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Jason-

I do not think that I am up to the challenge.

I was never trying to drive a semantic debate regarding talent.  My point was that I continue to encounter people and speakers and authors ranting and raving about the importance of talent that cannot actually define it in a way that makes any real sense or is actionable.  The same is true of organizational culture, engagement, innovation and inclusion…which, I believe, is a big part of why organizations tend to be very, very sloppy with all of these things.

So, these things become buzzwords.  We do not define them and we confuse them for their antecedents, indicators, correlates and outcomes…and it becomes very difficult to pick the right kinds of tools and select efficient practices.

My point is not semantic.  I do not care how you define talent and I am not interested in defining it for you; I simply care that you do define it, that your definition has some underlying logic and that your language and logic regarding talent are what you build your choices about tools, practices and metrics upon.

I meet person after person after person that will argue passionately about their talent management practices, yet cannot define talent.  That is not evolution or development or adaptive practice…that is just ideology.

My point is absurdly practical.  There may be nothing more practical than understanding the primary materials of your craft.  While there seems to be no shortage of people talking about how HR professionals are in need of more business acumen, I think the real shortfall is a little closer to home.  Can you clearly and succinctly tell me how your organization creates value and what the human component of that creation process is?  If you cannot do that, I think that your ideas about what talent is are largely a product of what you hear other people say.

I do not believe in best practices, we simply do not live in that world anymore.  I do not claim to know what the components of your definition should be, my point is that you need to have the ability (as an individual and as an organization) to develop that definition or you are operating without a compass.

-joe

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