Recognizing Your Talents

I mentored an executive who was elected CEO and known for his enterprising entrepreneurial spirit. Part of his vision included growing the company faster by converting his employees from a corporate to an entrepreneurial

After directing a strategy retreat for his leadership team, I developed an accountability system for them as well that included annual, quarterly, and monthly milestones. At the first monthly meeting, the CEO sought feedback on the selection criteria for the development vendors he intended to hire to produce the training content necessary
to help his employees to think and perform like

“You can’t hire someone to be you,” I said. “The expert is YOU. You know how to achieve these results; it’s your implicit knowledge that must be made explicit.” Like many other smart, creative people I’ve worked with, this CEO was seeking answers outside of himself when the solutions lay within.

Prior to the second monthly meeting, we extracted and mapped his process for helping individuals cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset. Then I recommended appointing production and publishing vendors to translate this process into content that employees could learn, integrate, and apply on the job. The CEO finally acknowledged his talent in the new context when growth exceeded budget by 40 percent that year.

As was the case with this CEO, people often are blind to their own talents. Since talents are innate, we take them for granted and even assume they come easily to other people as well.

Because thinking like an entrepreneur comes easily to this CEO, he assumed he had to go elsewhere to develop the content to educate his employees. He probably thought, “Well, the information I have can’t be what I need; it’s got to be something else. By hiring these vendors, I’m going to get the people who know what I need to achieve my objective.” Or he didn’t recognize that the talent that had made him successful in his own division, and that led to his promotion, is also valid in his new role as CEO.

How many times have you:

  • Taken your talent for granted?
  • Assumed that what comes naturally to you also is easy for others?
  • Not recognized your talent in a different context?

The good news is that when something comes easily to you, it’s probably pointing to a hidden talent. Even so, don’t assume that things that come easily to you also come easily to others. The advantage of talents is that they are transferable across situations and even industries. What talents are YOU overlooking?


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