Becoming a Talent Agent

 By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to leverage your workforce. Reading time 3:37.

      In the movie The Treasure from the Sierra Madre, a robber holds up Humphrey Bogart. The robber wants the two leather bags that Bogart is carrying. He is sure those are filled with gold.

Panning for gold in the movie Treasure from Sierra Madre

Panning for gold in the movie Treasure from Sierra Madre

        However the robber shoots Bogart. He grabs the bags, looks inside and sees only dirt and dust. He is disappointed when he finds no gold. He empties out the dirty bags then rides off in the distance, taking some solace that he at least he got two good leather bags. Oops!

     That wasn’t just dirt and dust that he threw away. You guessed it. There was also gold mixed in with all that dirt and dust. Gold is not shiny. Only fool’s gold–pyrite –is shiny

   How often do you discard valuable talent just because that job candidate in front of you is filled with his or her own dust and dirt?

      That’s why the most effective leaders subscribe to the view of industrialist Andrew Carnegie who said you develop people the same way you mine for gold. “In the gold mine you move tons of dirt to find an ounce of gold,” Carnegie said, “but you don’t go in there looking for dirt. You look for the gold.”

             Looking for the gold amid the dirt and dust is the modus operandi of the most effective leaders. Gold-mining leaders know how to unlock potential in their employees with three key alignment strategies transcending, transposing, or transforming roles among their employees. Let’s examine how you can use each strategy to leverage talent on your staff.

baberuthTRANSCENDING: Babe Ruth exhibited plenty of talent in his first job in professional baseball. As a pitcher he won 65 games in his first three years, including two 23-game win seasons. But he was an even stronger hitter as baseball’s home run season leader for more than 30 years.

      Ruth left the pitcher’s mound to climb greater heights in baseball, transcending to another realm where he would have a chance to get in the game three times more often as a hitter.

      As a Talent Agent, are you allowing your high potential employees to transcend their work environment to perform more effectively?

TRANSFORMING: The most effective leaders aren’t blinded by a current job description. Their employees are like an untapped treasure chest of so many diamonds and jewels (aka skills, abilities, talents).

        As Talent Agents, the most effective leaders know that you can be trained as morticians yet become a noted inventor in a different field as Almond B. Stowger did. He is the mortician who invented the telephone switching system so that people could make a phone call directly without having to go through an operator.

      As Talent Agents, the most effective leaders know that you can be trained a florist yet become a noted inventor as John Muir did. The botanist invented wooden clocks, a barometer and a self-feeding lathe.


Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and Sundance Kid  (Robert Redford)

     As Talent Agents, the most effective leaders know that you can be trained as artists yet become noted inventors as did Samuel Morse (Morse Code) and Robert Fulton (steamboat).

     TRANSPOSING: As Talent Agents, the most effective leaders know they can tear a page out of the movie script for casting Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to maximize the performance of their staff.

       Movie buffs know that Paul Newman was originally selected to play Sundance and Robert Redford was originally selected to play Butch.

      But after a few rehearsals, their roles were transposed. Newman played Butch Cassidy. Redford played Sundance Kid.Why? A better fit to their real life personalities. Cassidy was self-confident. So was Newman in real life. Sundance was more brooding. So was Redford in real life. Together they struck gold on and off the screen.

      As a Talent Agent, are you looking for the right fit or are you  having a fit over getting the right look?   Beware. Then saddle up and leave your competition in the dust.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Mine talent buried in the dust to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

SUBSCRIBE: Have a Leadership Mint delivered to your E-mail every Tuesday and Friday.It’s free.
Just click the SIGN ME UP box in the upper left column.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.