The talent delusion

I don’t know about you folks but I like spending my weekends reading a good book or a magazine.As probably most of you know I am a Chartered Manager and a Chartered member of CMI.Being a chartered member gives me the benefits of reading the management magazines that I always look forward to it and also getting used to the resources available via the CMI website.I guess I just enjoy getting  used to all  the perks available  to me:).

Today I came across an article called “The talent delusion” written by Tomas Chamorro-Premusic.

First and foremost I was hungry for a good read and I have devoured the article like a little minx,my hunger got deeper and deeper as I delved into each page so decided to share some little food for thoughts collected from the article.I munched it over and over so decided to spell out the words of wisdom.:)

Tomas argues the benefits of the doubts of what the talent is and how the myth can be de-mystified.

He stated that some of the major problems we face are due to a misunderstanding of what talent actually is,and a general tendency to overrate our ability to manage it-a talent delusion….

So folks, are we delusional in our thinking that the talent myth can be debunking ?

He continues to debate that there are discrepancies in the ideas that the link between individuals and organisation are not done at the same level and there is a mismatch between individual view of their own talent and how talented the organisation think they are.

I believe that you can not create a genius in a pile of mud but rather taking care of your previous seedling.Employees get nurtured and flourish when they have the best resources and usually the best organisation are equipped with the appropriate tools.In fact,even when its narrowly defined such as in the case of intellectual ability,there is only a weak relationship between people’s perceived and actual talent.

Are our managers equipped with the right ability to spot talent?These incongruent talent perceptions cause problems for both parties:for employees,it leads to unrealistic expectation and a sense of entitlements and for organisation ,it leads to promotion and hiring the wrong people at the expense of overly looked and better alternatives.Nevertheless individual success has less to do with talent because too many people advance their career without helping their organisation to advance.

Like Tomas ,I believe that talent must be cultivated and enriched to achieve the fullest potential.Although is often assumed that talented people are good at things without being taught their full potential must still be developed even when they display a clear predisposition for greatness in their field and their talents are expressed early on.

I could not agree more that the environment is the best catalyst to cultivate success and that reminds me of the Child genius.These little kids have remarkable abilities to retain information however you  could not imagine how many hours these kids spent to develop their talents.They have been taught from the early age on how to retain information but also on how to collect and enrich their vocabulary.Often the language used by these kids is overwhelmingly outweighed even by Oxford dictionary.However coaching ,mentoring and self taught process are the key to success.This is why in talent like in many domains the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Tomas also argues that we are often less talented than we think and he gave some examples about the Kardashian phenomena and how these individual became richer by infesting the media with the iconic image of being special even in a bad way.

And although individuals are talented in different and diverse ways there is a tendency of acting in a very hedonistic way and people raised the bar based on their expectation(although most times it has been created  by unrealistic measures).

I want to think that everyone is talented in a way or another however we should be realistic in term of on what we are talented and how can we put our talent into practice,I believe that you can not become the CEO of a tech company because you have won the X Factor for being the best singer in the world.

Tomas sums the article with Mark Twain’s quote:It aint what you don’t know  that gets you into trouble.Its what you know for sure that just aint so.”

I ultimately sum my article by another famous quote:” Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. Calvin Coolidge


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