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Sunday, December 12, 2010

What Comes First - Trust or Talent?

It’s a commonly agreed fact in the corporate world that talent is of paramount importance when it comes to hiring or promoting people in an organization.

However, this is not the case in a true sense – in certain situations trust may come before talent.

Talent is a function of many factors. Some of these are hard like educational degree, professional certifications, years of experience, previous job titles, etc. and some of these are soft like jobs actually performed in the past, competencies acquired through hands-on experience, understanding gained through hands-off involvement or self-learning, etc.

Organizations usually employ techniques like background verification and reference checks to verify the “truthfulness” of the ‘hard’ aspects of talent and techniques like behavior-based interviews, case-study-based interviews to verify the “truthfulness” of the ‘soft’ aspects of talent.

It is commonly accepted that in an interview it’s easy to verify the “truthfulness” of the ‘hard’ aspects of talent as compared to the ‘soft’ aspects of talent.

Trust, on the other hand, is a function of many factors all of which are typically soft. Trust on a person comes through repeated experiences of successful engagement in multiple job situations.

Effective demonstration of talent in terms of achieving the desired or targeted business results aids greatly in building trust on a person.

It must be clearly understood that building trust requires talent to be present at a reasonable level. Trust also embodies developing a mutually beneficial relationship so that information can be shared without fear of repudiation or retaliation.

When someone is being hired, the focus is on assessing talent to a larger extent and trust to a somewhat lesser extent. However, when someone is being considered for promotion, the focus is on assessing trust to a larger extent and talent to a somewhat lesser extent.

It must be said, however, that at times trust becomes the over-riding factor. This statement proves to be true at the time of an acquisition.

When company A acquires company B, the senior management team of company B will generally have to make way for the senior management team of company A.

This will happen even though some of the persons in the senior management team of company B may score much better as far as talent goes than those in the senior management team of company A. They will have to go out because they will invariably score much lesser as far as trust goes.

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