As the world worries about the redistribution of the middle class in light of these new economic times, a clearer concern in my mind is around talent. There is the creative class and everyone else.
In the past you were rewarded for following the rules. Process followers that conformed were rewarded well. That’s the beauty of the industrial age bleeding into the white collar office world. However, it was still a factory. Efficiency is what counted.
Today, any troll can perform a function repeatedly. That is both expected and abundant. There are plenty of people that want to be told what to do. Most people want to avoid making decisions and taking responsibility. It’s easier to color in the lines than take a risk.
The marketplace is adjusting rapidly. You can be highly educated and technical and get compensated as much as a waiter today. It is low level talent and there’s lots of it. Technical talent has become common, accessible and commoditized.
Henry Ford stated, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.” While technical knowledge and skills are continually commoditizing, there is a talent class that is increasing in value and price. They are able to think. They provide strategy, insight and leadership.
Knowing what to create is hard work and takes thinking. Automation will never replace this. Going with the ideas with conviction is scarce. We pay a premium for these people. They are unlike the masses. They are part of the creative class. It is a talent disparity that is continuing to widen. If you are creative, your value stands out. You can:
- See what needs to happen
- Make ideas happen
- Develop a strategy
- Understand what connects
If you are an owner, you can see what I am referring to in your everyday management and hiring of talent. There are the abundant and cheap who can perform a job or function.
The special ones, the creative class, they are the rare ones. They command higher pricing because the value is both scarce and necessary. As everything commoditizes, they move the ball of innovation forward. And without innovation, the tsunami of change relentlessly pushes your own brand to obsolescence.
All talent is not equal. Thank goodness. The most valued make all the difference.
Tell me your thoughts below.