Skills or talents – harness both

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In order to successfully develop and implement a business concept, small business owners must possess various traits (and some would argue a degree of luck as well). Included among these are skills and talents which, when combined, allow the small business owner to execute their vision.

Similarly, when recruiting, small business owners evaluate the skills and talents of prospective employees to assess their fit with the business and the kind of contribution the employee is likely to make. But how does one distinguish between a skill and a talent, and why is it important to know the difference? At the most, basic level talent is regarded as an inherent ability (i.e. one is born with it), while a skill is regarded as a learned ability.

Both talents and skills can be honed with further training and coaching (e.g. through situational experiences in the workplace, further education) and can sometimes be indistinguishable in terms of the level of competence achieved.

They are also mutually reinforcing as a skill can be learned in a field or area in which one is talented. However, because talents are areas in which one has a natural aptitude for, individuals may find that less effort is required to develop talent and that they derive more enjoyment from activities or functions in which they are talented.

Knowing the difference between a skill and a talent can assist small business owners to identify talented high potential employees who can be taught the necessary skills to perform specific roles. It can also assist small business owners to better manage their employees by assigning them tasks and responsibilities they enjoy and have a natural flair for, building up employees’ self-esteem and enhancing their job satisfaction.

Understanding the difference between skills and talents can assist small business owners themselves in identifying the specific products and services their businesses should focus on, as the small business owners’ talents are likely to be the deciding factor (particularly in the early stages of the business). Doing what you are good at and intuitively understand makes good business sense, as other areas of expertise can be delegated or outsourced.

As part of their human resource management, small business owners should develop a customized plan to develop the skills and talents of each employee (and themselves). This may initially be time-consuming and even frustrating as most individuals tend to have a good understanding of what their skills are, but are not as insightful when it comes to their talents.

There also may not be a director obvious relationship between an identified talent and the needs of the business. Spending time on such an exercise will however yield long-term benefits such as a fully utilized workforce which makes the maximum possible contribution to the workforce, and low employee turnover.

 

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34 comments
  • exactly Phindi... two things also help me as well; 1. I tend to say to myself if I recruit soemone with the strengths and weakesses as I have one of us is surplus to requirements 2. Once the shortlist of candidates for emplyment has been finalised I like to do the final interviews together with the team he or she will be working wth. Often the post-interview discussions gives you some interesting insights
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  • I loved this article I think I referenced it previously on this platform. Let me share this except from Claudio Fernandez-Araoz from his article 21st Century Talent Spotting: “I was working in a new office without research support (in the pre-internet era) and Quinsa was the only serious beverage industry player in the region so I was simply unable to identify a large pool of people with the right industry and functional background. Ultimately I contacted Pedro Algorta an executive I’d met in 1981 while we were both studying at Stanford University. A survivor of the infamous 1972 plane crash in the Andes which has been chronicled in several books and the movie Alive Algorta was certainly an interesting choice. But he had no experience in the consumer goods business; was unfamiliar with Corrientes the province where the brewery was located; and had never worked in marketing or sales key areas of expertise. Still I had a feeling he would be successful and Quinsa agreed to hire him. That decision proved to be a smart one. Algorta was rapidly promoted to general manager of the Corrientes brewery and then CEO of Quinsa’s flagship Quilmes brewery. He also became a key member of the team that transformed Quinsa from a family-owned enterprise to a large respected conglomerate with a management team considered at the time to be among the best in Latin America. Why did the CEO of the electronics business who seemed so right for the position fail so miserably? And why did Algorta so clearly unqualified succeed so spectacularly? The answer is potential: the ability to adapt to and grow into increasingly complex roles and environments. Algorta had it; the first CEO did not. SOURCE: https://hbr.org/2014/06/21st-century-talent-spotting
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  • That is why it is important to arm yourself with relevant information request support from professionals in areas you may not be vest- talent recruiters would be the place to stop for mentorship.
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  • taking all into consideration it would seem that talent spotting is pretty much a difficult task and difficult to harness while finding people with the right attitude and teaching them skills is the way to go. Great entrepreneurs seem to have both but with a big dose of passion thrown into the mix ;)
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