Talent vs. Skill

I am often asked if this person has a talent or this person has a skill. I really don’t think a lot of people understand the difference.

In my head if you have a talent, that is something you were born with. Talent can be developed, but if you simply don’t have a talent you can never learn that. I can take piano playing lessons until I am old and gray which is not as far away as it used to be. But I will never be a great piano player. I simply have no talent.

I had some talent at golf, and I practiced a lot and I got to be pretty good. Mid single digits. However no amount of practice will ever put me on the PGA tour. I simply don’t have that much talent. Even after lessons, even after practice even after a long time I just don’t have enough skill to go to that next level.

I mention this because I’m talking about a lot of analytics ideas.

I realized buying is a talent. To be able to select product, to understand the difference between green and off green and light green and medium green… I have never had that kind of talent. And to be fair most people do not. I have actually seen first-hand what a lot of talent looks like at this and it’s impressive to watch. But in the 20-something years I’ve been doing this I’ve only seen a handful that were truly remarkable talents.

Is analytics a skill or a talent? I can teach a lot of people to do analytics, but will they ever be great at it without the talent? Or, if somebody has a little bit of talent can we teach them a little bit of skill and they would be amazing?

And then the harder question of all of the above is how do you measure, how do you hire for that, and how do you really know the difference??

When you hire for something are you hiring for a skill or a talent? Or you hiring for the culture, and the ability to learn the skill. And then hoping for talent I guess is just implied.

What’s the highest priority in hiring a new person? My order goes number one culture / attitude- will they survive and thrive? #2, talent. And #3 skills. Because I don’t believe I can teach the first two things.

So number one has to come right out of the box, number 2 has to be at least somewhat there, and number three? If number one is correct then number 3 can be taught.

And when you get all three in a Venn diagram intersecting? Then you have a winner: lock that unicorn in!

Now back to more important things like picking football.

That Planning Guy

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