Talent Does Not Guarantee Success

by Greg Maciolek

At July’s Wimbledon’s Tennis Championship, Roger Federer won his 15th Grand Slam tournament title surpassing Pete Sampras’s total of 14. He is regarded by many as the greatest tennis player in modern times. You can parallel his successes with Tiger Woods’ major tournament wins. Tiger has won 14 majors and is on track to pass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. I think everyone knowledgeable of the game of golf would say that Tiger’s game is complete from tee to green.

No one can argue that both of these athletes have great talent but talent alone doesn’t guarantee success. As I continue to follow Tiger’s career, I am always impressed with his unrelenting quest to continue to improve. Here is one of the greatest golfers in the world and he uses a coach to help him to get his game to as near perfection as possible. Now if Tiger knows he needs a coach, why is it that we are reluctant to be open to coaching to improve ourselves?

I think the problem is that we view coaching or seeking help or admitting that we are wrong or that we don’t know, as a sign of weakness. I don’t think Tiger views it that way. What both Woods and Federer possess besides a natural talent in their sport is an unrelenting discipline and desire to continue to improve.

So how does that translate to the business world? First of all, ask yourself if you really like what you do every day for a living. I bet many of you do not which is a big part of the problem. When we go to a job we hate, where we can’t use our talents, it becomes a barrier to get better at something we don’t like to do in the first place.

If you are in a job where you don’t think you are using your talents, then establish a goal for yourself to get into a job you love. I know this isn’t the best time to walk away from a job but that isn’t what I’m suggesting. Now is the time to get the training, experience, schooling that you need to make that move when the economy improves if your company won’t recognize and take advantage of your talents. Remember, if you aren’t constantly trying to improve your talents, then you aren’t a professional. Professionals are always trying to get move to the next level. Think of Tiger and Roger.

From a manager’s or owner’s standpoint, you must be aware of the talents your employees possess. One of your responsibilities is to help your employees to stretch and grow. If you recall from an earlier article I wrote, we often have rabbits in swimming jobs and fish trying to do the running. It is called job-fit. That’s why you need to use total person assessments for both hiring and for developing and coaching your employees. DiSC™ and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ are great for improving teamwork and communications but they do not have the intensity to measure a person’s cognitive abilities, behavioral traits and interests.

If people are the company and not just “assets”, then owners and managers must continue to invest in their people. First, it means hiring the right person into a job; second, help that employee use his or her talents to the fullest by providing training, developmental opportunities and coaching if necessary; third, use assessments to get some objective data about the people who work for you. After all, they are the company!

©Greg Maciolek – Integrated Management Resources, Inc. August 2009

Greg Maciolek is President and Founder of Integrated Management Resources, Inc., Knoxville,TN. Greg is a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and author. He focuses on assessments for hiring, promoting and developing staff, leadership development, executive coaching and is a workforce expert. He can be contacted by email at

or by phone at 865.675.5901. Website is www.imrtn.com

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