As business evolves and technology takes up more of the menial and mechanical aspects of production and services, it is natural for people to fear for their jobs and their future at work.
Yet I have seen that where people are enabled to grow themselves, facilitated to learn continuously, something very different occurs. Instead of fear driving their behaviour making them want to hold onto the status quo, they become motivated to innovate and effect changes alongside the technology that is being implemented.
It is the natural state of human beings to want to continuously grow and evolve – it’s just that we haven’t had the context to allow this – particularly as working for money in order to survive has prioritised people’s choices. However, as the developed nations get close to taking money out of the equation for people’s choices where work is concerned, work can become about fulfilling innate talents and interests.
We are at a cross-roads, where a new opportunity can arise for people and the work they do; where talent and growing people from the inside out becomes an important transition to greater meaning and purpose at work.
Lack of talent
Fifty per cent of leaders are apparently concerned about the lack of talent in their organisation and fear they won’t be able to accrue the talent that their organisation will need to grow.
In my work with senior executives (including those at FTSE 100 companies) I have seen how narrow their perception of what talent looks like – normally meaning young people with specific skills – such as IT, innovation, product design or business development. Such narrow definitions of talent prevent leaders perceiving the range of talents and more importantly, the depth of talents, available inside every person.
The wealth and riches locked up inside people and available to every organisation is huge. Iif only its leaders took the approach that it is their responsibility to unlock and nourish this talent – rather than every person should come to their organisation with their talents already discovered, developed and grown for the use of the company. Our schools and universities are not so sophisticated or developed in the skills for unlocking talents and strengths, nor are those companies who employ people without investing in their development.
At Corporate Alchemy, we take the approach that every person is highly talented, with many innate abilities that may not have seen the light of day. Our mission is to help every individual recognise and connect to their talents and aptitudes, to become deeply aware of their nature and qualities and know where and how to apply them. Because it is evident to us that most people hardly know themselves, let alone other people. I know this of myself – having been a continuous learner and personal developer for over thirty years – I learn more and understand myself differently as I grow and change.
People are very much like an iceberg – only a small percentage of who they are, their behaviour and actions – are seen. Ninety percent or more is unseen and a mystery! People’s values, preferences, talents, strengths, motives are largely unrecognised, even to themselves and certainly to those around them.
We use a large range of tools to help people become more aware of these deeper characteristics, part of which are their talents and strengths. Myers Briggs, Strengthsfinder, Talent Dynamics, DISC, PSCI, CAPS, each in their own way highlight different aspects of people, and how their talents and preferences play out in the real world. It is only by becoming aware of their innate talents can they work at then growing them into strengths.
Internal growth to achieve external success
As business coaches, we work with many executives, often to help them achieve a promotion, or goal. They and their boss will identify this as an external goal that requires taking specific actions, whereas we perceive this as an internal growth challenge; where the requirement is truly to grow the person in awareness, sensitivity, knowledge, competence, values, skills and motive. Not an easy thing to do, but possible, with application, reflection and self-examination.
Initially clients don’t recognise that they are on an internal growth path – as if having a purposeful development journey is a foreign concept to them. But, if genuinely undertaken, they see how valuable the internal growth journey can be, in unleashing their self-awareness and confidence; and by understanding themselves better, they can understand others better too.
By valuing their own internal growth and seeing the positive differences it leads to, it becomes easier for them to champion others’ growth – a positive trend which needs supporting now and into the future, if the ‘talent challenge’ is to be met.
2 January 2017