I love talking with entrepreneurs and hearing about their journey as they overcame odds and built their companies. They truly are my heroes. In the face of great uncertainty, they have to tact with the circumstances to come up with answers that make sense. In the course of their pursuits, they provide opportunities for others. It is inspiring to say the least.
One of the topics we talk about together a great deal about is talent. Good people are truly hard to find. Finding out where they fit based on their inclinations and talent is a managerial challenge as well that the seasoned leader comes to appreciate.
One of the places I start is using a strengths test to assess what the behaviors of a person will be. It is accurate and predictable. We all behave with a degree of predictability. Some of us love details. Others are compelled to hand off and bring in resources. It’s instinct. Sure, we can adapt temporarily, but our basic nature drives us over the long haul.
Once a person understands their core strengths and behaviors, they gain newfound freedom. They can launch undeterred into who they are and sharpen the focus.
I spoke with a person recently who was shocked when I told him that being well-rounded is not a great strategy. Being sharp and world-class in specialized areas is what the world pays for. Working like a craftsman, relentlessly and passionately, produces great work over the long-term. Mediocrity is quite uncompelling as a contrast.
With the challenges we all face, we need special talent. Sure, some roles are pretty mundane and require very little. But for the important stuff – creating ideas, making hard things happen – these require sharp people that understand who they are and work unapologetically at their craft.
How are you finding talent and sharpening it?