The Three Kinds of Talent


There are three basic categories: striving talents, thinking talents, and relating talents.

 Striving talents explain the why of a person. They explain why he gets out of bed every day, why he is motivated to push and push just that little bit harder. Is he driven by his desire to stand out, or is good enough good enough for him? Is he intensely competitive or intensely altruistic or both? Does he define himself by his technical competence, or does he just want to be liked?

 Thinking talents explain the how of a person. They explain how he thinks. How he weighs up alternatives, how he comes to his decisions. Is he focused or does he like to leave all his options open? Is he disciplined and structured, or does he love surprises? Is he a linear, practical thinker, or is he strategic, always playing mental “what if?” games with himself?

 Relating talents explain the who of a person. They explain whom he trusts, whom he builds relationships with, whom he confronts, and whom he ignores. Is he drawn to win over strangers, or is he at ease only with his close friends? Does he think that trust must be earned, or does he extend trust to everyone in the belief that most will prove worthy of it? Does he confront people dispassionately, or does he avoid confrontation until finally exploding in an emotional trade?

 Striving, thinking, and relating: these are the three basic categories of talent. Within each you will have your own combination of four-lane highways and barren wastelands. No matter how much you might yearn to be different, your combination of talents, and the recurring behaviors that it creates, will remain stable, familiar to you and to others throughout your life.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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How good managers find talent?


Even if you know how to select for talent, it is not always easy to identify those who have it. At the first place, many people don’t know what their true talents are. They may be experts in their chosen field, but when it comes to listing their unique set of talents, they are stumped.

 

Your own skills and knowledge are already easy to identify. You had to inquire them, and therefore they are apart, distinct. They are “not You.” But your talents? Your talents are simply your recurring patterns of behavior. They are your very essence. It takes a rare objectivity to be able to stand back from yourself and pick out the unique patterns that make you You.

 

Then, when someone applies for a job, he naturally wants to impress. Therefore, those few recurring behaviors of which he is aware will be painted in as rosy a hue as possible. In the job interview he labels himself assertive, not aggressive. He describes himself as ambitious rather than pushy. More often than not these are not deliberate misrepresentations. They are genuine attempts to describe himself to you positively. But whatever his true motivations, his instinct to try to impress you makes your job—the talent scout—that much more difficult.

 

These barriers to talent scouting are a fact of life. Human nature being what it is, people will always struggle to know themselves, and they will always sell themselves in job interviews. Despite these barriers, good managers still do much better than their colleagues at selecting people with the right talents for the role. They have discovered some simple techniques to cut through the barriers and so find the match between the person and the role.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Devoting some thoughts to Attitude


Many managers say they select for attitude—a positive attitude, a team-focused attitude, a service-oriented attitude. They are right to do so, because a person’s prevailing attitudes are a part of his/her mental filter. They are created by the interplay of his/her unique pattern of highways and wastelands. His/her attitudes are talents.

He or she may be cynical or trusting. He or she may be an optimist or a malcontent. He or she may be experimental or conservative. None of these attitudes are necessarily better than any of the others. None of them will prevent a person from playing certain roles extremely well—for example the malcontent might be a powerful entrepreneur, driven by his/her dissatisfaction with the status quo. The cynic might fit right into a role in law, policing or investigative reporting, anywhere a healthy mistrust is a prerequisite.

But all of these attitudes from part of the person’s recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior. Managers may be able to change someone’s mood from one day to the next. However, managers will always struggle to change that person’s prevailing attitudes.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Dance between Talent and Roles


There is nothing very special about talent. If talents are simply recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior, then talents are rather commonplace. Everyone has certain recurring patterns of behavior. No one can take credit for these talents. They are an accident of birth, “the clash of chromosomes.” However, each person can and should take credit for cultivating his unique set of talents.

The best way to help an employee cultivate his talents is to find him a role that plays to those talents. Employees who find such roles are special. These people are naturally able to do what someone is prepared to pay them to do. We rightly label these people as “talented.”

The talent alone isn’t special. It is the matching of the talent with the role that is very special. It is like the performing arts, the secret to great performances is all in the casting. It is therefore not enough to say, “This person has a talent for assertiveness; I must hire him to sell.” You have to know very specifically what kind of selling you are going to be asking him to do.

As manager your job is not to teach people talent. Your job is to help them earn the accolade “talented” by matching their talent to the role. To do this well, you have to pay close attention to the subtle but significant differences between roles.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact http://www.asifjmir.com