Friday, July 18, 2008

Talent as a Competitive Differentiator in Business


 I was once asked a question about whether talent is the biggest competitive differentiator in the business world. I think talent is definitely a key competitive differentiator but to have sustainable competitive advantage, you need a very important ingredient - it is talent PLUS passion. 

 Talent plus the passion to succeed in personal or business endeavours - or frankly anything one puts their mind to - is the ultimate competitive advantage. I've seen this when reviewing two candidates who have almost identical talent profiles. The one who gets the job in my book is the one who wants it more. In my twenty-two years of management experience, this person almost always turns out to be the highest performing and highest achieving. 

 Best example? Basketball legend Michael Jordan. Above average talent playing in an average team. In the early days, he excelled personally but his team couldn't quite keep up and deliver. He then directed his passion for the game from a focus on himself to what he could achieve as part of the team. The six NBA titles speak for themselves as much as the numerous MVP awards. 

 That's talent plus passion.

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