Tuesday, November 17, 2009
We hate talent.
There is an article in The Economist this week http://www.economist.com/businessfinance/management/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14301649 about talent. Its subhead is "Talent is not patient, and it is not faithful." The article then goes on and speaks about how companies are fighting for talent "essential to their future success."
This might be true if you work for an engineering firm or a retailer but my experience over the past twenty-five years or so is that companies hate talent. Because, often, talent and lack of conformity are often bed-fellows. And agencies hate oddity. They hate manic behavior. They hate impatience and lack of tolerance for mediocrity.
Much as salaries are now relegated to acceptable "bands" by level, personalities are relegated to bands too. Volatility, passion, anger, pain-in-the-ass-ness, even brains are all excoriated. We have built a system where we welcome everyone regardless of their skills as long as they don't have too many of them. We run on a thesis of the greatest good for the greatest number. Which might be fine for a democracy and a bureaucracy. But not for a creative business.
We love "team players." "Active collaborators." "Bridge Builders." And so on. We disparage and dismiss iconoclasts, independents and radicals.
There, in a nutshell, why most everything sucks.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 7:54 AM