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Learning to be creative

I’ve never been happy with the phrase ‘War for Talent’. I thought it was just because I don’t like elitism. But, it’s actually because it’s short-term and, like all solutions, it’s the short-term obvious ones that get picked up and become the general rule and the long-term ones that get ignored.

Everyone (almost) has extraordinary abilities. Most people live and die without realizing them, without having them acknowledged, recognised, nurtured; without putting them into practice; without having a clue what they could do. Or could have done, more accurately.

Organizations encounter the problem of of increasingly sophisticated markets – I think they mean people – who yearn for imaginative, engaging, creative, connected, warm, fun, slick, professional-but-human, flexible organizations to cosy up to, ignoring the same-a-like rest.

It’s a marriage made in heaven: most everyone, as they charmingly say in the US, can be extraordinary but isn’t allowed to be or even believes they can; while post-consumers are crying out for extraordinary customer experiences that make them feel, er, extraordinary rather than just another punter.

Yet organizations have somehow morphed this enormous opportunity for organizations to evolve into a powerful force for unleashing human potential on a scale not seen in history, into…a recruitment and retention problem.

‘War for Talent’ half-identifies the problem then fully identifies an old-fashioned, ill-fitting, recruitment-led, pay ‘n’ perks solution. It becomes all about headhunters and pay inflation.

Real leaders get ordinary people to realise they can do extraordinary things then allow them to work in a trust-based, open environment to achieve those things.

Real leaders identify and REALIZE talent. They don’t go to war over it. They cultivate it. They don’t have to hunt it out. They know they’ve already got it; it just needs releasing.

As Javier Bajer puts it in Ken Robinson’s book:

“Fighting the talent war with the outside world is covering up our own failure in terms of people development.”

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