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Michael Admin at Hiremetrix posted Aug 26 '21 at 2:53 pm


A lot of companies and graduate recruiters advertise for ‘young talent’. Other than being ambiguous about what they’re looking for, talent alone isn’t particularly valuable. Finding a ‘talented’ person who can naturally complete the tasks required with minimal effort, wouldn’t be as beneficial as recruiting someone who is not necessarily talented but has the right attitude for the role. Finding just one suitable candidate, especially at entry level, can be a bit of a guessing game which is why I'm developing Hiremetrix. Because the right attitude often results in employees proactively learning and mastering the skills they need as they progress in their career. Talent doesn't take that initiative, the right attitude does.

"Natural talent or a high IQ cannot explain future achievement" (Robert Greene, Mastery)

What is ‘Talent’?

Talent is the natural ability you have. It’s not learned. Attitude is to do with the way you think and therefore affects your behaviour, how you approach challenges, decision making, initiative etc.

Why do we focus on ‘talent’?

There’s a general fascination with people who consistently outperform everyone else. Whether it’s watching Roger Federer winning another grand Slam or Usain Bolt setting another world record. These people undoubtably have a lot of talent, but then again, so does every Olympian. It’s easy to focus on vague adjectives like ‘talented’, 'gifted' or ‘intelligent’ when we’re not sure how someone has managed to achieve what they have. Putting someone’s success down to talent is a bit like saying ‘it was magic’. Most of us don’t see what’s gone on behind the scenes which can be overlooked when you're only exposed to the success.

"Ability or talent is the most useless virtue to possess" (Sports commentator, Harsha Bhoogle)

The Research

The 6 competencies we measure at Hiremetrix are sub-facets of measurable behavioural traits such as ‘conscientiousness’ made famous by the ‘Big 5’ psychometric test. Our experience is summed up best by a study led by Dr. Kevin Hoff at the University of Houston. His research team followed two groups of youth for 12 years and found that trait ‘conscientiousness’ and stability were the biggest predictors of career satisfaction and success. Their findings also showed that these personality traits are malleable over time and supports neuroscience that the brain changes and adapts through experience.

"Natural talent or a high IQ cannot explain future achievement" (Robert Greene, Mastery)

The top salespeople, the programmers that build great companies, the superstar marketers and inspirational leaders are undoubtedly talented, but their attitude is probably responsible for a lot more of their success. I think this is worth considering especially when recruiting entry level, school, college and university graduates who don’t have a track record to demonstrate their ability.

Written By Michael - Founder at Hiremetrix

recent by Michael  ·  Aug 26 '21 at 2:58 pm
Michael Sales Exec at Icertis posted Sep 15 '21 at 5:19 pm

I first became aware of good leadership qualities from sport. And in my experience, there are some leadership traits that are more widely accepted in sport than in working environments. But can they still be effective in business teams? A lot of successful coaches/managers/captains instinctively and explicitly, defend their athletes. I’ve also noticed they have an artful ability of demanding more whilst releasing pressure at the same time.

The instinct to defend

This isn’t the same as a popularity contest where David Brent is campaigning to be liked. In fact, I’ve noticed even some disagreeable leaders with a more autocratic leadership style, still defend their team very naturally. Even if they’re not always liked, teams that trust their leader to defend them (consciously or not) seem to give more of themselves to the cause.

Below is a transcript from when Sir Alex Ferguson challenged the media for criticising his younger players. (Not too dissimilar to the criticism being reported recently following England’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2021 final).

"It will be the same players who played on Wednesday, despite the criticism they got," Ferguson said. "You [the media] wrote that there's no future for these players, there's no tomorrow for them.' I couldn't believe that... It's unbelievable... Of course they will grow from that experience. I was confident playing them, they had every right to be played and they will play on Tuesday, too.”

Ferguson would go as far as Identifying individual journalists who he felt were attacking his players inappropriately.

And when addressing the infamous split with Roy Keane, Ferguson said his decision was based on Roy’s attacking the team.

By taking on outside threats, the team’s challenges are focused whilst a deeper trust develops with the person leading. There’s often a healthy friction in teams with more trust. The leader, who has proven they will back the team, won’t hesitate to raise the bar because they’re trusted to set it. Even with higher standards and more pressure, the team effort is stronger because when people we trust, believe we can achieve more than we thought we could, we grow.

Increasing & releasing pressure to avoid burnout

Inspiring teams to go further than they initially thought they could, comes with increased pressure as the expectations and standards are not at a comfortable level. Being able to increase and release pressure simultaneously balances people so they can perform at the edge of grip without loosing control. ‘Work hard, play hard’ is an example of this but if our target is on the line and we’re trying to close our biggest deal of the FY when it starts to slip, we might need a more immediate fix without avoiding the challenge.

An example of this can be seen right before the penalty shootout during the quarter final (Euros 2016). Portugals captain, Ronaldo, stops his teammate, Moutinho, from backing out of taking a penalty. “Hey! Hey! Come kick… you hit them well… if we loose then f* it”.


Sir Alex Ferguson Defending Ryan Giggs From Journalists

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