Even in a down-economy, discussions about assessing, developing, or obtaining talent will not go away.
Indeed, this week we learned about another business best-seller on this topic.
Top Talent by Sylvia Ann Hewlett (Harvard Business School Press, 2010).
Over the years, at the First Friday Book Synopsis, we have featured books such as these on talent:
- The War for Talent by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, Beth Axelrod (Harvard Business School Press, 2001)
- Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin (Portfolio, 2008)
I think the major reason that the quest for talent will not go away is that it is part of the consideration at the top of a company’s Performance Management system. The first step is to “hire the right person.” The second step is to get the person off to a good start with proper orienting or onboarding. What’s funny is that if more companies would take the time to get the right person and get that person off to a great start, everything else under performance management would fall in place. For example, companies would need to less counseling, progressive discipline, firing, and so forth.
However, this is not the case! When managers have openings, they want to fill them as quickly as possible. Companies are not taking the time and care to be sure that the new hire is a proper fit. Talent is a huge consideration in this process, but not the only factor. Yet, it is this rush to fill an open position, rather than ensuring that a person is right for the job, that creates so much trouble.
I understand this. Many times managers with open positions do the work of the open position. That means at least two jobs – if not more. But, I think of the old line, “do you want to pay me now or pay me later?” A company does not have to take the time to get the right person, but when it does not, it will pay for it later in many ways.
Talent is important. That’s why we continue to see authors write about it, and why we see customers purchase books about it, that ultimately make best-seller lists.
What do you think? Let’s talk about it.
P.S. – By the way, did you know you can purchase synopses of the two talent books I refer to above at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com? You get the audio presentation along with an outline and sheet of key quotes.
In the first decade of the First Friday Book Synopsis, my favorite book — the best book I read — was The Creative Habit by Twala Tharp. Tharp is the award winning, Kennedy Center Honoree, choreographer. I realize that “best” is very subjective, and many would put other books at the top of their lists. But I put The Creative Habit at the very top of mine. It taught me so much. And I simply admire anyone who is the best at what they do trying to share with the rest of us.
Here is the last paragraph from her Kennedy Center biography:
“I have always believed a strong classical training is a very good foundation for moving in any direction,” Tharp has said. In virtually any direction she chooses, she has given us quite a lot.
One of her main points it this: life is made up of habits. Good habits, practiced habitually (that’s what makes them habits!), lead to success. So, creativity is a habit to be nurtured and cultivated.
Well, somehow I have missed that she has written a new book. I learned about her new book: The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working in this NY Times article, Tharp Is Back Where the Air Is Rarefied. (Yes, I have already ordered the book from Amazon, and can’t wait to read it).
A lot has been written about collaboration, like Don Tapscott’s terrific book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. But just as with creativity and innovation in her earlier book, Tharp seems to approach the issue from a completely different world than other business book authors. Here are a few excepts (picked up from the preview pages on Amazon):
For some of us, collaboration is a superior way of working; for almost all of us, it’s inevitable.
I’m a choreographer who makes dances that are performed on stages around the world. It’s just as accurate to say I’m a career collaborator.
I define collaboration as people working together – sometimes by choice, sometimes not.
The brilliant CEO, the politician who keeps his own counsel, and the lone hero are yesterday’s role models… The real success stories of our time are about joint efforts: sports teams, political campaigns, businesses, causes.
Collaboration is the buzzword of the new millennium.
Collaboration may be a practice – a way of working in harmony with others — but it begins with a point of view.
As seems to be happening with increasingly frequency, as I read about this book, I had this feeling – I really can’t wait to read it!
I’m not alone in my admiration of The Creative Habit. Cathie Black, president of Hearst magazines, listed “five books helpful to success.” Her list was published in the Wall Street Journal (Getting ahead. How to succeed in business? Invest some time with these books. Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2007), but I found it here. Here is her list:
1) Personal History by Katharine Graham, Knopf, 1997
2) The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, Simon & Schuster, 2003
3) Winning by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch, HarperBusiness, 2005
4) Never Check E-Mail in the Morning by Julie Morgenstern, Fireside, 2004
5) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, Free Press, 1989.