Talent is Never Enough
Adams and Jefferson, Founding Fathers of the United States, didn’t always like each other. Toward the end of their lives they came to appreciate and respect each other but for much of their political careers they were rivals. Jefferson’s skilled compromising skills offended a dogmatic Adams, for example.
They were at odds but they invested their lives in a shared mission.
Committing to shared mission
and vision binds talent together.
I constantly hear, “Find great talent.” But, fools think talent is enough. Leaders miss the point when they focus on talent and neglect shared mission.
Talent without shared commitment
is disruptive and dangerous.
Off target interviews:
Job interviews miss the target when they focus on what people have accomplished and neglect what they believe. Spend more time talking about organizational vision and values. Dig deep into belief systems. See if their eyes light up when you share your mission.
- Binds diverse people and groups together.
- Builds connections where people respect each other even if they don’t like each other.
- Enables a context where people rely on the performance of others.
Great talent strengthens organizations as long as everyone deeply commits to a shared mission. Apart from that, diversity is paralyzing chaos.
Don’t just tell me what you’ve done, tell me what you believe.
Some are too good to deeply believe in an organization’s mission. They’re too talented, too smart, or too proud. They have their own agenda. They feel they lower themselves if they “drink the kool aid.”
“Company men” are looked down on by aloof elites. I’ll take a true believer with average talent over a disconnected hot-shot any day.
Talent is overrated – belief is underrated.
The leaders who founded the United States believed and because they did, they committed. These are the people who change things.
A study was done by MSU that says only 14% of interviews are done correctly in hiring new employees. One of the contributing factors is the interviewer has a bias.
We tend to hire for experience and fire for attitude. With my job benchmarking process, we hire for attitude first. Here’s a post about the process. http://endgamebusiness.com/blog/let-the-job-talk/
Hire for attitude.. How about it! Thanks and happy 4th.
I agree that belief is underrated.The reason is simple, People want to see outcomes of belief. So, when outcome is visible, people say that person is talented. therefore, I belief that belief is the driver of talent. And other way to express it is- one is implicit and other is explicit. I think to measure whether talent is enough or not we need to measure its impact. The other way is to see who is beneficiary. It talent benefits one, it is not enough. When it impacts only some, again it is not enough. Talent should affect majority and beneficiary should be many. Talent should create more talent. It means when a person with talent is concern about himself or herself, should not be treated as a talented because it benefits only one.
I also belief that it is the impact that determines whether talent is managerial or leadership.
Love your practical approach to this.
Behaviors are expressions of beliefs…beliefs drive behaviors. Very helpful. Thank you.
I’m with you on this, and thanks for bringing belief forward in the conversation..Interviewing to discern these things takes a non-traditional approach, a conventional resume may not reveal this. I once hired an Account Manager (for an electronics giant) partially because he trained Seeing-Eye Dogs part time, my manager asked me why that influenced my decision..”if he can train a dog then give it over to someone else he can; see a bigger picture; be patient; put others needs ahead of his own; overcome his own biases.” He was a GREAT account manager!
I see what you mean. Great story.
I think more emphasis is being placed on community involvement as part of the interview process… at least in some circles. That’s a good thing.
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work.”
I had the chance to attend a high school for highly gifted children. My classmates were quick learners and peopl who grasp new information easily. Yet, most of them were and are still unable to really foster that “talent”. Yes, the studied or are still studying, but they are themselves unaware of what they could actually do. They mostly are alright with what they have – they don’t have the sense of striving for things which are hard to get as they are used to get things done easily. It is the will which has a great power and the perseverance that decide about winning or loosing.
One can foster talent, but the person itself has to have the will to work on it and that spirit of always keeping the challenge up!
Love your opening quote! How many times have we see high potentials fizzle because they drifted.
I was smart in school and never had to work. I regret that.
Amen to that. I am suffering from that very phenomenon right now! I was in honors classes in high school, graduated second in my class, graduated from a top state school a year early, entered the work force and am having a very hard time focusing myself and figuring out what to do with my skills.
@ Jordyn: tell me bout it. 2 years earlier. 😉
We have a lot of opportunities and I suggest you to try out various things. Don’t be scared. You are young. Travel. Discover the world. You got talentS. Use them. Suffering is always a point of view and state of thinking. Change it. Nobody else but you can work on that. I’ve tried a lot, I’m still trying out and testing my borders. I do not care too much about what other people say. It’s my life – and I gotta be happy with it. The point in your life, where you say you are not really happy, you gotta change something. All the best & I believe you will find your way! 🙂
This is so true Dan, when we hire for our medical practice we always talk to the candidates about our “office culture”. We can tell very quickly if they would buy into it or not just watching them as we tell about our standards, beliefs and core culture. Usually if they agree they chime in and comment on what they believe or they don’t agree they sit there and just shake their head. Great post thank you and Happy 4th of July!
