Cultivating Talent (and blessings in disguise)

I promise not to do too many football related posts (for the record I’m completely convinced I can recruit in the world of football too-maybe one day)! This one will just have a tiny reference to a somewhat first hand story, for picture painting purposes of course. My husband and I were leaving the movies tonight and frantically checking all of the football scores that we missed and the conversation led to someone I know that is now playing in the NFL. Way cool right (we can overlook the fact that he plays for the one team that I absolutely hate); anyway he never played football when we were in high school. He showed up for practice one day in jr high or something and never came back in order to focus on basketball. That wasn’t a bad choice considering basketball ended up paying for his college, but some error on the university’s part landed him a football scholarship when his basketball one ran out in order for him to finish his degree. From here he was picked up by an NFL team and landed a spot on their practice squad followed up the next year with a spot on the active roster of another team. Now we can occasionally see him on Sundays in the role of offensive tackle-how did this happen? Obviously he’s quite the athlete;  you don’t earn 1/2 million dollars with a short bit of experience unless you’re working hard! In fact he is making more money than their starting running back. 2 things happened in this scenario: 1) he took advantage of an opportunity and 2) someone cultivated his talent! This wouldn’t have been possible without someones flub at his university (thus the blessings in disguise reference), but it sure wouldn’t have gone this far without some dedication and drive. My point is these days we have geared our recruiting to also focus on a cultural fit combined with skill fit & sometimes we hit a gold mine with a cultural fit that is trainable to becoming a skill fit. I much prefer to train on skill as opposed to find a skilled person that I have to reprogram. When you find that person that is trainable you have to cultivate their existing talents into your useful talents and if they are driven then you’ve found your NFL rookie worth paying 1/2 million dollars to. Of course all of this is relevant to your organizations vision and long term goals so I fully acknowledge that this plan of action isn’t for everyone. I am simply pointing out that you shouldn’t discount a candidates abilities based on their current skill set, but consider where that current skill set could lead them and how far it could take your organization.

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