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Really good topic Jason, and I think that this is a really good example of what makes the concept of “talent” far more complex and contextual than we often think. Gladwell is one of the thinkers that has done a good job of reminding us of this. I think that resilience, work-ethic and the other characteristics you mention are all really important to long term success, though they are probably difficult to evaluate for, identify and measure…though we all probably know them when we see them.

One of the things that this post brought to mind for me was the importance of knowing what really matters as an organization. I think that we tend to over-estimate our ability to measure and even define “talent”, but we probably do even worse on these other characteristics that you mention.

I am a fan of Bob Sutton. I read his blog regularly and have read a few books authored or co-authored by him. My favorite is The No Asshole Rule, which does a nice job showing that when we do find someone that is talented (a high performer) we often overlook all the other really important stuff (respect, integrity, etc.) which can do a lot of damage to organizational culture over time.

I think that the idea of “cultural fit” is dicey at best and horribly flawed at worst, but I do think it is critically important to:
-know your organizational culture and what behaviors and characteristics support it
-integrate that information into your employment branding, recruiting, hiring, on-boarding and development practices
This helps you as an organization be who you claim to be, rather than having a mission statement that says something very happy and shiny and having employees and leaders behaving in a very different manner.

The second thing that this brings to mind for me is that we are desperately in need of a new way of leadership. Leadership that delivers results is one thing and is valuable in the short term. Leadership that identifies, supports and rewards integrity, respect, work-ethic, etc. is a very different thing and one that is in short supply today.

-joe

Categories: Behavior, hr, Joe, Leadership

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