Talent is the single biggest overriding factor when it comes to professional success: you can have great processes but if you don’t have the talent on board it won’t matter. For businesses looking to achieve a high level of consistent success the reality is that when you see talent you have to aggressively go after it. It is a mistake to think that you can’t get better, and any business owner or entrepreneur who thinks that they alone have the answer for everything is destined for a hard fall—it’s about building a great team and giving them the tools, support and, most importantly, the opportunity to succeed.
The first thing to remember is to let your talent shine: when you get your horses, let them run. Don’t try and turn a thoroughbred into a plow horse; you have to let people be who they are. That doesn’t mean standing idly by and crossing your fingers. Allowing talented employees to be themselves and play to their strengths is anything but a passive exercise. Business owners and decision-makers need to ensure that their organizations are ready for change.
First, by putting the right kind of organizational infrastructure in place: the people, processes and policies that allow talented new hires to come in and do big things. And second, by simply being willing to change when circumstances demand it. In any business environment, you have to be flexible, and the degree of that flexibility is largely dictated by the dynamics of your existing team. The reality is that some people can adjust and others can’t. Understand that if you bring in Type A personalities who are talented and motivated it’s going to be tough for your organization to be successful with B and C talent around them.
How will your people respond to being pushed by new talent? In sports, the speed required to operate at the “next level” often comes as a shock to the athletes—the jump from high school to college and from college to the pros are huge. It is the same thing in business: the game gets faster at every level. But just as professional athletes are defined by how they engage in professional environments, the highest performers must step up in the most successful and competitive business environments. If their managers and coaches create a favorable environment for them, those who can step up and perform at a higher level will do so, and their teams and companies will become stronger and more competitive as a result.