Are You Too Busy to Recognize the Talent That's In Front of You?

By Lori McNeill

It is all too common for managers to have busy schedules to the point of having back-to-back meetings all day long. Deadlines have to be met. Unexpected issues arise that need to be addressed. Does this sound like an average day or week for you?

When over-packed days become the norm, leaders may not take time to develop the talents of their employees or even recognize the potential of individuals when it is right in front of them.

What’s at stake if this occurs? Great ideas may not be heard. Employees may not feel valued and may become disengaged. Talent is wasted because employees are not coached to reach their full potential.

The Washington Post did a social experiment a few years back by asking Joshua Bell, one of the world’s most talented violinists, to play in the D.C. Metro Station. He was dressed in regular clothes and the performance was unannounced. Anyone passing by may have thought he was just some guy off the street trying to make a quick buck but consider this: he was playing a violin valued at $10-$15 million, and the music he played was some of the most complex arrangements composed for violin. In fact, he was scheduled to perform those exact songs just days later to a sold-out crowd.

The result of this experiment was astonishing. Almost no one noticed or took pause to appreciate the talent that was right in front of them. It cost passersby nothing but a few minutes out of their busy days to hear what others would soon pay hundreds of dollars to witness. Personally, I have had the good fortune to hear Joshua Bell in concert twice at sold-out shows, once in NYC at the other at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA. I was completely mesmerized to witness his talent. What I would have given to randomly encounter him playing at the D.C. Metro Station, displaying his talent for anyone to hear.

As you go about your busy week, consider what you may be missing if you don’t make time to notice talent in plain sight. All that is required from you is a little attention to your employees and a plan to develop their talent. The rewards will be well worth your investment.