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How Important Is Natural Talent?

In a recent article written in the Wall Street Journal, author Heidi Grant Halvorson tries to dispel the “Success Myth.”

So what is this myth about? According to her research, it is about how people attribute success and high accomplishments to innate ability or inborn talent. In other words, because most of us believe that there are things we are naturally better at than others, we tend to invest our time in those things that come easily to us and divest our time from things that require more effort.

The problem with this approach is that Halvorson does not buy into the idea that success is really about innate ability in the first place. As a Ph.D. in motivational psychology and an author who essentially studies achievement for a living, she repeatedly finds that measures of “ability” such as intelligence, creativity, and IQ are quite poor predictors of future success.

According to her findings, the real predictor of success is strategizing. Strategies like being committed, recognizing temptations, planning ahead, monitoring progress, and persisting when the going gets tough, are amongst those that she claims make all the difference between success and failure.

Thinking that success is contingent on innate ability can lead down a slippery slope and unnecessarily become a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Buy into her theory? If so, read about in her own words: “The Success Myth

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Why Can’t Good People Get Jobs?

A recent interview between the Wall Street Journal and Wharton Business School’s Director of Management Peter Cappelli discussed his new book Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs. Over the scope of this short interview, he discussed his take on the perceived gap between employers who claim there is a lack of qualified candidates for jobs, and candidates who question why they have been struggling to land jobs they’ve applied to.

His main take on the disconnect underlying this issue is a lack of employers wanting to train prospective job candidates. Presumably, employers are having more difficulty in hiring candidates not because there are less academically qualified people in the market, but because companies are seeking to fill open job roles only with candidates who already have highly similar work experience in very similar companies. Essentially, companies want to do what he describes as “plug and play.”

Additionally, as companies add elaborate prerequisites that they expect candidates to already have, they render it vastly difficult for candidates who have only the academic background or have been unemployed for some time from getting a fair chance at being considered. Coupled with increased reliance on Human Resources application systems that filter out candidates based on resume terminology and selective filters, many capable candidates feel kicked to the curb.

To hear more about what Peter Cappelli thinks are the main three problems that companies and candidates should address to diminish the hiring gap, check out the interview.

Is their good news if we buy into Mr. Cappelli’s view? At least then we can be relieved that the symptom is not the diagnoses. Not facing a true “talent shortage” crisis, we can hope that a better matching of good candidates with open jobs will be efficiently achieved with a bit of targeted restructuring of the hiring process!

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Retire Your Resume…Please

If you are looking for a job it’s probably best to throw your resume away. Everyone has one and thanks to resume workshops, websites, and books they all look the same. If your resume is professional it is no doubt typed up with something very close to Times New Roman and it’s in 12 point font. I bet you even use bullet points. Way to stick out.

But if you don’t believe me–maybe you’ll trust the Wall Street Journal. According to a recent article more and more recruiters are finding job candidates on Facebook.

So much for resumes. It’s the age of the ‘cool’ looking social media profile. The resume is dead.

Half of me is grateful. I hated formatting resumes on Word or any other text editor. It took forever. The second you indented one job another one would disappear.

But the other half of me is scared. Resumes are boring–but they have established rules to follow and set guidelines. I know that if my resume has a purple cover page, I’m making a mistake. With social media profiles we’re still in gray territory. Is it OK to tell future employers about the minutia of your day? Do you want them to see pictures from your vacations and your nights out?

Maybe. The trick is figuring out how to do these things with a little class and an ounce of humor. But before we iron out the details there will be a lot of mistakes.

So if you want to stick out and be on the cutting edge–take a deep breath and drag your resume to your recycle bin. After that figure out a way to show the world what you can do without putting people to sleep.

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Status and The Effective Leader

According to research by Clarkson University’s Stephen J. Sauer, perception of the status of the “leader” will determine whether their style is effective. In other words, leaders need to know how to market their status while choosing an appropriate style of leadership to go with it.

Clarkson University School of Business Prof’s Research in Wall Street Journal

Leadership On the Edge

Leadership Gaps Put Companies in Limbo

A culture that identifies and cultivates leaders is essential to firms that cannot afford leadership gaps that arise from unforeseen circumstances. Creating this type of culture is a challenge.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, Sudden Leaders Loss Leaves Firms in Limbo,  “Many managers don’t think their companies have a sufficiently strong leadership pipeline. About 39% said that their own company’s leadership pipeline is inadequate, versus 10% that said it was ‘robust.’ About 47% said their pipeline was adequate.”

Read the rest of the story here…