Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What is talent?

There's a lot of talk about the War for Talent, and about how companies are desperately seeking "talent".

But rarely do these folks take the time to define "talent" in a way that helps people manage their portfolio of skills or career.

Here's an unconventional, yet perhaps productive, definition of talent: A talent is any exploitable abnormality in your thinking or behavior.

This definition means a lot. First, it means that if you always try to be normal (like other people), then you are probably not focusing on your talent.

The enormously talented Jodie Foster said so herself, that you have to pursue your talent and not aim at normality.

Second, the word "exploitable" here means the social or commercial application of your abnormality.

Some people might be addicted to the phone and just love to talk to people and help them. An application could be to work as a headhunter or telemarketer.

Other people might be abnormal in that they love to read non-fiction (like me!). Then they could become summarizers (like the folks at www.summaries.com)