Talent Management or Talent Witnessing?

What do you observe? Do people have talent because an organization gave it to them? Or, do people have talent, and they develop it? Talent is defined in the OED as a natural ability. It comes from PIE *tele– “to lift, support, weigh. It might derive from the value you bring, the wealth you have in what you can contribute.

If talent is a natural ability, is talent something for an organization to manage, to control, or is talent something to invite and witness? Do only a few, special people have talent, or is talent something that everyone has? In an interview with Claudia Tate, Maya Angelou observed:

I believe talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it. Electricity makes no judgment. You can plug into it and light up a lamp, keep a heart pump going, light a cathedral, or you can electrocute a person with it. Electricity will do all that. It makes no judgment. I think talent is like that. I believe every person is born with talent.

Tate, C. (1985). Black Women Writers at Work. England, Oldcastle Books, p.7.

In our ecosynomic research, in 125 countries over the past 16 years, we find many descriptions of people with a very wide variety of talents, unique gifts they have developed. The highest performing groups we have found, large to small, are clear on the purpose they are serving and how to invite and deeply engage the many talents they need to achieve that purpose, in a collaborative way.

In many languages, people around the world describe the experience of these talents in terms of brilliance, of shining examples. Expressions of a person’s inner light, shining out. The term Homo lumens has emerged from this observation to describe a being of light, expressing itself through talents.

If everyone has innate talents, and everyone’s efforts need multiple talents of different types, maybe the task is to find out how to discover the treasures everyone has. That probably starts with asking and listening, with authentic curiosity and respect–the key that unlocks the code of the talent map, showing you where the treasures are. The treasures you seek, and maybe already have in front of you. Just ask.

One thought on “Talent Management or Talent Witnessing?

  1. Pingback: Why Is It A Surprise That It Is VERY EXPENSIVE To Disengage The People You Already Engaged? Some Are Figuring This Out « Reflections of a Pactoecographer

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