Talent! It seems in every professional conversation someone sprinkles in expressions like “attracting talent” or “retaining the talent.” I first heard the expression working in television and film where “the talent” was a reference to the on-camera personality. Talent isn’t rare or in scarce quantities – talented people are everywhere in your organization. They just might not be engaging their talent because they don’t believe in the organization and the mission. Sometimes organizations can get so mired in avoiding risk that it becomes impossible to take risks of positive consequence. Because of course if you want to achieve a zero-failure rate, the fastest way to do that is stop trying. Often companies bureaucratize the process of innovation to the point that “leading” market strategies look less like audacious experimentation and more like rearranging the deck furniture.
Jonas Ridderstrale reminds us that to inspire audacious innovation and allow talented groups and individuals to experiment in market changing ways, we need to build a culture of religion – an environment where talent is engaged because work has meaning. When people feel a collective sense of purpose and mission, engagement goes way up. And when people are fully present and engaged, their true talent surfaces.