Thanks for giving us an illustration and success story. It really helps when we see success stories. Happy 4th to you too.
I agree with your argument generally. Knowing what people believe in, care for, means that people have an alignment over company direction and inner motivation to carry through. It makes a huge difference in terms of settling in and contributing early, particularly if the organisations mission is actually special in some way and provided the ability is there too will lead to great performance.
What happens when the mission as described in the interview process and therefore signed up to, changes fundamentally without it being agreed. This seems to me to be a probable situation lots of companies find themselves in, as markets, economies, even the desires of the leadership shift, as a company grows. What was once aligned may longer be but the expectations remain the same
I just finished John Maxwell’s “Beyond Talent”. Highly Recommended !
I’m so glad I found your blog! I’m always inspired after reading your posts!
Love this! I remember sitting in a session once with a bunch of general counsels. One of the GCs noted that to be a good GC, you had to separate yourself from the company. You’ll move on through a number of companies, she said. Stay true to the rule of law. I was a bit saddened to hear that, as an attorney. Your post hit the nail on the head. When people are tied into the mission, magic can happen. Thanks again for a wonderful post.
About being “too good to deeply believe in an organization’s mission”: I think a lot of the time this happens because at a publicly held company the “mission” is merely “to increase shareholders’ value”. *Yawn* If someone’s *that* good they’re going to find that an unrewarding, unfulfilling way to get some measly salary. And of course they’d look down on the “company men” who either do find that rewarding or act like they do. They realize that what they’re doing is only to increase other people’s money, and so they also just do it for the money. Asking someone to make it more than than… to make it their life’s purpose is a little much.
Now if that person had a reasonable chance of becoming independently wealthy or truly changing the world in a good way, not just in a way that increase shareholders’ value, its a different story.
There has to be something worth committing *to* in order to expect true commitment from the “too good”… or anybody.
Thank goodness someone finally said it out loud: Talent is overrated – belief is underrated. If in an interview, the candidate is not able to describe to me a culture that looks like the one we’ve got (or the one we want to promote), there is no “fit” and we move on to the next candidate. Every time I have gone against this, I have paid for it.
Well said, i face the same problems at my job in Poland. Unfortunately talent is not enough to make everytihng fit…
“The leaders who founded the United States believed and because they did, they committed.” — very well said. I think we have a shortage of this these days. I hope to find leaders who believe and fully commit, if not today, at least in my children’s generation.
This is a perspective I have never thought of. It makes so much sense
Another great read! I like you can make a powerful point in a concise manner. I think talent with that shared vision is also critical for optimal motivation. I see too many people who have talent who don’t share the vision and aren’t able to motivate themselves to use that talent.
Love, Love, Love the conversation. It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I learned I was Dyslexic & ADD. I spent my school years frustrated and confused as to why it always took me longer to get my work done however, 22 yrs later, I have learned to turn those pains into passions and frustrations into action in my career. In my earlier years, I unconsciously mastered unique ways to “figure out a way” to get things done, despite it being uncomfortable and sometimes on natural for me…that’s the sign of a true believe, inventor and hard-worker!
Before transitoning into coaching and speaking fulltime to Emerging Leaders, I spent 10+ years as an UG & MBA recruiter for some of big time companies. It was my job to find the “best fit” not only based on grades, but moreso, my criteria was heart, similar values & visions, and transparency. I championed the “underdog” candidate that didn’t always come from the pedigree school, with the stellar grades – WHY? Because I experienced the riducle of “not being the smartest” yet in the end, every job I ever had – I was a rock-star and high performer. What I tell my audiences today is at that when you BELIEVE in yourself, others will BELIEVE as well. I’m a believer its your EQ, not IQ, that makes or breaks your success. Yes, talent and skills are important, however, passion and attitude keep you on the field.
I created a coaching formula called the Fulfillment Factor Formula that using six factors to achieve success — here is is …. [(P+E) x C³] – X — looks complicated but its’ very simple = Passion PLUS Energy TIMES Clarity, Committment, & Courage Minus Expectations = Fulfillment or if you use all the first letters P.E.C.C.C.E, choices that bring you peace along with passion, what better way to achieve prosperity and live on purpose!
Thank you for this great article. I just learned of your blog today and look forward to learning more from this community of like-minded thinkers ….and believers!