Why does every Role, Performed at Excellence, require Talent?
Normally, we associate Talent only with celebrated Excellence – with a strong emphasis on the word ‘’celebrated’’.
We look at people like David Rudisha, Paul Tergat, Lionnel Messi, Lewis Hamilton, Usain Bolt, excelling in their sport, and we know that for each celebrity, it’s neither his trainer, nor his dogged determination that provides the prime source of his brilliance.
Each may have the determination and a good coach and manager, but then so do most other sportsmen and women. Deep down we know that their secret weapon is their Talent. We look at Tiger Woods, and we think the same. He has Talent. Michael Jordan, Leornado Di Caprio – they are all blessed with a secret gift.
However, for most of us talent seems a rare precious thing, bestowed on special, faraway people. They are different, these people with talent. They are ‘’not us’’.
Great Managers disagree with this definition of talent. It is too narrow.
Instead, they define Talent as a ‘’recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behaviour that can be productively applied’’ The emphasis here is the word ‘’recurring’’ Your Talents are the behaviours you find yourself doing often. You have a mental filter that sifts through your world, forcing you to pay attention to some stimuli, while others slip past you unnoticed.
Your Instinctive ability to remember names, rather than just faces, is a talent. Your orderly manner of doing things, being neat and structured, are talents. Your love to solve puzzles, or your fascination with risk, or your impatience, or desire to meet and interact with new people. Or even your effortless ability to crunch numbers, your ease of capturing meaning from otherwise complex reports: Any Recurring patterns of behaviour that can be productively applied are Talents. The Key to excellent performance, of course, is finding the match between your Talents and your Role.
This definition of Talent has guided Managers and organisations towards a momentous discovery – that Every role, performed at Excellence, requires Talent, because every role, performed at excellence, requires certain recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behaviour.
This means that great nurses, or great doctors have talent. So do great accountants, great drivers, great teachers, great sales executives, great housekeepers, great pilots, great administrators and great waiters and waitresses. And great managers and great Leaders.
Whether the excellence is ‘’celebrated’’ or anonymous, great managers know that Excellence is Impossible without Talent.
So, as you look at your organisation today, do you see Excellence in Performance? Are your people performing in roles that allow them to exploit their Talents?