Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why Talent is Over-rated...

....is the title of a too-long piece in this week's Fortune Magazine. So I didn't read it all. But there are enough pictures and captions to get the point.

Bottom line - according to the caption at the top of Page 1: THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM ABOUT THE "THE NATURAL" IS A MYTH. THE REAL PATH TO GREAT PERFORMANCE IS A MATTER OF CHOICE. THE QUESTION IS HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

Great. All I have to do is want it more and try harder. That's depressing. I was really convinced I could simply wing it better....!!

Over the past few weeks I've been meeting and talking to everyone who will listen about what makes a great, and not-so-great CEO. I'm not so sure simply trying harder is the answer. Here's what I've heard some keys to success are:
  • experience - especially big company experience - go and get trained in places where they've at least thought about what they're doing - how to plan, how to execute, how to throw a great x-mas party
  • brains - do you think Google, Microsoft and RIM are being run by dummies? they're not; sharpen up!
  • insecurity - nothing drives drive like proving to your father you're better than he is - all those kids with perfect family lives and too much money - they're not going anywhere - why would they? they don't have anything to prove
  • ego - insecurity's macho partner - knowing you're the chosen one even when nobody else can remember your name is a huge advantage - these people may be obnoxious to be around but they're not going anywhere...and then they're running the place
  • luck - talk to any insecure egomaniac who's made it big; even they will tell you they got lucky somewhere along the way - of course their spouses will be the first to reassure them what we already all know - "but honey, you make your own luck"
  • common sense - which as we all know, is very uncommon....therefore providing a unique competitive advantage that most of us walking around bumping into walls don't have
So, sure keeping trying harder. Just recognize regardless of what Fortune Magazine says, some people really are walking around with advantages you'll have trouble overcoming.

No comments: