New Directions

By Jim Ward

New Directions
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What is Talent?

Talent is the overriding factor in the NFL. Has been for a long time.” – Tony Dungy

As a football fan, I’m pleased the season has begun. We all know that in professional sports, it’s all about winning. In order to win, teams must field the most talented athletes. Similarly, organizations must have talented employees at all levels in order to succeed in business. In order to manage talent, many organizations have some sort of ranking system. This is often used to segment employees into different categories. Do you fall into the “exceeds expectation” category? Perhaps you have been slotted into the “needs improvement” category? Beginning in grade school we were given progress reports and grades. It’s no different in the workplace. Regardless of your ranking, your focus must be on continued improvement; always operate at a very high level. Set a high bar for yourself. Think of yourself as the CEO of your own business. As the CEO, you want to hire the best and most talented, just like in professional sports. If you find yourself at the bottom-end of some forced ranking, use that as motivation to improve. Individual performance is not constant, it must always be improving. In my business experience, I have seen many situations where individuals were ranked in the middle or bottom of some ranking system, then change companies and become a rock star at the new company. Occasionally, a change of scenery is all that was needed for them to excel. But most often, continued focus on self improvement insures success. Regardless of your situation, manage your own performance. Take the initiative yourself to professionally grow and develop to acquire those necessary skills to take you to the next level.

Until next time…


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