15 November 2011

Working on an update

For the three of four gentle readers wondering where my next post is, I spend some time recently with one of my mentors, and he gave me some good advice on clarifying my leadership message.  I'm incorporating his comments into my notes, and should be posting an update soon.  Thanks for checking in.

02 November 2011

Talent and Skill

At the outset of my discussion of the leadership and management traits I outlined in my previous post, I want to make it clear how important it is to understand that neither leadership nor management alone is enough.  I've discovered that highly effective people develop both.


Talent:  Everyone is talented at something.  Some people can play the piano, some can sing, I can do neither.  These are not my talents, but I have found what I am good at.  Later, when we get to an explanation of "Discovered" in the leadership trait list, I'll show you one way I discovered my own leadership ability.  I'll give you a hint right now: it's based on finding out what I'm good at (what I love) and what I'm not good at (what I loathe).

Skill:  While talent is finding what you're innately good at, skill can be described as finding what you can improve.  I believe the most important first step in skill development is to seek advice; a great place to start is Don Campia's book, "Taking Advice" (2006 Harvard Business School Press, Boston).  Admitting my shortcomings and seeking out the help of experts is a key step I use toward improvement.  Following their recent World Series win, no one would doubt St. Louis Cardinal first-baseman Albert Pujols' hitting talent, but here's what he says about it:

"I'm a really smart player. If you tell me something, I get it quickly. If there is something wrong with my hitting, tell me what's wrong and I'll pick it up right away. That's the best thing I have going for me, my ability to listen to a coach and fix what I'm doing wrong."

I've discovered that a common trait of people who get things done is their ability to admit their shortcomings and seek help to fix these things.