If company leaders hope to keep top talent, they are going to have to preserve their most talented employees.

If talented employees hope to fulfill their potential, they are going to have to learn to think differently.

For both company leaders and their talented workers, the kind of thinking and working required in the complex work environments that have come to characterize today's business settings are more intense than they were in the past. To succeed, employees must learn to be more strategic.

More thoughtful.

More aligned.

Leaders at every level must be approach their work with all of the talent they have, for the benefit of the company and for the sustainability of their results.

Imagine what a difference that could make. Leaders who take time for the proactive, good strategic thinking feel clearer and more settled. They are able to discern the priorities and stay focused on them, and the rest of the busyness just fades into the background. They are more focused on results. They are better team players. They are aligned to their company vision, their managers' needs and their partners.

Best of all, they have time for themselves to rest and renew their energy. Overall, they experience a more committed, results-based approach to work and life that leads to loyalty in a company, better retention, and a better quality of life.

How does one create such an environment? The secret is personal leadership.

Just as corporate leaders must apply the practices and principles of strong leadership to make their company succeed, so must individual employees apply the practices and principles of strong leadership to succeed for themselves. Personal leadership is at the heart of a high quality way to work.

Bringing a personal leadership approach to an organization - or even to your own work - requires three steps.

First, identify talented individuals in whom to invest. If you're a leader who wants to be successful in your own career, that "talented individual" may be you.

Next, empower them to take a leadership mindset, and teach them to focus on their top priorities.

Last, do so in a way that would be efficient in terms of both cost and time so they develop themselves as leaders while keeping up with the pace of their business.

One company I worked with build a program around these three steps, with impressive results. They nominated their top talent to participate in a leadership program focusing on personal leadership. They helped participants to see themselves as leaders who added value to the company. And they integrated their leadership development with big goals for the company. As a result, the program participants not only felt stronger as leaders, they improved their impact to the company, to the tune of millions of dollars added to the bottom line.