Who’s Talented Now ?

14th February 2017

Coming back from a long weekend in the car last night I listened to a BBC Radio 4 programme called “Is talent a thing?” which discussed the concept of talent being so ill defined that it may be useless. It featured interviews by several psychologists and progressive HR leaders who were sharing their perspectives on what makes people successful at work.

Lazlo Bock (previous VP HR at Google) spoke about the challenges of identifying talent and finding it outside of traditional educational establishments. Angela Duckworth (Management consultant, teacher, psychologist, author of Grit: The power of passion and perseverance) spoke about her research to find out why students who didn’t score so well in IQ and SAT tests regularly outperformed those who did, both at school and in their professional life. Carol Dweck (Psychologist, author of Mindset: Changing the way you think to achieve your potential) talked about discovering how people with a belief that ability can be learnt (growth mindset) tended to achieve greater success in many areas of life than those who were often deemed to be more talented, but had a fixed mindset.

The conclusion was two fold;

1/ It is questionable as to whether we should seek to define talent, as the majority who are not categorised as talented can be left feeling undervalued and demotivated, therefore negating the benefits of specific talent initiatives.

2/ Definitions of talent may be outdated, with current thinking that it may be an openness to learning and willingness to learn from our mistakes, plus persistence to work towards long term goals and sheer hard work, that is a better predictor of academic and professional success.

The good news is that this route is open to anyone, in the workplace or personal lives. Organisations can grow the capability of all their employees through sharing these insights and fostering their desire for learning and improvement. Encouraging a culture of pushing boundaries, praising effort and learning from mistakes will support employees at every level to adopt this mindset and behaviours for themselves and in their teams.

Everyone has potential, we just don’t know how much. Give your employees the opportunity to reach theirs.

For more information on how TheMindFilter can help your employees fulfil their potential contact jo.henwood@themindfilter.com