Many staff at MCN have read and commented on a book. It started with an assignment from Brian Grant, chair and medical director:
I have another book that I am currently reading and think would be great for you personally and for us as a company. It is called Talent is Overrated. The author is Geoff Colvin, a senior writer for Fortune. Here is a the link to general information from Amazon.
And here is one of the reviews that I think summarizes a few key points:
The main premise of the book is that performing at high levels is not a mere function of innate talent, but the results of years of “deliberate practice.” The latter is not what most of us consider “practice ” to be ; indeed , it consists of the following elements: It can be repeated a lot, feedback on results is continuously available, it’s highly demanding mentally, and it isn’t much fun. While this hypothesis may not be earth shattering, its implications and applications in organizations is far reaching. This leads us to rethink the following (as stated by the author):
1 Understand that each person in the organization is not just doing a job, but is also being stretched and grown.
2 Find ways to develop leaders within their jobs.
3 Encourage their leaders to be active in their communities.
4 Understand the critical roles of teachers and feedback.
5 Identify promising performers early.
6 Understand that people development works best through inspiration, not authority.
7 Invest significant time, money, and energy in developing people.
8 Make leadership development part of the culture.
Leading companies are ones that have embedded the above understanding as part of their respective corporate cultures. The author of Talent is Overrated not only focuses on the corporate world, but gives examples from a wide variety of fields to support his hypothesis, such as sports, music, chess etc. He goes on to also discuss what drives us to become great and the elements of passion.
What I particularly like about this book is it’s one that gets you thinking outside the box, and makes you rethink on successful people in your life and their journey to greatness. This book is a must read for any leader to help better unleash the talent within their organization. My only critique about this book is that it does not discuss in any depth some of the cases in our everyday lives where innate talent has played a big role in helping the respective individuals achieve greatness.
I will end with a quote from the book: “Great performance is not reserved for a preordained few. It is available to you and to everyone.”
The book starts out by talking about individual talent and accomplishment and basically makes the point that practice is important and raw talent is insufficient for success and in fact may not really exist in many cases. Then it moves into organizational and corporate issues that I believe if acted on would make a great difference for our company. But there is something in this for each of you personally I assure you; plus Colvin is a good writer. The book is about 225 pages. Here is a link to the author’s own site:
Well the book was read by a great many, and reviews by staff have been posted for each other to read on our internal Intranet. the reviews were thoughtful and mixed. All in all the experience was a positive one. Hopeful benefits include stimulating discussion on relevant themes for our personal and business lives – as well as letting each other learn a bit more about their coworkers, friends and colleagues.
We look forward to repeating it with other books. If MCNTalk readers have suggestions on books on a business theme that might be enjoyed by a diverse employee base, send us your suggestions.