Monday, October 27, 2014

Do you have the 10 critical talents?

Entrepreneurial thinking and doing are the most important capabilities companies need from their employees.  As the competitive pace increases, it becomes more and more critical.  ~Reid Hoffman

I don't have to look far to find studies and statistics claiming that we continue to have a talent shortage, even though unemployment has not yet returned to levels prior to the 2008 recession.  I wonder if part of the challenge is that the type of talent we all seem to want and wish for is far rarer than we realize.

Reid Hoffman recently wrote in a LinkedIn Talent Blog, "Entrepreneurial employees possess what eBay CEO John Donahoe calls the founder mind-set.  As he put it to us, 'People with the founder mind-set drive change, motivate people, and just get stuff done.'"

Gallup has studied this phenomenon in more detail and recently published the book Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder to help all of us better understand exactly what we are looking for and why it's so hard to find it.  Gallup reported:
The single most important factor for America's economic survival remains as mysterious as life on Mars.  But maybe that's because it's so unusual.  Preliminary Gallup research discovered that high entrepreneurial talent is much rarer than high IQ:  Only about five in 1,000 people have the aptitude for starting and growing a big business.  In comparison, 20 in 1,000 have IQs high enough to be accepted into Mensa. 
The 10 talents of successful entrepreneurs are:
  • Business Focus: You make decisions based on observed or anticipated effect on profit.
  • Confidence: You accurately know yourself and understand others.
  • Creative Thinker: You exhibit creativity in taking an existing idea or product and turning it into something better.
  • Delegator: You recognize that you cannot do everything and are willing to contemplate a shift in style and control.
  • Determination: You persevere through difficult, even seemingly insurmountable, obstacles.
  • Independent: You are prepared to do whatever needs to be done to build a successful venture.
  • Knowledge Seeker: You constantly search for information that is relevant to growing your business.
  • Promoter: You are the best spokesperson for the business.
  • Relationship-Builder: You have high social awareness and an ability to build relationships that are beneficial for the firm's survival and growth.
  • Risk-Taker: You instinctively know how to manage high-risk situations.
We may not be lucky enough to be one of the five out of a thousand to possess all 10 talents.  Gallup says to increase your likelihood of success, identify strategies to manage areas of weakness, or acquire skills and knowledge to deal with your lesser talents.  Or best of all, form partnerships with people who have a different set of entrepreneurial talents.

In the old economythe stable oneefficiency was the cardinal virtue.  In the new economy of fierce competition and rapid technological change with markets constantly shifting, entrepreneurial thinking is the new gold standard.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post. While I agree with the 10 talents, I would argue that, with few exceptions, they are timeless and irrespective of economic considerations. When I think of admired entrepreneurs, Ford, Tom Watson, John Johnson, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates, I am reminded of how focused they were on these talents, almost to a fault.

    In the case of both Jobs and Gates, they far surpassed their original partners (Wozniak and Allen) in understanding and embracing the criticality of these talents. Ford, Thomas Watson, and John Johnson were pressing in on these talents in economical environments equally challenging to the conditions of our day.

    I would change the conversation slightly and suggest that anyone who wants to be a success, regardless of the marketplace dynamics, has to understand, embrace, and utilize these talents.

    Finally, the list runs counter to the "employee mentality" where you come to work, adapt to the standard operating procedures, collect a pay check, and stand in line for a promotion.

    So the task is to step up to the plate, decide to be a "game changer", and see things not as they are but what they can become. Utilizing the 10 talents will be a key ingredient to success at whatever level you find yourself and regardless of the economic conditions.

    John Wendell Adams