The Trouble With Talent Is…Identifying It

Lets get something cleared up from the off. Why am I suggesting in my column title that “Talent” is trouble? Well, honestly, it is. Talented individuals have spikes in their genius, highs and lows in their personalities and needs and can sometimes be as easy to manage as nailing jelly to a wall. So why do we all talk about it, crave it in our businesses and as the media will often suggest we are doing, actually enter into a “War for Talent”? Simply put, having the right individuals in your business is the difference between average and mediocre performance vs. exceptional performance.

So starting with the obvious – how do you identify it?

Simple question, not so simple answer. In some large organisations, it is all about leadership and “Talent” is defined as someone who still has a minimum of two vertical moves up the organisation in them – i.e. they haven’t reached their potential yet. In other organisations, it’s all about the here and now and depicts top performers who are rated in the top 5% of the role they are doing. Others simply define it as “people with the right stuff” or “a go-getter attitude” and will say things like “you’ll know Talent when you see it”. Personally, I believe only you, in the context of your business, in the even narrower context of specific roles, can define what “Talent” means to you and your organisation.


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