The Talent Myth: How to Maximise your Creative Potential

The Talent Myth: How to Maximise your Creative Potential

The new, emerging view in talent research, favours the argument that talent is borne more by our actions (i.e., the combination of intensive practice and motivation)  than our genes. Daniel Coyle outlines his collection of simple, practical tips  – all field-tested and scientifically sound – for improving these skills. These tips have been formulated and taken directly from the talent hotbeds he visited and the scientists who research them.

  • Look at who you want to become   Studies show that even brief connections with role models can vastly increase unconscious motivation.
  • Steal without apology Stealing, often entitled ‘influence’ has a long tradition in art, sports, and design. E.g., The young Steve Jobs stole the idea for the computer mouse and drop-down menus from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre
  •  Be willing to be stupid Some places encourage ‘productive mistakes’ by establishing rules that encourage people to take risks. Google offers ’20 per cent time’, where workers are given a portion of their work time to spend on private, non-approved projects they are passionate about, and thus ones for which they are more likely to take risks.
  • Choose spartan over luxurious Coyle argues that luxury is a motivational narcotic: it signals your unconscious mind to give less effort. Talent hotbeds are not luxurious. E.g., The world’s highest-performing schools – those in Finland and South Korea – feature austere classrooms that look as if they haven’t changed since the 1950s.
  •  Figure out if it’s a hard skill or a soft skill Hard skills and soft skills are different (both use different structures of circuits in your brain), and thus are developed through different methods of deep practice. Hard, high-precision skills are actions that are performed as correctly and consistently as possible, every time. Soft, high-flexibility skills, are those that have many paths to a good result, not just one.
  • Honour the hard skills Most talents are not exclusively hard skills or soft skills, but combinations of the two: Prioritise the hard skills – these are more important to your talent in the longrun. Many top performers place great importance on practising the same skills they practised as beginners.
  • Don’t fall for the prodigy myth. A well-established body of research shows that that that talent is an inheritance is false. In fact, early success turns out to be a weak predictor of long-term success.
  • Many top performers are overlooked early on, then grow quietly into stars. E.g.,  Charles Darwin (considered slow and ordinary by teachers), Walt Disney (fired from an early job because he “lacked imagination”), Albert Einstein, Louis Pasteur, Paul Gauguin, Thomas Edison, Leo Tolstoy, Fred Astaire, Winston Churchill, Lucille Ball, and so on. One theory, put forth by Dr Carol Dweck of Stanford University, is that the praise and attention prodigies receive leads them to instinctively protect their ‘magical’ status by taking fewer risks, which eventually slows their learning.

 

If you have early success, do your best to ignore the praise and keep pushing yourself to the edges of your ability, where improvement happens. If you don’t have early success, don’t quit. For a full look at the article please visit

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/the-talent-myth-how-to-maximise-your-creative-potential-8073427.html?origin=internalSearch

 

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How Focusing Only On Positive Thinking And Ignoring Everything Else Can Have A Negative Effect

How focusing only on positive thinking and ignoring everything else can have a negative effect – Oliver Burkeman

The New York Times published an interesting article on the power of positive thinking in light of motivational speaker Tony Robbin’s fiasco in San Jose where 21 people were treated for burns after walking barefoot over hot coals as part of an event called Unleash the Power Within

  • Do relentless self- affirmations, positive visualisations, cheery slogans, and efforts to stamp out any negativity truly lift an individual’s mood? Psychologists at the University of Waterloo concluded that these statements can actually make people with low self-esteem feel worse. Psychologist Gabriele Oettingen also found that visualising a successful outcome, under certain conditions, can make people less likely to achieve it
  • What about goal setting in businesses?  Research shows that by fixating too vigorously on goals in an organisation’s overall mission can be distorted in desperate efforts to meet some overly narrow target (employees are also more likely to engage in unethical behaviour to meet these goals)

 

For a full look at the article please visit

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/the-positive-power-of-negative-thinking.html

 

 

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Talent Management III

Talent Management – It isn’t just about succession planning.

Many companies claim that they have a talent management strategy, when in fact, what they have is a contingency plan for replacing those occupying the top slots). Of course, succession planning is a critical component of any talent strategy, but the two are not synonymous.

Companies that are serious about talent management look across all levels and functions – they don’t just limit their time and finite resources to succession management.

Their approach is defined by three key distinctions:

  1. They balance the focus on “critical” positions and key players
  2. Their energy is directed at building a “pipeline” of a ready supply of leaders, rather than matching individuals with a specific future role
  3. They are careful not to treat all roles alike. They plan for the future security of “business critical” roles – those roles identified as adding unique value

If there is one rule of thumb that should guide your talent management efforts, its this: Your talent pipeline is only as strong as its weakest link. While there is no denying the importance of succession management, successful organisations need effective leaders at all areas and in all functional areas. If you are weak in one area of the pipeline, its likely to affect other areas of the organisation as well.

