert John C. Maxwell. Deb serves on Maxwell’s President Advisory Council and is a Peer Teaching Partner for his global team of 12,000 Coaches, Speakers and Trainers in 120 countries.

With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results.

Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.