Is Yours a Winning Team?

talent planning

“The best team wins. We all know this. We also know this doesn’t happen by accident. Having a plan and structure for selecting and developing the right talent … will set your team apart from the competition.”

You’re competing with rival businesses, some large and some small, for the same customers and the same dollars. Are you giving your business what it needs to succeed? Are you doing all you can to win? If you’re not recruiting and hiring the most talented people, you’re not.

What Is Talent?

Talent is simply achievement. You can see it. “Talent that has not achieved concrete or tangible results represents mere potential … an unknown that is as yet unworthy of the trust required to move individuals, organizations, and societies from one level to the next.”2

I’ll take it a step further. When you’re consistently performing a task at a high level, you’re demonstrating skill. Talent is a group of skills. Here’s an example.

Say I want to be an Accountant. I’m good with numbers—I can usually figure out how much change I’m due when I’m at the store. Let’s assume I’m exceptionally good with numbers, and I’ve scored well on math tests. Does this mean I have the talent to be an Accountant?


To say I have the talent to be an Accountant, in addition to demonstrating skill in math, I’d also need to demonstrate skill (i.e., perform at a high level) in several areas:

  • Accounting Procedures and Regulations
  •  Analysis
  • Attention to Detail
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Judgment
  • Negotiation
  • Organization

Can You Measure Talent?

Not only can you measure talent, you should. Here are four commonly-used indicators:3

  • Experience: what you’ve done before
  • Capabilities and Competencies: what you can do now
  • Intelligence: how smart you are
  • Personality: how you behave

Are you analyzing prospective and existing employees? While indicators alone can’t guarantee an employee will excel, conducting the analysis is better than not: “We have discovered that all [indicators] are better than mere chance at predicting success.”4

Why Is Talent Important?

If you want more of the customers you’re competing for and a larger share of the market, find and hire the best talent. Large companies, having done this for years, have procedures to ensure each prospective employee is screened: application, aptitude test, background check, drug screen, interview, references. Some even check your credit history.

Each area conveys your talent (i.e., your achievement) in that area, so the company sees how you’ve performed and gets a good idea of how you’ll perform in the future.

Few small businesses are this aggressive. Most of them use only one or two indicators, and some don’t use any! They hire a relative or friend with no evidence they can do the job. Let alone do it well.

“Those who attract and retain the best talent have the greatest chance of success. And when it comes to beating the competition, if you’re not fostering a cadre of highly-talented individuals in your organization, you’re probably already seeing the erosion of any competitive advantage you had.”5

Want more customers and more market share? Or, do you simply want to keep the customers you have? Either way, you need the best team. So hire the best talent.


1.    Jay Lux, “Talent Management: It Goes Way Beyond Recruiting,” Rural Cooperatives, November/December 2013, 18.

2.    Emmett C. Murphy, Talent IQ (Massachusetts: Platinum Press, 2007), 4.

3.    Nik Kinley and Shlomo Ben-Hur, Talent Intelligence (California: Jossey-Bass, 2013), 23.

4.    Kinley and Ben-Hur, Talent Intelligence, 42.

5.    Dustin S. Klein, “If You Want to Survive The Talent War … You Better Make Talent Your Job,” Smart Business Houston, Winter 2014, 11.