How many time have you heard the phrase “It’s a talent issue”? That’s a common expression that has one clear indication: someone (in the good case, it might be more than one) doesn’t know what he is doing. He is causing problems, and it’s about time to look for a more experienced person (or persons) to do the work. This message also sends you an implicit message; if you don’t fix the talent issue, you are going to be a talent issue. A great example to the fear o was talking about in one of my latest posts (https://ongalaxies.com/2019/05/11/3-bold-facts-about-current-management-innovation/).

I’m not trying to argue that there aren’t any people that are not a good fit for the roles they are assigned to, and they need to be replaced. When the Talent sword is raising again and again for the same scenario or role, then it’s not a talent issue! It’s the system that has a sever issue, and the manager who is responsible for the system (or the management system) is the one that needed to be replaced.

Let me give you a classic example from the EverPerfect Inc. fictional company. When I joined EverPerfect John was the head of marketing. Before I even acclimated in my new role Jane replaced John. When I asked Mr. Perfect (our CEO and my manager) why I got the “It’s a talent issue” replay. Weird, I thought, John was brilliant and competent. Well, Jane was even smarter than John. But, after six months, I started to hear … yes, “It’s a talent issue”. It didn’t take a long time until her office was empty, and a new face decorates it with a big smile. The big smile apparently didn’t have enough talent as well, and Big smile was replaced with …..

The problem with EverPerfect’s head of marketing wasn’t Talent. All the people who spend time in this office were very talented. It was a system issue! The way that marketing responsibilities and managed artifacts were spread between different department in the company didn’t give any chance to succeed, regardless of the person who filled the role. Just when the system issue was fixed, the new rider on the marketing rollercoaster manages to succeed. By the way, he was the less talented person in this position. What an irony.

When something is not working at work, we tend to blame someone else and ignore the root cause that needed to be fixed to resolve the problem. If you are part of any organization when you see any issue, you always need to take the system approach and understand how the issue is impacting other people in the organization. In a system, every connection is bi-directional, so you should also understand what your contribution to the problem is. Yes, if you see a problem, you are one of the chefs in the kitchen.

It’s easier to blame someone else. You just need to balm, no need to think. But this approach won’t get into the root cause of issues, this approach won’t fix a broken system. The next time that you see too many faces in specific time doing the same role, spend time on finding out what is wrong with the system.


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