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Traditional Corporate Organisations are at Risk of Driving their Game-Changing Talent Away


eg.1, business insight and talent consultancy, has released the sequel to its 2015 study (The DNA of a Game Changer 2015) – The DNA of a Game-Changing Team 2016 – that suggests many talent retention strategies are not doing what they set out to do.

The new study finds employers need to do more to recognise and value the contribution Game Changers can bring and think differently about the way they manage, promote and reward their team.

Whilst many large organisations recruit Game Changers to help them make transformational change it is clear, that once Game Changers get to experience the reality of a career with their employer, they don’t like what they see.

Nathan Ott, CEO of eg.1 says,

“Our research suggests that Game Changers, the very people with the potential to initiate and drive transformational change, are rarely able to make their mark in traditional corporate settings.

“Game Changers are the individuals that business leaders, across every industry, are desperately searching for. But because they don’t fit into traditional talent frameworks they are often neglected and, as a result, end up jumping ship to work in an environment where they have the freedom to achieve their game-changing potential.”


The study shows most Game Changers find it difficult to navigate their way around a traditional corporate organisation. The few who are successful within traditional corporate cultures often have a champion – a supportive manager/leader who understands them and knows what they need to deliver value – who gives them the space to be themselves and freedom to explore their ideas.


The new study also shows Game Changers are most effective when they have people performing in four other complementary roles in game-changing teams:

  • Play Makers – orchestrate the future

Playmakers are at their best when they are getting things done through others, they are the facilitators and orchestrators within a team.

  • Implementers – build the future

Implementers have a strong drive to achieve. At their best, they can be relied upon to deliver. They are often seen as conscientious, ‘a safe pair of hands’.

  • Polishers – create a future to be proud of

Polishers are rarely satisfied. They assume that things can always be improved and channel this optimistic drive into continuous improvements and innovations and the pursuit of excellence and perfection.

  • Strategists – see the future

Strategists are ‘big picture thinkers’ who, at their best, see and analyse patterns and trends in their world. They have an ability to ‘see’ where events are taking us and how to respond to that prediction of how things will develop.

John Mervyn-Smith, Chief Psychologist at eg.1, says, “Ground breaking creativity and innovation may sit with one individual but it’s only a game-changing team that can achieve step change innovation and transformation that has longevity. We know that the key to success is to transform individual action into collective power.

“Leaders who are serious about creating a cohesive workforce, where everyone can make a game-changing impact, need to start shifting their mindset to focus on both contribution and impact. It’s this focus on contribution that will help move managers out of the ‘fail safe zone’ to one where they themselves feel ‘safe to fail’.”


Although diversity in many industries has increased in recent decades the study shows traditional talent management models are outdated and lead to discrimination.

Nathan Ott says,

“Many organisations still select new employees into their organisation or onto project teams based on personal similarities and personality. But organisations need diverse teams to help move things on in today’s digital world, where complex decisions and transformational changes are required.

“Leaders need to move away from focusing solely on past experience, personality and who is ‘available’ to work on a project. Instead, we should focus on the real contribution that individuals can make – focus on who is ‘best’.”

The study helps us understand what each person can contribute to their team, project and to the wider organisation. It gives leaders a new 21st Century talent management framework, which they can use to create a game-changing culture.