When it comes to identifying talent, always read the label!!

I’ve looked at a lot of approaches used to identify ‘talent’ in sport and business and it’s clear that many organisations aren’t too sure about what actually works.

Establishing someone’s current level of performance is straightforward because it’s usually quite easy to test it. But it’s much more difficult to assess their POTENTIAL and how good they could be given the time and support needed to develop their skills.

But if you’re serious about giving opportunities to the ‘right’ people then you will need to assess their potential and one thing that can help you is to better understand ‘labels’.  By ‘labels’ I mean the beliefs we hold about the things we can and can’t do. What we think we’re good at and not so good at.  Many of these labels have been ‘given’ by others – parents, colleagues and teachers for example. But although we live in a society where labels are being handed out left, right and centre, people can CHOOSE if they accept them or not.

So, if you need to assess someone’s potential to be effective in a FUTURE role, then you need to know what labels they’ve accepted in the past and how these labels might impact on their likelihood of success.

How do you do this? Without wishing to dodge a tough question, it does depend on the approach to development in your organisation and the information you collect on each individual. But having people in your organisation who are skilled at ‘reading the label’ is a good place to start.


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