Is Talent Attracted or Created?

Is Talent Attracted or Created?

Emerging technologies, such as RPA (Robotic Process Automation), Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, and Predictive Analysis are providing companies with new tools to transform the way they do business; however, this is also modifying internal processes within organizations, establishing new ways of working, and demanding new abilities and talents from people.

Perhaps that’s why nowadays it’s common to talk about “recruiting the right talent” and “managing talent well within organizations.” But, is talent something that must be found, or rather developed?

The answer, according to my experience, is that both are true. Talent can be recruited, but more often than not, it’s attracted. Talented people nowadays look for attractive and relevant projects where they can collaborate and grow. You not only have to convince them that it’s worth it to work in your company, but also back it up with a work culture and daily performance according to what you promised. And, on the other hand, talent is developed internally by identifying the unique abilities of each person, and allowing them to put them into play along with the rest of the team’s skills. A collaborative environment allows each person to contribute what they do best, respect their execution, and be tolerant of errors (assess what failed, recover quickly, control damage and try again).

Because of these ideas, the book “Generating Talent: How to Put Intelligence to Work”, by the philosopher, writer, and Spanish educator, José Antonio Marina Torres, was a great find for me.

In pleasant and simple language, José Antonio Marina explains what talent is and how we can generate it on a personal and organizational level. José Antonio Marina explains that most current studies refer to talent as if it were a precious, scarce, and coveted gem we have to bid on: “It doesn’t matter if you are talking about the world of business or that of football: the important thing is to sign the best. International surveys – for example, the one carried out by the Corporate Executive Board – show that for three quarters of the directors of human resources state that their chief activity is to discover and retain talent. This has led to a spectacular increase in the values of contracts signed with individuals, to the extent that a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review asked whether the talent economy might not be «overvalued». Handbooks on talent also ask the question of how talent might be managed and maintained, always giving the impression that talent is a finite, even rare, resource. This idea is a part of an understanding of the world that is static, and in my opinion, old-fashioned. Its idea is that there is a determined quantity of a particular resource – a cake – and that the only thing to do is to share it out properly, getting as large a piece as possible. This is the antithesis to a creative vision of intelligence, a capacity which is capable of invention and of amplifying our possibilities, our wealth, our talent.”

For José Antonio Marina, Talent means having good ideas, making good decisions, y knowing how to follow them through. And though we are born with a certain genetic predisposition, the truth is that those genes aren’t always manifested; the environment is essential not only in activating a genetic gift, but also in molding and stimulating talent, especially through education. It is no accident that successful organizations have created their own Universities in the last 20 years: one of the keys to their success has been to focus on developing and improving their learning abilities. According to José Antonio Marina, an intelligent company is one in which maybe the people are not extraordinary, but when they’re working together in a particular way, there can be extraordinary results: “That extra plus is given by the organization. And it depends on its ability to learn. The talent of a group, society, or organization is in its ability to choose its goals correctly and mobilize all the individual intelligences that compose it to achieve them, increasing its chances in doing so.”

Author : Conciliac Team


José Antonio Marina, “Objetivo: Generar talento. Cómo poner en acción la inteligencia”, 2016, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial