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Posts Tagged ‘talent

Looking for talents, create it yourself.

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Educate TrainI was reading recently an excellent article about youth unemployment. Youth unemployment is one of the biggest present challenges of our society. The author of the article mentions that companies are often more entitled to hire people having experience. For students just finishing their studies, it is difficult to have a first job. Companies, most of the time, want to hire people fully operational starting the first day. Is it the only and the best way solution? How many times will it take to find the rare talent?

This article makes me think about a story Luc de Brabandere, a Belgian consultant in creativity, is often telling in his speeches. An insurance company was looking to hire people having experience in the insurance industry for the sales department. As they could not find the number of qualified people needed, they hired also people having no experience in that field. After few time, the company made the statement that people who have no experience in insurance industry provided better results than the others.  How could explain we such paradox? One explanation is probably that the unqualified people were more motivated to learn, more creative as they have to proof or to reveal a talent, to take up the challenge.

Such statement has to make think business owners and managers about the following. Today, in organizations, people are an asset and the collective intelligence is a reality. With the complexity of the processes, each people are a key within the process chain. By developing competences and talents, and being aware that it is a necessity, people wants to be implicated in the processes of the organization activity. The wish to learn and to be implicate in the business, are the key of motivation. Companies that spend time to train employee have to see this time as an investment and will get more return on investment with motivated and dedicated people. By creating a process of collective intelligence, these companies can create a more sustainable and long term collaboration with the employees.

Faster changes are a trend, and people have to move with these changes, by acquiring competences, by following permanent training. Change is a constant and companies have to integrate such constant in their activities plans. We know today that diploma is not a sufficient element to have a job. Changes mean also the obsolescence of knowledge. Companies have to invest in this competences evolution and renewal. To create and sustain such dynamic, people need to have clear objectives, and should be encourage to make solutions proposals, to be creative, and to be considered as a real stakeholder, a player taking responsibilities within the organization.

Education is important, but self-made man can also develop talents and skills, they can also have brilliant professional careers. The quality of the diploma is not always a guarantee to have the best people for a job. As Darwin said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Changes implies different steps with new goals, new challenges. People who embrace changes have the desire to face new challenge, and to learn is an ongoing challenge.

If talents are lacking, try to develop them yourself by giving opportunities to motivated people. Today, the future resides in knowledge sharing, and if you can transmit also passion, the return on investment will certainly be higher.

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Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

December 8, 2014 at 21:53

Does uncertainty boost talent and creativity?

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If something is growing since I started my professional career 23 years ago, it is uncertainty. As each of us can see around, the world is fast moving. By looking how the world moved, we just can note that it doesn’t move on a linear way. A fundamental question we have to think about, is how can we drive our own way, our own career, if predictions become impossible?

This question, we thought about it for the first time when we are at school. At a certain time, we have to choice the studies we want to make at the university or high school. By the past, such choice was driven a bit by passion, but also by the opportunities such studies can offer. Today, how can we answer to such question when your future job probably doesn’t exist yet. For instance, did you heard from webmaster or social media 20 years ago? What answer can we give to such question today?

Fundamentally, before to be workers, we are first human being, and a strong education is the basic to develop citizenship, but also to become…the person we are. By learning languages, mathematics, philosophy, we are acquiring matters feeding our brain, developing our intelligence, and maybe making appear some talent and passion. Knowledge and talents are the key component to catch opportunities, and to build a wealthy career. This is a first step. As some of us can think, there are people who have strong education, but who are facing professional difficulties, due to difficult economical circumstances, or because there are doing a too specific job for which the demand is low. Does it mean that people are definitively lost in such circumstance, that there are front of a dark horizon?

Today, education is not something we only acquired when we were at school, but it is something we have to feed and acquire on an ongoing way, for the simple reason that in a fast moving environment, we have to move fast also. Learning has to be a natural exercise. Our brain is a muscle we have to make work too. As I mention above, all what we can learn can drive us to new opportunities, but the combination of skills can make us creative and develop new ideas in order to provide answers to new demands, to create new opportunities too. I would mention Steve Jobs who doesn’t invent the graphical interface (it was first a Xerox invention), but he was the first who perceived the potential of such technical process. The combination of skills is what Steve Jobs mention in his famous speech at the Standford University ( * ): connecting the dots. You never know all what you can do with some skill forward. You can only note it backward.

Talent and skills are certainly the most appropriate answer to face uncertainty. But what is also even most important is experiences. Each of us, we developed skills and talents by studying at school or by reading books, but also by working on several projects during our career. Each project is probably an important source of knowledge, leading to make some statements, pushing us to find solutions, to innovate and to get constant feedback of the stakeholders of the project. With such feedback, we are feeding our own knowledge base, and building a strong reference system, allowing us to create and develop more efficient solutions, to face much bigger challenges. By acquiring and developing talents, by acquiring experience, we empower our self-confidence, and we are much more prepared to face uncertainty.

Uncertainty has not to be seen in a negative way, but as a potential of opportunities. I remember few years ago when I went on holiday in France to make a bicycle trip during 10 days. Each day we started, we had no idea what we will do or see during the day. On the evening, we had wonderful images of landscape, of interesting visits and conversations with local people. This is probably one of the most beautiful holidays I had. By thinking to much in advance to scenarios, you are often disappointed by the reality.

Uncertainty is not something we can’t face. It is something that can bring us energy and motivate us to develop talents. It implies we need to have objectives and passion to reach them, to be self-confident. It is something we can be prepared, if we work on our capacity of adaptation, if we are flexible, if we decide to expand our horizon. But as mention Lynda Gratton, in her book “The shift”, we need to be “active creators” and not passive consumers. It is not forbidden to think that uncertainty is something contributing to boost talent and creativity.

Blog references: (*) http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html , (**) http://www.lyndagratton.com/

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

May 1, 2012 at 16:48

What if I fail?

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In my previous article, I was talking about an entrepreneur I met recently who was building her first project as entrepreneur. We talked about the fact that the entrepreneurship is always a risk, and that the chances to succeed and to fail exist. The possibility to fail is probably a important reason making that some people don’t want to take the risk of entrepreneurship.

As Peter Drucker said, to become an entrepreneur, you don’t need an entrepreneur character, but character only. A character able to face risk, looking for change, and seeing change as an opportunity. But the ability to face risk is not enough, you have to manage it too. When you start a project presenting risks, have always an alternative plan, and measure the level of risk you will not go over. These two conditions will make that you will take more easily risks and be able to take appropriate actions if you don’t succeed.

The character is not only a condition making that people are scared to become entrepreneur. Failure is ofter considered as negative by people around you, and failing people have a guilty feeling. Failure has to be seen as a fact and something you can learn from. Such experience is not useless for many reasons:

  • By launching your own activity, you will have to do a lot of things and to manage things you were not used to manage. You will develop skills and maybe discover hidden talents. This talents and skills are open doors to new opportunities,
  • In an entrepreneurship project, you meet people to take advices, to contract specific expertise. You will meet new environments, you build a network, with people who bring you advice, and maybe new ideas. These new ideas or advice you acquired are feeding your knowledge and experience. You will can use them for other projects, or in other contexts.
  • By analyzing the reason of your failure, you will identify your mistakes, and to develop alternative solutions or scenarios. Such analyze make that you will be ready to restart other projects on a more appropriate way, without repeating the same mistakes,
  • Your experience of failure can make that you could be a valuable partner for future projects, build with other partners. Expertise is most of the time acquired by experience,and failure is a part of experience and contributes to bring added value,

By having this in mind, failure doesn’t mean that you are back to the start point. You are just on an new start point, with more skills, more experience, making that failure is probably not an absolute necessity, but an experience you can use as a raw material to build new and stronger projects. By do not deciding to take the risk to launch your own project, you will not fail but you will not succeed too. Remember this quote I don’t remember the author: “There is no such thing as a failed entrepreneur. You are a failed entrepreneur only when you quit. Until then, you’re simply not successful yet.”

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 11, 2012 at 21:35

The intangible side of an organization.

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Traditionally, each company or organization used to publish financial statements in order to present their results and the performances of the activity. Most of the time, the level of profit is the main concern of companies. Of course, making profit is a essential condition to ensure the durability of a company and to finance in future projects. But is profit the only condition and the only parameter proving the good wealth of a company, of an organization?

