Talent Isn’t Everything

That’s right, I said talent isn’t everything! Time and time again authors, business gurus, and consultants talk about hiring the right people.   It is the truest of truisms that you have to get the right people on the bus in order to be successful. Having said that, the best person isn’t always the one with most talent, education or most experience.

Talent and experience are a huge asset, but sometimes it can get in the way. Throughout my professional career as an athlete, I saw less talented athletes achieve great things and beat more talented athletes because they were motivated and were willing to work for success.  These athletes believed in themselves, they believed in their objective and they were willing to work for their results.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for many of the athletes with the most talent. Plenty of athletes knew that they were talented and quite honestly more gifted than most.   As a result, they didn’t work as hard and with as much focus as they could have.  They left a lot on the table. While that worked in the early years of their careers it failed them miserably when they got to the big stage where they had to up their game and perform against the best. They lacked the discipline and focus they needed to achieve at the next level.

We see the same thing happen in the office.  It’s the sales person or marketing genius that does just enough to get by.  They don’t make that extra phone call to that potential prospect or go the extra mile to WOW potential customers.   As a result, organizations get stuck paying for top dollar talent with mediocre results.  This is hard on the organization and especially hard on the management and support staff that are chronically filling in for your 1st round draft choice when it should be the other way around.

When making your hiring decision between the two kinds of people I have described above you need to dig for more.  You need to know what kind of work ethic this person has.  You need to know what they do when things are tough.  You want to know what they believe about themselves and their ability to succeed.  You want to know what they are made of deep down.

So when you make your next hire ask yourself a couple critical questions.  Do you know what they are made of?  Will this person be willing to learn and work hard or do they know it all already? Will they be a team player and a culture fit for your organization? Ultimately you’re going to have to make the call.  The bottom line is don’t get blinded by the talent only to be disappointed by your star employees lack of work ethic and commitment to take your team to the next level.