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Monday, January 12, 2015

Hidden Talent

Over the weekend I watched a “bit” of football. Another story surfaced of how a running back who had exited the NFL and was working in some “menial” job got called up because of injuries to other players. In just a few weeks, this man’s skills abounded and he became an essential contributor to the team heading into the playoffs.

I love those stories. Crane operator…house painter…garbage man one day. NFL star the next. What transformation!

Of course, we know that the talent was there all the time. It simply needed some opportunity to come alive in the right setting. In a sense, it was hidden talent.

A new season of American Idol began recently on FOX. And NBC has The Voice. In the summer, there’s the program, America’s Got Talent. These programs also exist for the up and comers in the business world. All have similar Cinderella qualities of finding these talents that heretofore were unrecognized for their greatness.

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? How many more extremely talented people exist who never even try out! And how many others in different fields have the raw talent but never get coached to greatness.

I’m on Linked In. Again this morning, I received notice that several people had endorsed me for what they perceive are my personal strengths. Sometimes I go, “Really?” It’s nice to be thought well of, though.

So I began thinking about talented people that never quite get the opportunity to shine. I began to wonder if there is a way in the business world to seek out top performers like they do on these talent shows. Perhaps in the market place we get so focused on our day to day required duties that we miss taking time to find that gem of a person who could take our company to another level.

My radio career changed overnight while working in Sacramento, California, in the 1970s. I was the afternoon drive radio announcer at a country music station. Midway through my program, a local legend in radio (Chuck Roy) called me off air and asked me to interview with him about a job in a small radio market nearby. I did. We clicked. And I followed him later to Dallas and then Pittsburgh for radio jobs.

Chuck was “surfing the dial” and looking for talent. He liked my sound. About the same time, he heard a disc jockey at a roller rink and hired him, too! Today, George Rath works for one of the largest radio operations in Christian music.

The point here is that while both George and I had talent, someone took the time and challenge to find it. Groom it. Develop it.

What does your company do to find hidden talent?

Jesus of Nazareth was seeking to influence some religious leaders’ views on people others considered as “wasted lives.” His illustrations included the famous story of the prodigal son. And one about the lost sheep.

He also used this story: “Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” Luke 15:8-10 (The Message)

Finding value in people serves multiple purposes. It redeems their lives and gives them a sense of purpose. It can give your business exactly the lift it needs. And it makes a great story. But often you have to seek for that talent like the lost coin.

Hi ho, Silver!

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Catch “Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand" weekday afternoons from 4-6pm on AM 1160 Hope for Your Life. To listen to the live broadcast or a podcast of previous shows click here.

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