The lesson from the Talent code

The lesson from the Talent code by Daniel Coyle

The Talent Code is a fantastic book about how talents can be developed. In class, we discussed the characteristics of leadership. Are leaders born or made? This was an interesting topic with divided opinion on whether someone can learn to be a leader.

More people believed that through personal experiences, education and learning, a leader may emerge. We listened to the summary of the Talent code and it seems obvious that as people, we can learn, develop and emerge as leaders. If talent can be developed and coached, then so are leadership skills.

In the book, Coyle emphasised three main things that need to be present for talents to be developed.

The Revelatory moment

The first is the belief that something is possible. This he refers to at the ‘Revelatory moment’. That is the Ha! Ha! moment that people get it, that something is possible. He gave the example of South Korea and women golf. That moment when Se-ri Pak won a major golf tournament and young girls now have the belief that it is possible for them to do the same. This opened the flood gate for women golf in South Korea. The same as Roger Bannister running the mile in less than 4 minutes. This was something that people believed at that moment that it was impossible. The moment we believe something is possible, then we put away our fears.

The environment

The second element is the environment. By creating the right environment for the talents to grow and develop. This is by making life easier for people to succeed. The USA is able to produce great entrepreneurs because the environment is pro business. Silicone valley attracts a lot of technology experts because it is the place to be if you want to succeed.

The need to belong

The third element is what the author refers to as the ‘prima cue’ or the need to belong. This is the belief that the people ahead are better, so you cannot be left behind. The Williams sisters are the example in tennis. The older sister had set the bar high, hence the younger sister had a lot to prove to be even considered good enough. It took the younger sister a lot of hard-work to proof to their dad that she was not just her sister’s sidekick.

Genius do well only because there is a bar that they want to raise or want to better. In order to become better, people must work at the edge of their abilities, they need to challenge themselves and keep improving. We must be happy to work outside of our comfort zone, but we can only do this when we push ourselves to the limit of our abilities. Rather than giant steps, we can just improve by say 1% a week, even 1% a month over a period of 5 years will amount to a substantial level of improvement. This is how geniuses are created. We only need small baby steps rather than giant leaps.

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