Core components of talent

What is the purpose of this article?

Enable founders, the C-Suite, board of directors, investors, and others to discuss the company’s talent requirements.

You may download a PDF of this article from: Core components of talent

What are the critical learnings in this article?

There are 6 core components of talent. The most important is self-awareness.

  • Internal self-awareness: How clearly we see and understand ourselves. External self-awareness: understanding how other people view us.
  • How can you succeed if you don’t know how others perceive you, and which perceptions you need to change? E.g. Decision makers who would hire you or promote you? Customers who would buy from you? Someone deciding whether or not to become your spouse?
  • How can you succeed if you don’t understand you capabilities, the implications of your capabilities, and which ones to change? E.g. I’ve met people who have limited skills in certain areas but at the same time hope that companies that are looking for world class skills will hire them. The result is they don’t get hired, sometimes accompanied by massive disappointment.

What are the 6 core components of talent?

#1 Self Awareness

What are the two types of self-Awareness?1.

  • Internal self-awareness: How clearly we see and understand ourselves.
  • External self-awareness: understanding how other people view us.

What is the value of self awareness?

  • How can you succeed if you don’t know how others perceive you, and which perceptions you need to change? E.g. Decision makers who would hire you or promote you? Customers who would buy from you? Someone deciding whether or not to become your spouse?
  • How can you succeed if you don’t understand you capabilities, the implications of your capabilities, and which ones to change? E.g. I’ve met people who have limited skills in certain areas but at the same time hope that companies that are looking for world class skills will hire them. The result is they don’t get hired, sometimes accompanied by massive disappointment.
  • Internal self-awareness is associated with happiness, and higher job and relationship satisfaction.1
  • Employees perceive leaders with higher external self-awareness as: having better relationships with them and being more effective leaders.1

How many people have self-awareness?

  • Most people believe they are self-aware.1
  • Only 10-15% of people have self awareness.1
  • 87% of Stanford University MBA students rate their academic performance above the median. 94% of U.S. college professors rate themselves superior to their colleagues. 2
  • 96% of leaders believe their people skills are above average. 3

What are the challenges in gaining self-awareness?1

  • People don’t always learn from experience. Experience leads to over-confidence in self-knowledge
  • The more power a person has, the more likely they are to over-estimate their skills and abilities.
  • People who spend time in introspection are less self-aware, have worse job satisfaction, and well-being

#2 Character

  • VME (Values, Morals, and Ethics) Warren Buffett supposedly said “..looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”
  • Perseverance, especially against all odds.
  • Knowing when to stop persevering. One leader told me “If you’re digging yourself into a hole, stop digging.”

#3 Relationship skills

  • Create and maintain a network of relationships throughout your ecosystem.
  • Persuasion.
  • Negotiation.
  • Creating and maintaining followers. A leader without committed followers is not a leader.

#4 Crystallized intelligence4

  • Crystallized intelligence is comprised of historical: skills, knowledge(including ways to think, mental paradigms, methodologies), and data.
  • The need for crystallized knowledge varies enormously depending on the situation.
  • Many years of experience may be very valuable for a doctor doing knee replacements.
  • Understanding what customer needs were 5 years ago, and how those were met, may be of little value when: customers have changed; needs have changed; and competition has changed.

#5 Fluid intelligence5

Solve problems without past experience.

#6 Cognitive skills4

  • Long-term memory
  • Working memory: hang onto information while using it
  • Logic and reasoning
  • Visual processing
  • Processing speed
  • Attention
    1. Sustained – for long periods of time
    2. Selective – without distraction
    3. Divided – doing two things at once

When do you assess the core components of talent?

  • Hiring someone
  • Ongoing basis
  • Creating a development plan
  • Identifying a potential successor
  • Promotion
  • Termination

How can you assess talent?

The methods depend on where the talent is. E.g.

  • A potential hire you have not contacted nor have they contacted you.
  • A potential hire you are in contact with.
  • A current member of your company.

The methods may include:

  • Behavioural interviews
  • Simulations
  • 3600 assessments
  • Background checks
  • Various tests which assess each of the 6 core components.

What are your next steps?

  • Identify the role.
  • Define the long-term value of the role in your company’s future scenarios.
  • Will the role be preparing some-one to be a successor? Not every role and every person must be a successor e.g. not every board director needs to have the potential to be a board chair not must they be developed in order to become board chair.
  • What are the talent requirements for the role, based upon the above core components?
  • Prepare an evaluation process and plan for the person. The evaluation process will consider more than the above core components e.g. background check, social media monitoring, etc.

Footnotes

1 What self-awareness really is (and how to cultivate it) – Harvard Business Review 2019 January 04

https://hbr.org/2018/01/what-self-awareness-really-is-and-how-to-cultivate-it

We’re all above average

2 https://www.northcoastjournal.com/humboldt/were-all-above-average/Content?oid=4206392&media=AMP+HTML

Aspiring to leadership: Technical knowledge vs people skills

3 https://smartleaders.ca/aspiring-to-leadership-technical-knowledge-vs-people-skills/

4 Fluid vs crystallized intelligence

https://www.simplypsychology.org/fluid-crystallized-intelligence.html

5 What are cognitive skills?

https://www.mindmattersjo.com/what-are-cognitive-skills.html

 What further reading should you do?

Elite talent – what is the purpose?

https://koorandassociates.org/creating-business-value/elite-talent-what-is-the-purpose/

“Understanding the leaders ‘identity mindtrap’: Personal growth for the C-Suite” McKinsey Article

https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/understanding-the-leaders-identity-mindtrap-personal-growth-for-the-c-suite

“What self awareness is and how to cultivate it” Harvard Business Review

https://hbr.org/2018/01/what-self-awareness-really-is-and-how-to-cultivate-it

Why are value, morals, and ethics important?

https://koorandassociates.org/values-morals-and-ethics/why-are-values-morals-and-ethics-important/

Is your company planning to fail?

https://koorandassociates.org/avoiding-business-failure/is-your-company-planning-to-fail/