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Talent: Where's The Best Place to Use Your Strengths?

Posted Sep 07 2008 2:17am

There are a lot of places where you can work.

What you want to know is: Which ones will allow me to use my talents for peak performance and satisfaction?

Talents, Learned Skills, and The 60/40 Rule

I spend a lot of time in developmental discussions and career transitions. A good rule of thumb to follow is this: make sure your situation allows you to use your innate talents about 60% of the time and your related, learned skills about 40%.


It will keep you operating at peak performance because:

a. Your talents inherently seek to grow and improve

b. Your talents are flexible and adaptable to change. If you want to know how you'll do in a new job, see how closely it relates to talents and not the rote skills you've developed in support of those.

c. Talents are transferable from one job to another.

d. They ultimately make the best use of one's time and yield the highest quantity and best quality when it comes to results.

Organizations take note: Instead of looking for "excellence" in every aspect of job duties, start paying attention to where your people are talented. That's where they will excel. When it comes time to appraise individual performance or assess for future opportunities in your company, focus on where the person is talented. Talents transfer across job descriptions, departments, organizations, and even careers.

Where You Fit Is Where You Should Be

There are all kinds of organizations and settings in which you can exercise your talents in return for compensation. Not all of them are good fits for you.

I've been in the military but didn't consider it for a career.

I worked in education but came to a similar conclusion.

I've been a manager in a large corporation as well as a sales manager in a smaller one. Nope.

Now, my client list is represented by each of those organizations. The organizations weren't the issue.

I had to come to grips with the fact that none of those would allow me to do things fast enough and creatively enough to satisfy me. So I decided to ply my craft from the "outside" and the decision has been a good one. Clients allow me leeway to use my expertise in ways that they wouldn't allow internally. (That's because they can also make me vanish rather quickly if they so choose).

Note: In an ironic twist, I've had two clients for 16 and 20 years respectively. That may come close to qualifying as a career person at each:-)

Here's where we are:

1. In The Intersection That Is Uniquely You, we took a look at how your talents, interests, and values come together at the place that makes you unique.

2. Today, think about the kind of organization that's a fit for you and your talents:


If you aren't big on structure and procedures, the military or law enforcement may not be the right arenas for you regardless of your related talents.

Gifted at sales and influencing? Then you've got some options. If you value a high income, then business may be a good fit. But if it's important to you to use your talents on behalf of a cause or the community, then selling or promoting on behalf of a regional theater company (Performing Arts) would be a good fit.

You get the idea.

Just remember: Your talents will grow in an environment that values them and allows you to use them. Take some time to choose thoughtfully.

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