“Talent” is Bunk

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I’m sick of “talent.” I’m sick of wars for talent, and talent pipelines, and talent acquisition. I’m sick of talent anywhere it’s used as a substitute for people. People are not talent. People have talent. People are more than talent.

There’s no such thing as disembodied talent. Every bit of talent comes wrapped up in flesh and blood people.

People Are More Than Talent

People aren’t just talent. They bring you their hopes and fears. They bring their experience, expertise, and passions. Sure, their talent is important, but so are other things.

Their work ethic is important. The other people on your team want to work with someone who pulls their own weight. If you’ve got a slacker, even a talented one, you’ve got a problem.

Social skills matter. Nobody wants to work with or for a jerk. If you’ve got a talented person who can’t get along with other people, you’ve got a problem.

The situation matters. Context is critical. Talent is specific. If you’ve got a talented person in the wrong job, you have a problem.

Let’s quit talking about talent as if it’s some disembodied thing that we can bottle or store or (gag) develop. Instead, let’s think of talent as one of the many parts of those complex and wonderful people we work with.

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