Carlos López Patán
CEO
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Expert Contributor

Building Companies on People’s Talent

ByCarlos López |Tue, 05/31/2022 - 11:00

“Talent” is a common concept for companies and it is increasingly replacing the known terms “human resources” and “capital.” Talent management and optimization for the generation of better outcomes pose major challenges. There is a great number of articles dealing with this topic and they, undoubtedly, arrive at the same conclusion: talented people are necessary for a company to properly operate and be successful.

As the authors Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones and Beth Axelrod put it in their book, The War for Talent, having a talent mindset, “…relates to holding the passionate belief that having great talent is essential to fulfilling a company's goals and that for attracting the best, it is crucial for company leaders to commit to this common goal.” Therefore, having highly-talented people means companies must focus on what makes people special; that is, their knowledge and their capabilities; this focus does not regard people as replaceable resources.

When we talk about talent, it may be understood as an innate and potential element. This means we can turn talent into strength by developing skills and enhancing knowledge, both of which can be acquired; however, if they are not talent-based they risk falling into a bottomless hole.

As for the concept of strength, it implies developing potential, which is consciously boosting talent.

It is essential that we change our focus to work under this new management model. We must base our work on abundance rather than focus on scarcity and use the resources we have instead of those that are hard to get, or we don’t even have.

What can be done about the resources we don’t have? Nothing. The same is true for people’s skills.

According to Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, most companies are built on two flawed assumptions about people:

  • Each person can learn to be competent in almost anything.
  • Each person's greatest room for growth is in his or her areas of greatest weakness.

However, many people’s success stories tell us that the greatest potential for a person to grow is in his or her greatest strengths and only about 17 percent of us leverage our talents most of the time.

There is no question this poses a challenge that demands business leaders identify the capacities, skills, and both personal and professional interests of employees. This knowledge will contribute to the fulfillment of the goals of the companies we work for.

We must now be aware of the fact that companies need people with specific competencies targeted to meet the requirements of the companies they work for, allowing them not only to face the everyday challenges but also to inspire people moving in their working environment. Our priority must be changing the way we manage staff by supporting consistent development, boosting their strengths, and providing them with opportunities to enhance the talent they already have instead of their areas of improvement.

According to Peter Druker, the father of modern management, people are at the core of companies’ quality and productivity; therefore, they can’t be reduced to a number expressed as a cost. Talented people are the main component of successful businesses. This idea was highly revolutionary at the time. Today, more and more companies embrace this type of management.

Talent should also be managed by the right leaders, otherwise, we risk losing precious talent.

A leader's mission must be to align the strengths of a company in a way that weaknesses become irrelevant.

Adopting a vision that enhances employees' strengths will make leaders focus on the development of the innate skills of a person. This vision is much more effective to encourage people to learn and enjoy their careers to the fullest.

As leaders, we must abide by this philosophy since we are responsible for effectively developing our teams based on their strengths.

There is a close relationship between people’s engagement and high performance in a talent management system. But what are the key elements that promote engagement?

  1. A leader understands, encourages, and develops people; he or she becomes the major facilitator of employees' engagement and builds the team’s growth upon its most competent members, not on the total average.
  2. A person must have a sense of purpose. People want to have a job that has a meaning for them.
  3. People must be able to see an opportunity for growth as the result of a successful implementation of their strengths. Knowing where their strengths are allows employees to connect to the purpose of the company.

When people know, use, and develop their strengths, their sense of commitment expands and employee turnover in companies decreases. According to Gallup, a strength-based culture makes employees six times more engaged.

According to The Marcus Buckingham Company:

  • The single best predictor of a consistently high-performing team is the answer to this question: “Do you get the opportunity to do what you do best every day at work?”
  • Teams with individuals who base their work on their strengths, massively outperform teams with people who don’t: they are more profitable, more productive, less likely to quit, less likely to have accidents on the job … the list goes on.
  • People change but their natural talents remain the same. Research has shown that your interests, passions, and natural talents tend to be long-lasting.

This is why, when identifying talented people, the first thing we must do is find out their personal passions and interests, and embrace the same culture of doing what we do best, every day. This will, undoubtedly, translate into better results.

Photo by:   Carlos López Patán