I’m wading through a nostalgic period. Many of my friends are going through really big transitions. When I hit one of these stages, I dig back through music to find remnants of memories and frameworks for reflection.
It’s been an odd time, this round. Listening to James Taylor on Sesame Street, Jason Mraz, Ingrid Michaelson, Cat Power and Buddy Guy, Cat Power and the Dead (among others) gets me to thinking about the HR profession’s obsession with ‘the best’. Take a look at any of the video links in the first sentence of this paragraph. These are not videos of pure talent manifesting itself. They are pictures of the way that imperfection assembles into amazing work.
Astonishing work is rarely a question of the best. It’s never a question of the greatest talent. It’s always a matter of the greatest desire.
Desire trumps talent.
And, I don’t mean some non-specific form of ‘passion'; some nebulous need to be engaged. The desire to succeed, to make the most of the circumstances, to see the opportunity in the fog, to create value where none existed. This desire is the primary quality that holds well functioning groups together.
It can’t be measured very well; you have to know how to spot it.