Building a talent triangle

Richard Gayle discusses an observation made by Kurt Vonnegut on the three types of specialists it takes to start a revolution, none of whom can succeed in isolation.

First type – a true genius: “a person capable of having seemingly good ideas not in general circulation.” By themselves they are just lunatics.

Second type – a thought leader: “a highly intelligent citizen in good standing in his or her community, who understands and admires the fresh ideas of the genius, and who testifies that the genius is far from mad.” By themselves they are unsatisfied.

Third type – the integrator: “a person who can explain everything, no matter how complicated, to the satisfaction of most people.” By themselves they are ignored.

This has a striking similarity to what Malcolm Gladwell popularized in his book, The Tipping Point, with Mavens equating to Geniuses; Connectors to Thought Leaders; and Integrators to Salespeople. I discussed this in more detail on my post: the work of many.

knowledge inventoryInnovation and revolution are both focused on change. Diversity of talents seems to be necessary for both. While I don’t think a group of three specialists can automatically become the magic combination for change, it is worthwhile looking at the composition of groups and seeing if there is sufficient diversity of talents. This triad of skills can also inform free agents, who may feel they are perceived as lunatics for their ideas, may be unsatisfied, or just ignored. In those cases, they should look at finding two others to complement their unique talents. While career coaches have a certain popularity, for people who fall into one of these specialties, perhaps it’s better to work on building a talent triangle.

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