strangepeoplecrossingTalent! You know it when you’re faced with it, but try to define it and it then begins to escape you (check out these links for more on what talent is: Hello_world: TalentMyth; What is Talent?). Whatever it is “Talentâ€? is the word we’re using more and more to describe the best amongst us/ employees/ entrepreneurs/ managers/ workers. What I do know is that talent = the rock stars of our world, the weird ones (take a look at Rich…! and the Missing link crew and how Tom Peters defines Talent )! Could it be that Talent is most found in the alternative story (read weird places) … in the lives of those who do not typically live up to the “best employee” stereotype (read dominant story) with a white picket fence and 2 ½ kids … and oh, a MBA?

There have been dominant story narratives for employees throughout time – these stories have defined what it means to be an employee and what you should, or should not, do to be a great one. What were these stories?
#In the industrial era, the dominant story was about ‘working hard’ – which meant loyalty to your employer, predictable arrival and departure times, knuckling down in your cubicle (on the production line). If you did not fit into this picture, you were left out – you were an alternative story.
#In the information era, the dominant story was about ‘working smart’ – which meant (again) being loyal to your cubicle (but this time involved in work that streamlined our world). You were valued on your intellectual ability to turn rote work into automated process, but were still largely valued on loyalty, commitment and perseverance.
#In the connection economy, have we yet figured out what the dominant story of talent is? Or is it being formed as we speak (or write)? (Remember, dominant story is not all that bad!). Wha e do know is that Talent in the connection economy will need to be intelligent (less about IQ, and more about EQ), resourceful (ability to connect virtually), savvy (check out Keith’s thoughts), relational (no more Dilbert!), and this continues …
Now, Narrative theory as applied to business is a young ‘discipline’, whereas when it comes to the world of psychotherapy and counselling, it is most at home. My mission is to show how the narrative way can be translated into our workplaces such that our business’ become connection economy workplaces … so we not only conenct with our customers, but also with our human resources/capital/people … TALENT!
Allow me to digress to theory for a sec …
So, from previous posts we know that ‘story’ is an important metaphor for describing our world; our stories are made up of dominant stories that subjugate (read overpower) alternative stories; this is not a problem, but is when our alternative stories let us get out of problems that the dominant story is holding us to; now – getting out of the harmful/depressing/limiting/hindering dominant stories is about choosing a preferred story.
Back to the weird ones …
How much talent was lost in the industrial and information eras because certain people chose an alternative preferred story?
Is talent defined by certification? (Shot Rich…! for the question)
How much of the talent around us has been discovered in ‘not the usual’ spaces?
And then, how much talent is thwarted by the development of a defining definition of what Talent is?
Do we ever want to get to a solid, static idea of what talent is and what it is not?

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