Untapped Talent: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: May 16th, 2013 by bobmorris

Untapped TalentUntapped Talent: Unleashing the Power of the Hidden Workforce
Dani Monroe
Palgrace MacMillan/Division of St. Martin’s Press (2013)

How to “grow” talent, whatever the size and nature of the “garden” may be

The title of this book is sufficiently vague to evoke several questions and suggest all manner of interpretations. Is talent untapped or underdeveloped? Is it unleashed by someone else or by those who possess it? Is it hidden or unrecognized? The answer to each of these questions is “yes.”

Now more than ever before, few organizations have the talent needed at all levels and in all areas of the given operation. Many (most?) of them lack the resources to hire the talent needed so they are challenged to develop it but first they need to identify the high potentials. According to Dani Monroe, for whatever reasons, “untapped talent becomes invisible and unrecognized or undervalued and minimized.” I agree with Darrell Royal that “potential” means “you ain’t done it yet” but Royal was an exceptionally astute judge of talent when recruiting players for his University of Texas football teams.

Monroe wrote this book to serve three separate but related, interdependent purposes: To help her readers gain a much better understanding of untapped talent and why it exists; then in Part II, she examines specific areas in which supervisors can have a direct and substantial impact by “mining and refining talent”; finally, in Part III, she examines characteristics she’s identified as “essential in great leaders as it applies to untapped talent.” It is worth noting that throughout history, all of the greatest leaders have had a “green thumb” for “growing” the people they need to achieve the given objective.

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also listed to indicate the scope of Monroe’s coverage.

o Scarce Talent: The Skills Gap (Pages 18-21)
o Discovering the Realities (30-40)
o A three-level model for organizational change (61-66)
o The Culture of Talent Stewardship (70-82)
o Spotting the Soft Skills (91-93)
o River of Life (103-107)
o The Three Rs (Resourcefulness, Resilience, and Resolve): Emerging from the Hidden Workforce (119-123)
o The Face of Resourcefulness (133-137)
o Building Resiliency (147-149)
o Resolve Is About Success…and Failure (156-161)
o The Path to Vision (169-171)

It is no coincidence that the companies annually ranked among the best to work for and most highly admired are also among the companies annually ranked as most profitable with the greatest cap value in their respective industry segments. They also have the greatest percentage of positively and productively engaged employees as well as the lowest attrition of valued employees.

Near the end of her book, Dani Monroe asks her readers to set their imaginations free. What follows is a series of defining characteristics of “a talent environment in which anything is possible — an ideal state.” Of course, none exists but many in the so-called real business world demonstrate many (if not most) of what she describes. Constantly tapping talent is their reality. “That’s the vision. Make it your reality!”

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2 Responses

  1. […] Talent has attracted considerable exposure with reviews on 800CEORead.com/Natl Web and Blogging on Business, as well as coverage in the Global and Mail. Inc.com and Monster.com wrote an articles that will be […]

  2. […] Talent has attracted considerable exposure with reviews on 800CEORead.com/Natl Web and Blogging on Business, as well as coverage in the Global and Mail. Inc.com and Monster.com wrote an articles that will be […]

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