Building a strong talent pipeline is the most effective way to mitigate future risk, by ensuring that your organisation will have the leaders it needs to address future challenges.

Dont forget Mid Level Leaders

While there is a tremendous level of awareness that the need to focus on succession management and high potentials, organisations are increasingly acknowledging the need to develop mid-level leaders. As the critical link between the strategic level and the front lines, mid level leaders have an important, if overlooked, role in strategy execution.

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Talent Management

Talent Management I: What is Talent Management?

In simplest terms, it is the recruitment, development, promotion, and retention of people, planned and executed in line with your organisation’s current and future business goals.

An effective talent management system builds a winning organisation by:

  • Connecting corporate strategy with the leadership required to execute it
  • Defining what great talent looks like
  • Putting the best talent in every job
  • Developing the right skills at every level
  • Identifying and developing high potentials as part of a proactive succession planning process
  • Managing the performance of all employees- at all levels- to drive bottom-line performance.

Smart companies are getting wise to talent as a differentiator. Research bears this out: a whopping 96 percent of chairmen in a recent survey ranked talent management as highly important to the success of their organisation

 

Talent Management II: Leadership and Strategy

Your leadership needs are informed by your business strategy, including measures of success. Yet, most companies’ strategic business plans don’t incorporate an aligned strategic talent plan. This amounts to not thinking through how the business will be executed. To ensure your business and talent strategy complement each other, start with the end in mind. Based on your business strategy, what future challenges will leaders likely need to address? What kind of leaders do you need? And how many?

Can you articulate your talent strategy and how it ties to and supports your business strategy? If not there’s a good chance your business and talent strategy are out of alignment.

Conducting a Talent Audit

Talent Audits typically involve assessment of significant groups or whole strata within the organisation (e.g., the top two senior leadership levels), to give a robust evaluation of an organisation’s capability to execute desired strategy, as well as individual readiness to step up to various leader imperatives.

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Can Low Self Confidence be Instrumental to Career Success?

Can Low Self Confidence be Instrumental to Career Success?

 

In this months HBR, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (business psychologist at UCL) re-examines the cliché that high self-confidence is instrumental to career success.

He even argues that, low self-confidence can make you more successful. Chamorro-Premuzic spent years researching and consulting on talent, before concluding that self-confidence is only helpful when it’s low. Whilst extremely low confidence is not helpful (inhibits performance by inducing fear, worry, and stress) just-low-enough confidence can help people chase more attainable, and realistic goals. If you are serious about your goals, low self-confidence can be your biggest ally to accomplish them.

 

  • Lower self-confidence makes people pay attention to negative feedback and be self-critical:Whilst low self-confidence may turn people into a pessimist, pessimism combined with ambition can produce outstanding performance. To be the very best at anything, people need to be their harshest critic (most individuals tend to ignore negative feedback). Exceptional achievers always experience low levels of confidence and self-confidence, but they train hard and practice continually until they reach an acceptable level of competence.
  • Lower self-confidence can motivate people to work harder and prepare more: When people are serious about their goals, they will have more incentive to work hard (low confidence is only demotivating when people are not serious about their goals). Most people like the idea of being exceptional, but not enough to do what it takes to achieve it.
  • Lower self-confidence reduces the chances of coming across as arrogant or being deluded: According to Gallup, over 60% of employees dislike or hate their jobs, as a result of having narcissistic bosses. Lower self-confidence reduces not the chances of coming across as arrogant, People with low self-confidence are more likely to admit their mistakes — instead of blaming others — and rarely take credit for others’ accomplishments. This is arguably the most important benefit of low self-confidence because it points to the fact that low self-confidence can bring success, not just to individuals but also to organizations and society.

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An Evening with Charles Handy

An Evening with Charles Handy

Prof. Charles Handy interviewed by Brendan Madden, CEO of Relationships Ireland at the Mansion House last night.

An inspiring, insightful, enjoyable and optimistic talk by Prof. Handy. His new book and his wife’s photographs added to the experience. Liz Tandy provides great pictures which illustrate the world view of her social philosopher husband.

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Global Leadership

Global Leadership


Changing organisation structures means there are now more global roles, and an increasing need for organisations to manage their leadership talent globally.

