AdvantEdge Joy@Work Podcast:
AdvantEdge Joy@Work Podcast:

Episode · 1 year ago

What is Talent, Really, Anyway?


This guide will clarify the history and etymology of Talent from its Biblical roots and why this matters in modern business. This will enable you to be crystal clear about talent, skills, strengths and potential and form the basis of how we unlock and leverage talent to unstuck potential and develop the skills you need to thrive.

Hey there, this is the advantage podcast, where hacking the art and neuroscience of expert leadership so that you can unstuck your true potential in life and work. I'm Dr John Kay, I'm your host, and welcome to this episode. What is talent really anyway? The purpose of this guide is to clarify the history and etymology of talent, for its biblical roots and why this matters in modern business. And I'll do that by showing you the origins of talent and what it really is in today's business context, or share why this matters and the implications and how to define it so that everyone is on the same pay your payoff. Well, this will enable you to be crystal clear about talent, skills, strength and potential and form the basis of how we unlock and leverage talent to unstuck potential and develop the skills that you need to thrive. Everyone wants talent, but what is it talent? Individual seek to develop it, companies want to identify and retain it. Succession planners search for it, politicians plan for it, the world wants it. There's even a war for it. But what is it exactly? The word talent is bandied around for so many things, and we don't always truly understand what is meant by talent. This is a real problem because over the centuries, the term talent has morphed and become a floating signifier and become a reference to something beyond real life, something indefinite and indefinable. So when organizations, human resources and leaders spend large sums of money on talent, in talent management or talent development, neither they nor we truly know what they mean or to what they refer. UMB But why does this matter? Okay, what if you have a pink pill that makes your work almost effortless? Yes, simultaneously fulfilling every moment of work. You are in the zone, you're flowing and your performance is so good and your productivity increases. Anyone more engaged with your work and with your...

...colleagues? The company who made that pink pill would be worth Gosillions, and businesses would be clamoring for their workers to take this magnificent drug so they could profit even more and keep stuff happily employed and engaged for years to come at higher wages, with shorter working hours and greater productivity. All those pink pills would be flying off the shelves faster than a speeding bullet. This is the promise and advantage of leveraging talent. See, if we're going to be seeking it, identify it, retaining a planning for it and spending large summer money on something so critically important to our future success, should we know what it is? So, to the trustee dictionary, talent innate mental or artistic aptitude as opposed to acquired ability, less than genius. Terrific. Thank you very much. And what is innate? Innate existing in one from birth, inborn native, for example, innate musical talent. Now my core business is neuroscience, bace coaching for behavior change. So if talent cannot be acquired or developed, I better go and find a better definition. High so talent the natural ability to do something. Well, that nasty word natural, natural based on the state or things in nature constituted by nature. For example, growth is a natural process. Okay, let's try the thesaurus. It's always illuminating and I find the word talent is associated with words like ability, a debentness, a droitness, charisma, facility, gift, knack, wisdom, gumption, capacity, brilliant and genius. Okay, it seems the wise are born with a talent or not. There's no acquiring a talent. Using it, certainly, but if the foundation is not there, what's a boy to do? Now companies seek talent for succession planning, as do politicians. It's most often associated with leadership or management talent and companies are hooked on retaining talent, and...

...surely that's right. Once you have talent in your organization you really don't lose it. Many, inspired by McKinsey articles in one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven, the war for talent, took this to extreme, indulging talent and doing everything they could keep them engaged, satisfied, even delighted. Malcolm Gladwell, author of the Tipping Point, wrote an article in the New York magazine in two thousand and two entitled the Talent Myth. See, by then the whole war for talent was under a dark, ominous cloud called Enron. The mackinseye article had, after all, been largely based on what Enron was doing at the time and how everybody should emulate it. And people still higher McKinsey. MMM. The trouble is that talent is most often ascribed to the very brightest, highly motivated individuals who are very driven. And being bright intelligent does not necessarily mean talent. Being driven is not the only criteria for success. Time for a little etymology, which is a fancy Greek word for the history of a word. Talent is most often abscribed to first being used in the Bible. The Hebrew term for talent was a key car, which is a flat round gold or silver disc, or a circular shaped loaf. In the Greek language, the word comes from talent on a large monetary measurement equal to six thousand drag Mars or Donari, the Greek and Roman silver coins. A person with a talent of gold even today would be considered wealthy and successful, and Sixtyzero US dollars per kilo in early two thousand and twenty one and the talent weighing around thirty five kilos, that's a couple of a million US dollars. Talent in the late thirteen century meant inclination, disposition, will desire and is from old French talent from the twelve century itself from medieval Latin talenter, plural of talentum, which is inclination leaning will desire see the medieval Latin and...

...common roomanic sense developed from figurative use of the word in the sense of money, meaning special natural ability, aptitude, gift committed to one for use and improvement. And this developed by the mid fifteen century, in part perhaps, from figurative sense wealth, but mostly from the parable of the talents. In Matthew, Chapter Fifteen, verses fourteen to thirty, it was John Calvin, according to Paul Marshall in his book a kind of life imposed on man, vocation and social order from Tyndale to block, that helped shape the modern meaning of the word talent by his revolutionary change in the interpretation of the parable of the talents. See, Calvin defined the talents as gifts from God in the form of a person's calling or natural ability, for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man traveling to a far country who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them, and to one he gave five talents, to another two and to another one, to each according to his own ability, and immediately went on a journey. As from on, the new King James Version of Matthew Twenty five, fourteen to fifty. If the concept of talent has its roots in measurement, power and success, then why is evaluating and measuring talent a concept that business leaders struggle with? Is it simply just the idea of having the most talent that lends to creating and growing a successful company? The history behind talent and our inability to effectively measure or assess talent is irony at its finest. But what if talent isn't innate? The earlier we've learned that talent is something you are born with. There's no requiring of it or developing it. Yet in his hugely popular books the Talent Code, Daniel Coil challenges that, saying that greatness isn't born but grown. It's not a gift but something that you develop with Depractice, ignition and master coaching. Talent, according to Coil, is to do with the myelin coating of the neurons in your brain. The more you practice a skill, the thicker than mile in sheath and the faster those neurons fire, making the whole process increasingly effortless.

