Talent? Great to Have But You Don’t Always Need the Best Talent to Win

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Nov 6, 2014

I think most of us have gotten away from using the phrase “war for talent’ throughout the industry.

It’s not really a war, and if it was, most of you would lose.

Most talent acquisition shops are unwilling to do what it would take to win a war. That’s just a fact, not a shot at your shop.

Will the “best” talent help you win?

There’s a better phrase that I think should encompass the plight of talent in our organizations that is used frequently in sports:

It’s not a ‘talent’ contest. It’s a ‘winning’ contest!”

This means it doesn’t matter how talented the other team is; it all comes down to winning the game. Great, you have the best talent, but if you’re losing the game/contest/event, your high level of talent means nothing!

HR, Talent Acquisition, and most executives have a hard time with this. They want to get the ‘best” talent when, in reality, the best talent might not help your organization “win.”

Yes, you win or lose in most organizations. You either make the sale or don’t. You either launch on time or don’t. You either design award-winning products, or you design products that never make it to market. That is winning and losing in a business sense.

Business isn’t a talent game. It’s a winning and losing game.

You need people willing to give more effort

What does this mean to HR and Talent Acquisition? It means you don’t always need the most talented individuals to win.

What you need are people who are willing to give that little bit of extra effort over those who won’t. This discretionary effort gets you the win over talented individuals who aren’t willing to give such effort.

You need individuals who put the goal and the vision first. Again, this has nothing to do with talent. They need to believe in what you are doing as an organization, and then do what it takes to make those goals a reality.

You need individuals who want to see those around them succeed and are willing to sacrifice themselves, from time to time, to see their peers and co-workers succeed.

Yes, this sacrifice has nothing to do with talent.

You don’t need the most talented

Don’t get me wrong — I love talent. All of us need a certain level of talent to do what we do, but almost all of us don’t need to be the “most” talented to be successful.

When we go out and build our talent strategies, we have to be aware of this. It’s not about hiring top talent; it’s about hiring the talent that will make our organization’s successful.

I don’t want my organization to be in a talent game. I want my organization to be in a winning game.

This was originally published on The Tim Sackett Project.

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