In a review of global leadership Sloan et al., (2003) mapped the types of leadership roles to competencies. Sloan concluded that many of competencies required for leaders in general were also important for global leaders. However a few more may be needed, and at a higher level. In some cases the general leadership competencies must be more fully developed to be effective in a global role, e.g., shaping strategy and influencing acorss cultures is more complex than across homogenous environments. These competencies are: 

 

  • Thought leadership – How to balance people, results, customers, and profits. Leaders must constantly make choices in style and priorities. Some situations call for more direction and collaboration. Others require fast decisions to address critical risks. The more global the role, the higher the complexity and volume of information the leader must consider.

 

  • Results Leadership – This is the planning, organizing and distributing of work through a complex organization. This is increasingly important for all leaders – but especially for global leaders.  Global leaders have to work across multiple organization levels and national boundaries, where there are cultural differences in preferences for structure and risk. This adds to the complexity.

 

  • People Leadership –  This is understanding individual differences in motivation, aspiration, and expectation. It is important for all leaders who deal with increasingly diverse workforces. For Global Leaders building relationships across distances, and cultures, face to face and remotely, are key challenges. It is imperitive to communicate well orally, and in writing, so that  words and tone will not be misinterpreted.

 

  • Self Leadership – This includes core characteristics that are not immediately visible, learning orientation, adaptability, integrity and values. It can be more culture bound, and not included in competency models. (This less visible element usually comes in to light during a scandal). This core element of effective and ethical leadership is important to ensure a good match between the individual and leaders values and those of the organization.

 

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Leadership is a Conversation (cont)

Groysberg and Slind’s 4 elements of Organisational Conversation


 

Intimacy – How leaders relate to employees

Leaders must minimize the institutional, attitudinal, sometimes spatial distances between themselves and their employees. Mental or emotional proximity is essential. Leaders must be able to communicate personally and directly – they must value trust and authenticity enabling a move away from top town information flows towards bottom up exchanges of ideas. Conversational intimacy can become manifest in –Gaining trust – this  is often difficult to achieve and may mean addressing some topics that feel off limits. Listening well Leaders need to know when to stop talking and start listening. True attentiveness signals respect for people in all roles/levels of the business.

Interactivity – How leaders use communication channels

Interactions need to be open and fluid rather than closed and directive. Such open, two way dialogues will foster back to back, and face to face interactions which reinforce trust. Leaders can use video and social media tools to facilitate this two way direct, and informal communication. Employees must also have the tools and support to speak up (and where appropriate back)

Inclusion – How leaders develop organization content

This element of organizational conversation focuses on the employees’ role. Personal conversations are equal opportunity endeavors for employees as they  allow shared ownership of conversation content. A spirit of inclusion means that engaged employees can create the ideas and content themselves, and can actively participate in organizational messaging. Leaders involve employees in telling their company story, and enable them to act as brand ambassadors, and thought leaders

Intentionality- How leaders convey strategy

Rewarding personal conversations need to be open. However, they should not be aimless. Participants must have a purpose and agenda to what they want to achieve. Intentionality brings a measure of closure to the organizational conversation process. It requires leaders to convey strategic principles by explaining them, and by generating rather than enforcing consent.

 

 

 

 

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Leadership Is a Conversation

How should Leaders Manage Communication in their Organisations?


Globalisation and new technologies have reduced the viability and efficiency of traditional,  top-down approaches to management. There is now a real need for realistic and sophisticated model of leadership to replace  these command-and-control views.

The Organisational Conversation Model

Groysberg and Slind have developed a new “organisational conversation” model of leadership based on data over the last 2 years. Their sample of 150 includes professional communicators, and top leaders from over 100 diverse organisations ranging in size, industry, and sector. This Organisational Conversation Model emphasises how  leaders must move towards conversational processes to manage the flow of information to and from their employees. The research shows that  smart leaders:

  •  Engage with employees in ways  resembling regular person-to-person conversation
  • Initiate practices/ foster cultural norms that instill conversational sensibility in organisations, allowing growing companies to function like smaller ones.
  • Dont simply issue orders. This allows them to retain —operational flexibility, high employee engagement, tight strategic alignment among other performance indicators.

 

The model identifies four elements:

  • Intimacy
  •  Interactivity
  •  Inclusion
  • Intentionality (these will be discussed in the next blog).

 

 

 

 

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Marking the Difference: Talent, Strengths, and Instinct

Marking the Difference: Talent, Strengths, and Instinct


Author, independent consultant and speaker, Marcus Buckingham maintains that capitalizing on your strengths is the key to finding the most effective route to high performance.

  • What differentiates great managers and great teams from the rest?
  • How to uncover and leverage strengths while managing weaknesses: Unleashing the driving forces of individual and team performance
  • Making yourself “Standout”: Acheiving the self-awareness and self understanding that leads to professional and personal fulfilment.

 

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To learn more about our services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

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Align Behaviour with Corporate Values

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