A financial statement is a picture at a T time of the property of a company, an organization. A picture provide a range of information, but the evolution between two period of time will tell more about the trend of the business or the activity. In other words, the movie will tell us more than a couple of pictures. Nevertheless, these financial information does not include a range of intangible values that will have a positive or negative impact on the activity or the business.

What are these intangible values contributing to the sustainability of a company, of an organization? Let us review a few of them:

  • Innovation: in a fast moving environment where a lot of competitors are acting, innovation is a key factor of success. Innovation requires to perceive the trends of evolution, to look at the expectation of people, of to potential market needs. Innovation means to anticipate and to look further than the horizon. Innovation and creation of new innovative products or services will distinguish your company from your competitors. Success is never definitively acquired. But sometime, companies are meeting success and forget that success has a time. The major point is not how to survive to failure, but how to survive to success.
  • Talent and competences: An organization or a company works only thanks to the collaboration of people having competences and skills. The development of competences level will contribute to the performance level. The organization needs to have a long term view in term of competence development. Some people are leaving the organization, and it means that a part of know-how is leaving the company too. To ensure the sustainability of resources and talents has to be a major concern of the companies.
  • Vision and team spirit: The organization needs to have a clear vision and all the member have to subscribe to that vision, to the common goal. It is only by sharing the same vision that they can contribute to common goals and show team spirit. A company like Appel Computer succeeded in her major realizations, because Appel members are sharing Steve Jobs vision.
  • Motivation: Each collaborator, each member of a team has competences. But competences is not the only condition making him contributing to the organization by giving the best he can do. The key factor is motivation. He can only be motivated if he has clearly assigned goals and if these goals and the role he has to play within the organization fits with his expectations. People who are not motivated will show poor performances and the level of performances will decrease with the time. People need to be able to express their talents, and to find sense on what they are doing.
  • Wellness: Wellness is linked to motivation. People needs to love their job and to do it with a feeling of to wellness. They need to enjoy their work environment in order to be motivated and to provide the best work they can give. Stress and lack of wellness have a negative impact on the health, and on the productivity. People are only waiting to go back home, their do not want to be considered or identified as a team member of the organization. In these circumstances, it is difficult to reach a common goal.
  • Corporate social responsibility: People are paying more and more attention to the reputation of companies and their engagement to social responsibility. The economy is a major actor of the society and has to integrate values that are respecting the society and the people.

These are a lot of intangible aspects you will never find in a financial statement of an organization or a company. Nevertheless, these aspects can have a positive or negative impact on the performance, but also on the reputation of the organization. And with the development of information technologies and the social medias, your bad reputation can be known quickly and cause important damages to your organization. To take care about these things will contribute to empower the efficiency and to ensure the sustainability of your organization.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 16, 2011 at 21:08

What is success ?

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Success and perseverance.

Everybody wants to reach success. The question is to know what is precisely success. Have we each of us the same definition, the same view of success? This question needs to be answered in order to know what success is, but also where success is. We reach success when we are realizing a dream. We have dreams we want to realize in our personal life. There are different kind of dreams, and the ways to reach them will probably be different. We can dream to have a family, to have children succeeding in their studies, to travel around the world. We would like also to succeed in our professional life, to have an enjoyable work and to earn enough money to cover our daily needs. This is an overview of what could be success, but does it mean that these things we are dreaming are successful on themselves ?

