Felix Dennis on Talent

As I wrote about in this post, successful people have the resilience to recover from failure and try again.  I think they also have superior talent management capabilities.  Felix Dennis, who speaks much more from experience than I, agrees.

In his book, How to Get Rich, Felix Dennis describes five business start-up errors.  The fifth error is skimping on talent.  I like what Dennis has to say here (p. 105):

If you are determined to be rich, there is only one talent you require.  Can you think of it before your eyes skim down to the next paragraph?

Right.  You need the talent to identify, hire and nurture others with talent.

Sometimes, to ensure that a talented individual will work for you, or will stay working for you, you need to be flexible.  Money is not always the great motivator here.  Talented people want a good salary, of course, but surprisingly often they are more attracted to new opportunities and challenges.

When you come across real talent, it is sometimes worth allowing them to create the structure in which they choose to labor.

You must identify talent.  Then you must move heaven and earth to hire it.  You must nurture it, reward it properly and protect it from being poached.  If necessary, dream up a new project.  Better sill, get the talent to dream it up.

I’ve noticed that some leaders see themselves as the talent.  They do their best to outshine others and sometimes they reach good levels of success.  For awhile. Until the next beacon outshines them.  Then these guys are taken out.

Other leaders see their job more like what Dennis describes.  Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, was classic example of this.  These types of leaders seem to have better odds at superior, long-lasting success.  These guys tend to go out on their own terms.


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