Talent (Part I). How to identify and develop your talents and those of the people you manage?
An answer that Marcus Buckingham and D.Clifton(Gallup) try to give in their book “Now, discover your strengths”.
It all starts with a massive research. How massive? Yes it is really two million people and not just ordinary but the people who are successful in their various fields of occupation.
The idea behind this research is that every person has its strengths – which seems quite intuitive. These strengths according to the authors do not emerge whole and perfect out of the blue. The strengths are created with knowledge, skills and talent (”signature themes”.)
Knowledge they divide to: factual (that is content) and experimental (practical, real life experience). So knowledge is something that you acquire.
Skill is the second ingredient. Skill is what gives structure to your experimental knowledge or formalization of accumulated knowledge. You develop your skills to a performance, not necessary a great one. Usually basic skill is put into sequence of steps that we follow in order to avoid trial and error and to build on.
Talent according to the authors is: “…recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.” or simply – if you are competitive, inquisitive, charming, persistent or responsible, etc.(all 34) – this is a talent.
So to hone your strengths you need to acquire knowledge, practice it and enhance it with your talents. This seems quite easy but people tend to be not extremely accurate with identifying their talents. Most of the people will claim they have 50-60% of the talents listed by Gallup and they will be right. We posses all of these talents but which are the one we should focus on and why only on them? How are they formed? Can we develop new if we don’t like or current and how?