Today, effective organizations depend almost exclusively on one powerful but volatile source for their success: their talent.

Talented leaders represent the company to its clients; determine the quality of its products and services; set the tone of the organization internally; and ultimately influence the future of the company itself. Nowhere is this truer than in organizations that rely on the individual contributions of large numbers of employees to directly deliver results--salesforces, consultancies, legal firms, and financial service firms chief among them.

The problem is that most companies do a poor job of developing top talent. Top talent is an essential but underutilized source of business results.

Many companies struggle to understand how to get the most from their talent. Entrepreneurs are asking: what do talented leaders need from companies to deliver the best results? How do companies address the variable needs of a diverse population of talented leaders?

Without reliable answers to these questions, companies fail to provide their talented employees with the skills and strategies they need to continue to be successful. The answer is a particular form of leadership development uniquely suited to the needs of individuals: personal leadership, leadership of the self.

Just as companies are built on the principles of strong leadership, so do talented leaders depend on those principles to get their best results. A company needs a clear and compelling vision to inspire its employees; so too do those employees need a clear and compelling vision for themselves. Personal leadership provides the structure and support leaders need to excel.

What does personal leadership look like when adopted as a leadership development strategy?

Executive coaching.Coaching provides a personalized environment in which to design a vision and strategy for one's own success and achievement, as well as the opportunity to work through the challenges of implementing the strategy and tracking results.

Personal development plans. The goal of personal leadership is to put individuals into the driver's seat of their own development--a process that is supported by a plan that can be updated on an ongoing basis.

Skills training in practices and principles. Some of the core skills of personal leadership include effective prioritization, action planning, time management, garnering and leveraging feedback, and exhibiting and instilling confidence.

Companies that institute programs of personal leadership experience increased profitability, improved retention rates, improved morale, better levels of customer service, and improved performance across the organization. So for companies hoping to leverage their talent, empowering employees with programs of personal leadership is the path to better business results.