The success is a question of values. What are the value we are sharing? In our society, most of the time, success is associated to wealth. Bill Gates, for instance, is seen as a successful man by founding one of the most large software companies, Microsoft. But does it mean that the creation of a company is a dream shared by everybody? This is a question of value, of interest. To meet the success, is to meet the goal you are dreaming. Your goal will be function of the value you are believe in and the activities leaded by your values. There is no success, there is only your success, and your success will not be necessarily the success of somebody else. I already talked in another post, about this Belgian theater founder and actor, Michel Kacenelenbogen, who was first owner and founder of a company. His initial goal was to create a theater, and he founded first a company in order to earn money, to be able to create this theater, to realize his dream. He realized his dream, by founding “Le Public”, a theater with an innovative concept, financed by his own revenue and a part of public subsidies, and where you can find a restaurant after or before the spectacle. This was his dream, and this is his success, but his dream is not probably yours and your success neither. The question of values and goals is important, because what you are considering, or what is the society considering as a success, could be only an illusion. I want to mention here an article I read recently in a magazine, about a business man who was dreaming to drive a Porsche. He made a bet that he will have a Porsche when he will be 30 years old. On way, he bought the Porsche, but he realized after that, that he put a lot of pressure on his shoulder and on the shoulders of his collaborator to maximize profits and to reach his personal goal, and that finally, the car he bought was an illusion of success. The success was more in the business he developed and in all the things he learned by building it every day.

By definition, success is something positive, and because success looks like positive, people are dreaming of success, but are often considering the positive side of success. Regarding the two case I explained before, we have not to underestimate the challenges and issues people had to face to reach their goal. To build a company, or to found a theater remains a challenge and a risk. As Peter Drucker quote says: “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Some entrepreneurs failed in their projects, learned about that failure and restarted new projects in another way and reached the success. The failure you can meet could be part of a success, if you learn from your failure.

And let us talk about your talent. You can reach a goal or a success by expressing and developing talent. Your talent is one of the key components of success. There are some people saying that everybody can do everything if we want. Personally, I do not totally agree with this statement. We can only succeed by doing things we are motivated by. We have also to reach a level of talent which depends of our capabilities and abilities to acquire the knowledge. There is a huge difference between to be able to play piano, and to play as Mozart was playing. Let us remember also another Peter Drucker quote saying that “It is better to work on your strong points to pass from competence to excellence, than to work on your weaknesses to pass from incompetence to mediocrity.”

But finally, what is success ? Success is the realization of projects you are dreaming. It is only you who can decide and determine what will be a successful life. Maybe you will not see it immediately, maybe you will note that things you were believed as success are just illusions. But each goal we are fixing is function of our passed experiences and of an anticipation of the future, based on new values we discovered and acquired. It is only you who can see yourself as a successful person and not the others.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

June 2, 2011 at 21:11

Lack of talents or lack of motivation.

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The "Motivation machine"

Professional organizations are publicising figures about employment on a regular basis. Even these last times, things seem to be going better because the economy is recovering from the financial crisis, there is always a same finding. This finding is the difficulties that companies have to find and recruit some specific profiles. The lack of talents is a brake for the local economical development, and the problem will probably be more important in the coming years with the baby-boomers who will be retired. What are the reasons of such situation?

A first reason could be a weakness in the performances of the education system. An inefficient education system induces a lack of qualified people. Let us remind that a strong education is the basics of an harmonious personal development for people. Before to be workers, we are first human being and we are going at school to be first educated people, to be ourselves. By benefiting from a strong basic education, we increase the possibility to move to a larger range of studies at high school or university, and to have access to a larger range of jobs.

But is the education level the only reason of lack of talents? And what about remunerations? In this particular difficult time, it is often told to people that the salaries level has to be maintained. I know people around me applying for new job, who were asked to work with a salary decrease around 30%. As freelance consultant, I received some assignment proposal for a rate lower of 36%, and one of them was for a large company in the banking sector where the bonuses allowed to the top management did not know such decrease. By mentioning this, should not we allowed to think that the problem of missing profiles is not due to a lack of talent but to a lack of motivation from talented people. Some studies show that salary level is not the most important thing people are looking for, but they hope to have a decent salary for the job they are doing and for the related constraints they have to assume. Some people want one job or another, and are choosing the one that is well paid, what is understandable. But if there is no salary difference between that job and the one they really would enjoy to do, why would they continue to do it? Sometimes ago, I read some testimonials in such way about people launching their own activity, and telling that they will not probably earn more money but they will have the advantage to be their own boss.

The lack of motivation and lack of talent induce negative consequences on the economy. When some profiles are missing, companies are relocating activities in other countries. The fact that salaries are always dumped, induces a negative impact on the local economy. When people have a lower purchase power and that they are pushed and encouraged to consume, they begin to contract credits they cannot reimburse. We have seen the consequences with the financial crisis of 2008. But apparently, some people have a short mind.