When you practice something, you repeatedly send electrical impulses along neural circuits in your brain. This triggers the development of milin around those nerve fibers. Thicker milin allows faster and more precise responses. Until the skills seem automatic. They look like talent, and I have to agree completely with coil. Heck, I am in the development business right. Many experiments in neuroscience have shown that repeated practice of specific skills increases mylid thickness, which means that the signals process through those fibers are faster and have less noise or interference. Does the good data gets through more often first time and your response is faster. A smilin sheath is like the plastic coating on the electrical and communication wires in your home and office, and what this means is that less energy is used by the brain and less deliberate, conscious effort. Enough practice, and this is where where I diverge from coil. Your skill adeptness looks just like talent, so much so that people will call what you are doing talented. Of course they don't see the years and hours of deep practice that you somehow achieved overnight. Now I like to use the conscious competence learning model to show how this works. In this model, there are four stages of developing competence in doing something, and you'll find the diagram on the show notes to help you. But it set. One, we begin a new skill as unconsciously incompetent, that is, we don't know how much we don't know. As we develop, as we learn, in step two we become increasingly aware of just how much we don't know. We become consciously incompetent. We know what we don't know. We persevere and in step three, after this frustrating period and practice in usually safe environment until that glorious day when we become consciously competent. We know that we know. And step four is where we continue to use the knowledge and skills we know well and keep on, you see it, until one day...

...we are so good at doing it that it's completely natural, it feels effortless, and that's because we've reached unconscious competence. If asked how they do what they do at this point, most people reply I don't know, I just do it. Refer to the show notes to see the my board diagram. I'm sure it'll help. This skill and it's knowledge. Step for where you are unconsciously competent has become deeply ingrained and no liver longer requires any conscious thought or effort on our part. It looks exactly the same as a talent, but a talent, on the other hand, is a giftedness that you have. It's something that you do without having had to practice or learn. You will have little, if no, idea about how you do it, but it's what motor had a four years old when he sat before a piano for the first time. So it's a gift, it's deep practice. Do The semantics matter? I actually think it matters a whole heap. It's what happens when what looks like talent gets labeled as something it isn't, and I've seen this in many organizations. The brightest and best are identified as part of the talent pool. There's some funfare, a suite of training programs, perhaps, NBAS are taken and the talent are promoted. Meanwhile the non talent morale has sunk employee again, engagement has plummeted. Two new laws, many have quit or are actively updating their C V and linked in profile seeking new positions. Commitment has dropped and performance suffered. The talent, being highly driven, take this upon themselves and try to make up for the loss, working extra harder. Many are burning out. There follows a new initiative to regain the work life balance and a big drive to retain talent. I recommend you check out Billy Adamson's twenty sixteen paper published in philosophy of management. I've linked it in the show notes. It's for a comprehensive and rigorous debate on the vital importance of knowing what talent means. I do believe that we should identify talent, because it can be the key to unstuck in your true potential and thus unleashing your performance and sustaining it for the long term. And it is only when... are employing your real talent that you truly shine. All is well with your soul because you are using your gifts. Your work is almost effortless and fulfilling. Every moment. You are in your flow zone and your performance is astounding. Your productivity increases and you feel truly engaged with your work and your colleagues. You just took the pink pill when it's the result of deep practice, master coaching and ignition. All the above may be true for a time, even a long time, but eventually it seems that the thrall pales as the ignition moment fades in memory and you begin to wander what it was you love so much to make you practice so deeply for so long. Organization spend a long time and vast sums are managing and developing and retaining talent and their missing something critically important, which is everyone has talent. Everyone, you may and Bob next door all have talent. You might not know what your talent is yet, but I can assure you that you do have a natural giftedness or doing something. It will be something that you do exceptionally well and you almost certainly thoroughly enjoy doing it, or at least you used to enjoy doing it. See, the problem from most people is that they no longer have the opportunity to do what they are talented at doing because in and of itself, it doesn't pay the bills. After years of research in developing and evaluating competence and competency and working in the talent management and development field, teaching, training and coaching, I conclude that talent is your natural giftedness to do something. You may not be using it, but everyone has talent. The skills and abilities we developed through deep practice are a component of our potential. They can be developed such that they closely resemble a talent. To do that well, need to unlock your talent, to unstuck your potential. Sure, there are some people who show greater abilities than others, but all three servants will given the opportunity to grow their talents according to their abilities. Maybe your natural talent is something that is valued in this world. Maybe you've had to pivot,...

...adapt and do something that you can do well enough, but as far removed from your talent. But it pays the bills. What if I told you that you can find and use your natural giftedness by unlocking your talent and leverage the process to your advantage, that you can do so effortlessly and well in a completely different field, one that you do almost effortlessly find fulfilling and engaging, and it does pay the bills? How much would that advantage be worth to you? We call it the advantage potential to performance system and I'm happy to share details about how it can work for you and your team. Thanks for listening to this addition of the advantage podcast. I've been your host, Dr John K do get in touch at leadership Advantagecom biphon out and be greatly blessed.

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