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The TALENT Equation

Written by KV on Friday, 07 June 2013 02:19.

I have an equation I like to use to explain what I believe is required to leverage talent in any organization and every team. It's pretty simple. It goes like this:


Here's the premise: To maximize talent, it takes more than just recognizing the tacit knowledge that a person possesses (knowledge that is difficult to explicitly transfer). There is also each person's behaviors and attitudes that must be considered. In fact, it's patently impossible to leverage the talent a person has without ALSO encountering the behavior tendencies that the individual also possesses. Think of it like panning for gold; you've got to deal with the water, rocks, and silt to get to the nuggets of knowledge. However, unlike panning for gold, you cannot simply wash away the natural behaviors that each person possesses leaving just the gold nuggets. They are inexorably linked. You can't have one without the other.

It seems that many organizations believe that the only variable they can influence in my above offered equation is the tacit knowledge piece. They hire the most experienced and educated people; they provide specialized in-house training; they send people to school to gain or improve their tacit knowledge. However, what many fall short in recognizing is that the tacit knowledge they invest in can only be leveraged when individuals use it to discover solutions together1 in teams. That means people working together...which also means that behaviors and attitudes go along for the ride. And (yikes!), sometimes behaviors are at the wheel driving with knowledge in the back seat and talent in the trunk.

Therefore, organizations must recognize that they can also have a profound impact on teaching individuals about natural behavior tendencies - their own as well as others'. Call it behavior knowledge, if you will, and there's a lot to learn! There are many methods and means to provide this education in a way that strengthens teams and develops leadership within an organization. Like learning a new skill or mastering a discipline, understanding how to manage one's own behaviors when engaging with others, or understanding why and how colleagues and fellow teammates behave and how to respond effectively can have enormous impact on successfully mining the gold nuggets of talent.

What does your organization's talent equation add-up to?

Is it actively providing resources to impact both factors of tacit knowledge and behavior knowledge?

1 Schmidt, F.L., & Hunter, J.E. (1993). Tacit knowledge, practical intelligence, general mental ability, and job knowledge. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2, pages 8-9.



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Planning is."

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