The talent development is an ongoing process, producing short, mid and long-term effect. The talent development is a process having to be improved and worked on both sides. Ourselves, we have to develop our talents in order to evolve, to increase our potential and our knowledge, to get more opportunities. But we have to know that we will have possibilities to use our talent and that our talents and efforts will be correctly rewarded. That is the reason why companies, managers have to promote talents and to define clear goals and challenges, as opportunities where people can express their talent and be part of a nice project. It will make the difference between to have people who are doing their job because they have to, and they have to earn money and the one’s who have the feeling to contribute to a common project. In the second case, there will be clearly added-value for people and for the company.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 25, 2011 at 15:28

Too late to change of career project?

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Jean Van Hamme, a former manager who became scenarist and writer.

 

Some of us, we are thinking time to time to change of job, to do something else more fitting with our expectation, with our ambition. But is it so easy to switch from a job to another, a new job where you will have to build a new reputation and expertise? Here are some important points to be considered in order to succeed in such transition.

  • Be convinced by you want to do in order to convince your future customers, your future employers. As already mentioned in a previous article, the only reason to do a job is because you like it and you will show the best you can do.

  • Make sure that you have enough talent and skills in the new activity you want to do. You decide to change of job, of activity because you discovered something you liked to do as a hobby, and you would like to improve your work satisfaction by doing something fitting more with your expectations. But the question to be asked is to know if you have enough talent to do this activity with a professional level. Try to interact with partners or other people acting in the same area than you, in order to evaluate your level of competences.There is a difference between somebody who can play piano and to play piano like Mozart.
  • Take the time to prepare your new activity and start only when you are feeling having enough control on things you can control. Be aware that you are starting a new activity where you have less experience than your competitors. You are starting as a junior and you will have to deal in an environment with senior competitors. You will have to invest time and energy in order to reach and provide a competitive quality level of competences. As often mentioned, most of the time, to succeed in such conversion needs 10% of talent and 90% of work.

  • Be innovative and creative. In the range of services you want to provide, try to innovate and to give a good reason to your customers to work with you and not with somebody else. Think out of the box is something important to make the difference between you and your competitors. The combination of different competences and skills can provide more added value than the addition of each competence (one and one make three). As said the Italian photographer Oliviero Tuscani, you have not only to be the best, you have to be “unique”.

  • Listen to the experiences of your partners and competitors. You can learn a lot of then and anticipate actions or difficult times. Feedback is an important source of information, in order to perceive the fast moving environment you are working in.

  • Measure the impact your new career can have on your private life and on your family. As already mentioned, a change of job or activity implies more work and efforts, more time dedicated to your project and as consequences, a change in your work life balance. Do not hesitate to speak about your project with your family, about the impact it can have. It is important to have the support of your family, but it is important too to minimize the negative impacts on your family life.

  • Measure the financial impact of your project. In the case of a new activity as self-employed, it will take time to generate revenues. You need to have a clear overview about the risk you want to take. Set up a limit you do not want to go over. Try to develop a plan of alternative revenues. I was reading recently the experience of an accountant who changed of professional direction. He invested his capital in real estate and had rent revenues, ensuring regular revenue to be able to live. In other words, try to minimize your risk or to have an alternative plan in case of failure.

  • Do not forget that to start a new activity, a new enterprise, is always a risk. Be aware that there is always a risk to fail. But this failure has not to be seen as a negative thing. From this failure, you will probably learn much more than from a success. But it is important to limit the damage and to take the decision to stop. Define first the risk limit you would not cross over.

    As conclusion, I would say that to move to a new career plan is not an easy exercise, but not an impossible exercise too. It implies to have a good knowledge about yourself.But you can have probably hide talents you will discover by doing such exercise. And even if your new project fails, think first that your attempt to change of career project is not useless. You discovered and learned many things which will probably help you to think about another project and succeed it.

    To change of career or launch a new activity is always an important decision. As said Peter Drucker, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”


    Picture : Jean Van Hamme

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Van_Hamme

     

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

October 11, 2010 at 21:44