« How Do You Define "Talent?" | Main | Creativity: Give Them Something to Argue About »


oscar marroquin

This is a thought provoking point. I suspect that its not quite as black and white as it may appear. One may argue that an equal balance is ideal, however I might suggest that the purpose of the organization, the type of business and the work environment has an impact on which way the scale is tipped. More and more people work remotely and have little contact with others. These environments offer limited opportunities for people to collaborate with peers and limit their opportunity to strengthen their emotional intelligence. Business tends to pursue immediate results which favors the quick learner, the intellectual, the expert. The price for this strategy comes later (as you have indicated).

Steve Roesler


I was recently in a meeting attended by members of a team from around the globe. I discovered that they had been "working together" for more than a year but this was the first time they had ever seen each other in person. The company thought it was a good idea to save money and have conference calls and tele-meetings. It turns out that the team members were well aware that they weren't as effective as they could be because they really didn't know each other. As a result, they pressed the issue and will now meet together quarterly. Their boss listened closely and finally heard how performance was being effected for the sake of what was, comparatively speaking, a few dollars (vs. the 500 million in their target).

working girl

I guess we all have our own experience. I've known a couple of brilliant folks who didn't work well with others who ultimately self-selected themselves into more independent roles. However, for the most part my experience tells me if a team can't absorb someone brilliant it's a management problem. For example, managers who prefer a cookie cutter style don't know how to appreciate or develop brilliance, which leads to frustration on all sides. Personally, I think it's a bit of a shame for a company if managers only feel comfortable managing non-brilliant people. Point taken about heart, though - good advice for brilliant and non-brilliant people alike.

Jeffrey J.  Reich

I believe "working girl" has nailed my thought. In addition to her comments I offer the example that a brilliant person may appear to not fit in, or be reported as not trying to fit in. Of course there are cases of brilliant persons who refuse to listen and therefore join the team. However, don't overlook a group being played. In some cases, naive or out of touch supervisors, are led to believe that the smart-one is a problem, but in reality it is simply politics/posturing on behalf of another employee who can manipulate the group. Bottom line: it comes down to management. Good management formulates a diverse set of members to facilitate a complete team.

Paul Plack

This seems a little like the stereotype of engineers with poor social skills. Heart can be developed, too, and is partly to do with promoting the security to interact fully. A manager who can integrate a savant into the organization successfully and get everyone working together is a winner.

Steve Roesler

Working Girl, Jeffrey, and Paul

This is a good topic and I don't want to give it short shrift. Am at a client location and will respond when I come up for air. Thanks to all. . .


Robert Cook

Malcolm Gladwell discussed a similar topic 'The Talent Myth - Are Smart People Overrated' in some detail in his book "What the Dog Saw". It provides some case examples and raises the issue for discussion. Personally, I'd prefer to have more talented people working with me, as they often provide the challenge to the status quo. Many companies, because of their in-built 'silo' mentality, do not encourage either the talent nor the challenging. Talented people can do this.

working girl

Steve - this may be the first time I ever circled back to comment twice... I just wanted to add that Steve Jobs once got fired because he wasn't willing to change: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-06/why-i-fired-steve-jobs/

Christian Dietz

Change is a great topic to old values that will never change. So change for my opinion can only address the own self, the growth of the own personality. I like EI Emotional Intelligence as it addresses a lot of the mentioned points here. But the best combination is the empathy and team capability of EI combined with a healthy cup of coffee. That is what I found out. Because EI triggers the potential in every team member and the enfoldment of it. This combined throughout the whole team. Caffeeine triggers regions in the brain that are responsible for "good feelings", joy, creativity, communication and so on. It is also by said by science that it is good to have small doses of caffeine like a sip several times throughout the day. That is enough for staying on that concentrated level. Different opinions about coffee itself. But recently say in the last years more and more scientists report about more and more proofs about health benefits of coffee. I personally have my working and motivational techniques and also have found a coffee which is healthy. With a healthy roasting, a phenomenal taste and 3-5 times the antioxidants of green tea. I work greatly with it. It is fun.

Steve Roesler

This has created an energizing conversation. I also realize that the post was brief and, in the back of my mind, I had specific examples with which I was involved.

The sin of not knowing how to manage talent can be deadly to an organization. I like Working Girl's reminder about the demise and return of Steve Jobs. The situations I had in mind were ones in which a company went overboard acknowledging an individual's talent and doing everything possible to offer help. The common issue was the person's refusal or inability to collaborate in any way, shape, or form. In other words, he or she created an individual silo and refused to make even minor changes after discussions, coaching, and examples of the impact on the team, service, and/or product.

That said, in each case, the individual was able to move to another company and be "successful." The over-arching issue was "best fit." In the case of Steve Jobs, the elements at play in Apple wouldn't allow him to succeed at a certain moment in time because leadership is situational. When the time was right, he was once again the right person.

Joel Lanier

The real talent is in those who are capable of knowing their limitations, or "knowing what they don't know", instead of mis-applying their brilliance beyond their level or niche of expertise. Too many these days are self-enamored of their brilliant abilities in a particular area, to be teachable.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Steve Roesler, Principal & Founder
The Steve Roesler Group
Office: 609.654.7376
Mobile: 856.275.4002

Enter your name and email address to receive your copy of my coaching eGuide.

Human Resources Today
Business Blogs



  • View Steve Roesler's profile on LinkedIn
Personal Growth from SelfGrowth.com

Get Updates via RSS Feed

  • Enter your email address in the yellow box for FREE daily updates

    Powered by FeedBlitz

Awards & Recognition...

  • Career 100
Alltop, all the top stories