TheUC 026: Cultivating Talent: Nature vs. Nurture


Cultivating talent is critical to business success. While some things can be taught, other things are simply innate. In cultivating talent, understanding what is nature versus nurture is essential. In our quest for building long-term extraordinary value, it is really important that we invest in what we can learn or what we can teach. Know how to spot and be able to acquire the talent that cannot be taught. Most of all, to truly cultivate talent, we must stop wasting precious resources in teaching that which can never be learned and no longer try to change that which is hard wired.

  • There are things you can’t teach: work ethic is one of them.
  • Work ethic versus Intellect…work ethic can go very far on its own. Intellect can easily be wasted without work ethic.
    • Statistics show that the work ethic folks who don’t quite have the natural intellect get into better universities and go further in their careers and generally make more money in their careers than the naturally brilliant folks who skate by on their natural intellect.
    • Demonstrated work ethic gets more job opportunities than pure intellect

Invest in acquiring that which cannot be taught

  • Work ethic
  • Tenacity
  • Congeniality and Salesmanship

Teach/learn the skills you need

  • Align incentives in a way that leverages these things that cannot be taught in a way that also adds long term value to your venture
  • Know what you have from nature and leverage that while knowing what you need to learn so you can compliment that which nature has given you.
  • Beware of ‘fake it until you make it’…one of two results will occur:
    • You will be revealed as a poser which will lead to your demise if it is a just a matter of nature
    • OR, if this is truly a learned or nurtured skill, your diligence will nurture you to where you need to be.