10 Marks of Brainpowered Talent

Do you possess that sense wonder that rolls out unique talents? When organizational growth depends on making more products, in less time, with fewer people for increased dollars, what do you grow?

If you crave  innovation’s wealth more than mass production, it’s worth another glance at top talent development. See why kindergartners beat out business school students in the marshmallow talent match below.

Check out how diverse judges reward diverse talents, while narrow representation at the top will likely spot a narrow range of talents in the ranks. What can talent teach about winning more in an innovation era?

10 marks of brainpowered talent: 

1. Surprises – Talent springs up when least expected, and often delights from obscure corners. It may wait for your nod backstage of politics, rhetoric, or unfair advantages.  Or much like Susan Boyle’s brand, it may wait a lifetime, and almost miss recognition.

2. Questions – Talent responds to questions by proposing novel solutions. IQ sometimes springs up when least expected, and delights from unexpected corners, where you fail to search. Talent often waits for a nod backstage of politics, rhetoric, or unfair advantages.

3. Compels – Talent in a dying 47 year old professor, inventor, and leader, Randy Pausch, reminds you to begin now, all that you hope to achieve over a lifetime. A father of three small children, Randy’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, with six months to live, only increased the urgency to develop talent, as he responds in this video to the question: What would you say if you knew you were going to die and had a chance to sum of everything that was important to you? Randy’s last lecture summed up talent’s urgency that few people live.

4. Excels – Talent comes from the younger set, like Adora, who embraced its courage to win first, and then to teach those much older than herself, about talent that too few youth develop.

5. Invents - Young William Kamkwamba harnessed the wind to power his family’s home, by building an electricity-producing windmill, after a famine hit his country in Malawi.

6. Partners - Talent links to others in ways that build community, inspire goodwill and hold onto hope that’s bigger than life. Check out this amazing choir, in the Christmas Food Court Flash Mob,  in Welland, Ontario.

7. Challenges – Talent innately moves others to participate at improved levels, and video excites people to grow new talent for global recognition. Check out Chris Anderson’s illustrations of challenges  through dances that went viral.

8.  Investigates - Dr. Jill Bolte illustrates how the normal human brain works with talent, what a stroke brain suffers and loses, and how the brain’s plasticity causes talent to remap and change in newly discovered ways.

9. Facilitates – Talent brings people together to share intellectual opportunities where winning solutions build  larger than any one offering, and become more than the sum of participants. In this case the kindergartners’ talent beat business students, who are trained to look for the “one right answer.”

10. Laughs – Talent brings laughter to the table in ways that capture and encourage more brainpower from both genders.

When Albert Einstein said he had no particular talent, but that he was simply inquisitive – he addressed intelligences that rarely gets engaged in ourselves or others. What talent do you possess that would respond to the “what if…? possibilities of your workplace?

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Ellen,
    I tend to comment on posts that move me in some way and your post is right in there with the best. It sings with vitality and energy while providing a list to instruct those who may be new to leading for innovation and tapping talents as the talents emerge.

    I cringe when the total discussion about talent in organizations succumbs to structured org. analysis and “talent management” policies. These things have their place I am sure. Yet, true talent emerges as you note and when it does the organization can soar to success — if they can seize the day — rather than trying to “manage” it straight out.

    If you want to inspire talent as it emerges, feed it with the spirit of excellence. Here’s a post that goes further on this:
    —–
    http://katenasser.com/the-challenge-of-excellence-is-consistency-not-repetition/
    —–

    Thanks for a wonderful post. Loved it.
    Kate Nasser

  2. eweber says:

    Wow Kate – you have read between and above the lines here. Yes! If we are unable to see the nuances of talent – how can we help to develop more of them to ignite a workplace!

    Your post offers a wonderful reflection on a key topic and you said it better than I did! Thanks!

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