Recognise This! – The choices you make every day are more important than inborn talent.

I once worked for an organisation in which a senior leader argued “Hire for talent. You can teach skills, but you can’t teach talent.”

I’m sure that’s familiar to many of you as well. And I agree, up to a point. But I also believe it’s more important to hire for “attitude” – for “personality,” if you will.

People can’t help the talent they’re born with. They can work hard to acquire skills. But attitude – that’s a choice.  And a choice each of us makes every day that dramatically affects the workplace, individual performance and team success.

Steve Boese recently wrote wisely on this in his HR Technology blog,  in a story about basketball coach Jeff Van Gundy and player Nick Collison:

    “JVG observed that winning teams need guys like Collison, players that may not have all the physical skills of the top players on the team, but have found ways to contribute using capabilities and attributes that are mostly ‘choices’ and not simply genetic gifts.”

Take a minute and think about the people on your team (as colleagues or direct reports). How many are superstars based on innate talent? And how many are the glue that holds the team together and keeps things moving forward – largely because of the choices they make every day?

If you could build a new team from scratch, which group would you take with you?

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