Are you driving your team toward excellence?
When speaking of talent, tendency is to think of it as a supreme gift: either you have it or not, you can’t build or develop it, it’s out of your sphere of influence.
The definition of talent in recent years has drastically and completely changed the perspective on how talent is perceived and thought: it can be defined as a set of mindsets, approaches, sensitivity, recurring behavioral filters and patterns every individual possesses, which can be furthermore trained and developed.
Have you ever had to perform an activity or a task that you initially thought particularly difficult and in the end it turned out to be less complicated than expected? Or again, talking with a friend of yours, did it ever happen that she ask how you have been able to do it so well and quickly?
Those are clear signs that, to perform that task attaining such a great results, you fielded some of your talents.
The good news is that the more you are going to train those capabilities, the easier and more natural you will be able to transform them in exceptional performances.
Most professional athletes, speaking on how they were been able to develop their talents, they cite three important factors: having discovered early about their talents (intuition), having trained it a lot and with continuity (perseverance), having been stubborn in believing in yourself (trust and faith).
One trick would seem to match talent with passion, actually, being two faces of the same coin: this factor, on its own, allow everyone to persist during strenuous training sessions, without feeling too much fatigued, giving free rein to an inner necessity.
Thus, achieving the fluency that the Tai Chi practitioners indicate to be the ‘Ri’ stage in the ‘Shu-Ha-Ri’ learning process, where there is no anymore the necessity to give names to the techniques learned, these ones are now used and executed naturally because they already are in the muscle-memory.
Talents are always looking for new challenges, anything else, earlier, would fail them into boredom.
Facing challenges allow them to learn and improve and refine their abilities, in a never ending cycle of continuous process improvement (do you remember the Deming’s PDCA Cycle or even the Kaizen practice from Masaaki Imai?)
People like these are the ones every leader would have on board in their teams. This is even more important when managing projects with high complexity, high specialization, multifaceted systems and technology: projects like these necessitate outstanding skills to be effectively managed.
This is what the authors
of the agile manifesto
intended when they wrote the values
of that document.
They stressed the necessity to value individuals and their interactions, to build project around motivated people, not the other way round, furthermore they described the urgency in pursuing continuously the technical excellence and that the best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
This is what Peter Druker wanted to tell us with the statement:
“People should perform tasks according to their strengths.
Do not waste time trying to get them better with their weaknesses”
This is the reason why leaders should discover as soon as possible, their collaborators’ talent helping them to nurture it, transforming those people from good worker to excellent performers.
This last should be a fundamental rule in every agile team.