We have heard about talent management in large organisations for many years now, but there seems to be a difference of opinion of what it is and how it is operationalised.  Some say it is for the top performers in an organisation only, just the top 5%.  On the other side of the spectrum, some say it is all inclusive for all members of the organisation.  So, unless you are considered a top 5% performer, from a personal development perspective, this means it is a lottery.  However, what is talent and how can we nurture it?  We must take responsibility for our own growth and development and nurture our own talent. 

Talent has been defined as those individuals who can make a difference to organisational performance either through their immediate contribution or, in the longer-term, by demonstrating the highest levels of potential.

According to Abraham Maslow, this was first termed self-actualisation which is striving to reach one’s potential capacity, abilities, and talent, through setting powerful goals and achieving them.  Self-actualisation was the top part of his famous pyramid for the hierarchy of needs.  He stated that we would be dissatisfied unless we lived out our full potential.  Maslow contended that self-actualisation was being congruent with one’s own nature and totally committed to developing our capabilities around this nature.  Essentially, he says, it is being our best.  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about growth through flow.  Flow is where the skills acquired, and the challenge being faced are commensurate.  The balance between skills and challenge are in harmony.  This is where growth takes place where there are infinite opportunities for challenge and improvement.  Essentially, one grows tired of any job where there is no possibility for growth and improvement.

Founding Father of positive psychology Martin Seligman suggests the likes of empirical questionnaires and IQ tests do little to uncover the potential for success and talent.  He argues that to choose people for success, you need to select from three characteristics, aptitude, motivation, and optimism.   Brian Tracy talks about human potential being a combination of inborn attributes, acquired attributes and attitude.  He continues to state, the inborn attributes, being natural tendencies, temperament and general mental ability are fairly fixed at birth.  The acquired attributes are the skills, knowledge and experience that have been channelled using our natural talent through education as we grow and mature.






Lastly, he argues that the key is our attitude, or mental and emotional energy that we bring to bear on our inborn and acquired attributes.  Whilst the former is harder to change and influence, our attitude can be improved without limit.  Tony Robbins talks about performance and specifically state management.  He argues that peak performance will happen when we are able to manage our state from a paralysing state such as confusion, depression, and fear to a more enabling state such as confidence, inner strength, and belief.  He goes on to reason that understanding state is the key to achieving excellence and positive change.  Robert Dilts suggests finding and using our talent is accomplished by reaching our highest calling.  Our deepest and most powerful thoughts in terms of what we can imagine and then achieve. 




Paul Brown discusses insights from Neuro- Science and proposes that the brain is remarkably good at adapting to external stimuli and is always changing and adapting.  Neural networks are formed for everything we pay attention to and nothing that we do not.  He argues that paying attention is a pre-requisite for building neural networks and that we only pay attention to those stimuli that are interesting and meaningful to us.  Richard Bandler confers and talks about being the best version of yourself.  Bob Proctor states that the quality of your thinking at a higher frequency will lead to achieving high results.  It is not just what you think, but how and why according to Jack Black.

Finally, Stephen Covey talks about sharpening the saw in his seventh habit.  This is to preserve and enhance the assets that you have within your nature.

In order to realise your full potential and manage and maximise your own talent, you must first know yourself.  You must now your true values, what really matters.  You must identify you true strengths and capabilities and work with them always.  You must develop your self awareness to be able to recognise and deal with negative emotion to prevent poor performance.  You must work with your natural intelligence and pay attention to what you want, set goals and decide how you will attain them.

Fun questions:

  • What would be the most interesting and meaningful work for you?
  • What are you doing when you are the most engaged and happy in your work?
  • When you are feeling negative emotions what are you thinking?
  • What one thing are you prepared to change to improve your working life?
  • What attitude to your situation will you choose to adopt?

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Working with your talent really is key to a happier and better performance!

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