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How To Recognize Talent


by Soulaima Gourani, founder and CEO of Tradeconductor


Millions of U.S dollars are wasted on “talent spotting” and “talent management.” We are wasting our energy on talents who are not really talents at all. And we overlook many who truly have a talent, just because we can’t SEE their talent.

What is talent, and how do you spot a talented person?

You can spot a talent in less than 10 seconds – but only if you know what to look for.

So, how can you spot talent? It really is in “the eye of the beholder, ” and if you don’t know what to look for, you can end up spending tons of time and resources on searching, finding and finally acquiring a pointless talent. Additionally, what might be considered a talent today, can turn out to be useless in the future.

The concept of talents is used in all sorts of contexts in the worlds of sports, showbiz and, naturally, business. Talent has become one of the most talked-about concepts in business, and that may be why we find it so difficult to describe what, exactly, it is.

Talents come in many forms, but the question is whether you know that you are a talent, or if you can spot it in others when you encounter it.

People say that natural talents are rare and difficult to find. I disagree! First of all, I believe that everybody has a talent – everybody has something that is unique about them. There are talented people everywhere. We just can’t see them or noticed their unique talents. So many individuals don’t know how to spot talent in ourselves or others, so those talents will continue to remain unknown.

When we look for talent, many of us look for something recognizable, and that is where we go wrong because not all talents are recognizable, many are hidden talents dying to be unleashed.

The talent of the future.

So, what sorts of talents do we need in the future? Does your company have the answer? Who do you need 5-10 years from now?

In time, IT and robotics will take over more and more of those standard jobs that require what I call basic brain work, such as math, technical drawing, data processing, etc.

The ability to think in an interdisciplinary manner, complex via complex collaborations and relations, is where we should hone our talent. Maybe it’s more about having some personal resonance and depth, rather than getting a high score in some scientific test.

Secondly, talent is something natural. Something that is already in a person. A talent may be broad or narrow. It may be general, or it may be specific. No matter what, a talent is something that a person excels at naturally.

What is a natural talent?

There’s talk about being a natural talent – which can be a really frustrating thing to be. Many companies are very dependent on their natural talents. One of the challenges of being a natural talent is that it can be complicated to tell and explain to others, what it is that you excel at, and it can be difficult to teach, simply because you don’t know what it is you are doing right. A natural talent often finds it difficult to teach others how to do the same thing (they are good at). A talent is just a talent. What’s important is whether the talent understands how to use his or her talents and how to develop them; otherwise, that person will just remain a talent. You can meet lots of people with amazing talents who never really spread their wings or leave the launching pad.

What separates one talent from all the rest is action? Is that person able to bring his or her talent into play in the right places at the right time? Does that person receive fuel, strength, and support from the right places?

Master this, and you’ll excel in ways many cannot.


Soulaima Gourani

Founder and CEO of Tradeconductor Soulaima Gourani is a lecturer, corporate advisor, and author. In 2012 she was announced as one of the Young Global Leaders by World Economic Forum and later that year named to be the chairwoman of the non-profit organisation Global Dignity.  In 2013 she was announced as one of the greatest thinkers in the Nordic by Nordic Business Forum. and in 2014 chosen as one of the “40 under 40” European young leaders. She was elected as a TED mentor in 2016..


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