March Madness. The Oscars. Spring Training. The New Broadway Season. This is the time of year to be thinking about exceptional talent.
I am not talking your run of the mill “high potential”, long the focus of most organization’s talent development efforts. Instead, this the caliber of person who could turn a lackluster franchise into world champions. In the arts, exceptional talent reinvent the whole notion of musical theatre or can turn an indie film into a blockbuster hit.
That person may be sitting in your organization, invisible to your leadership team and talent development processes.
Like some people in the sports or entertainment industries, you might be good at identifying first-round picks. But you might lag at finding the gifted person who defies convention and changes the rules of the game.
As is the case with an undrafted safety, ponytailed ambassador of hip hop or a poor filmmaker from Liberty City, your exceptional talent needs your attention and investment.
Are you concerned that your exceptional talent goes unnoticed? Or, perhaps worse, he or she might look to join a hot start-up to fulfill their ambition and vision?
We recently completed a study of exceptional talent at several large technology companies. We found that there are some unifying characteristics but they aren’t the ones used to populate the HR 9-box.