When it comes to growing a business, talent can be both a blessing and a curse. That might sound like a strange idea at first, but having natural talents can influence the choices we make and impact the growth of the businesses we run.
Think back to high school. Did you know someone who was a naturally intelligent? Perhaps this person took to academics easily, acing exams and breezing through homework where a normal person had to put in long hours of studying to reach the same results. Many of us may have been this person.
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But a strange thing happens when a person has a talent: They might not work as hard because perfection comes easily for them. Talent, for as much as it is a blessing, can lead to:
- Avoiding the work it takes to address and improve a weakness
- Ignoring the need to improve on our strengths and then missing opportunities later
Eventually, a talented person who does not work very hard faces off against someone who is not only talented but has worked diligently to become even better, and that can be a crushing experience. The naturally gifted student leaves high school and attends a competitive university program where all of his or her peers are naturally gifted, so the individual no longer stands out. Classes become more competitive, and the difficulty of the material skyrockets as well.
Signs of talent temptation
When we’re good at something, we tend to lean on it, but we might not work at making that strength an even greater strength. On that same token, our weaknesses become easier to ignore, hiding in the shadow of our strength. This is the talent temptation, and it can cloud the judgment of the savviest business owners.
Symptoms of talent temptation include:
- Relying on referrals instead of aggressively pursuing fresh prospects
- Recognizing strengths in yourself or your organization and not doubling-down on them
- Turning a blind eye to weaknesses instead of addressing and improving on them
Under these circumstances, opportunities for new business can go untapped because we overlook them completely or simply do not have the ability to capitalize on them. For these reasons, we often work with MSPs who feel as if their business growth has plateaued, as if the opportunities that once flowed freely to them have started to dry up. They do good work and their clients are happy, so they can’t see why their trajectory has changed. When we dig into their new business engine, however, we often see that the talents of the owner and of their team as a whole worked against their long-term success.
When times were good, they enjoyed them and collected a slew of short-term wins in the process, but when the dynamic changes and competition increases, they are not sure what to do next.
How to overcome talent temptation
To avoid falling into the trap of talent temptation, incorporate the following practices into your business:
- Identify your strengths and make a strategic decision to not only capitalize on them, but to continue building on small short-term gains to get the game-changing cumulative effect that separates the great from the good in the long-term.
- Survey your weaknesses and pursue opportunities to correct them or to at least minimize them. This could mean additional training, working with a sales coach, or bringing in an outside expert who has the strengths you lack.
- Set goals and track your improvement efforts. This should become a regular part of your business planning process, and everyone involved should be accountable but also have insight into your progress.
To ensure that your talents and natural abilities are a gift, you have to build a business that treats your talent as a piece of a bigger plan, a plan driven largely by consistent and calculated effort. This can be difficult and at times uncomfortable, but it not only has a large long-term impact but it sets an example for your clients and your employees, potentially elevating the performance of everyone you touch.