Thursday, April 7, 2016

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s Professional Uniqueness

Every person is unique, put the right people with the right capability to the right position to solve the right problems.

The digital dynamic continues to evolve with increasing speed of change and rapid integration of the business across the globe. Talent Management is throwing fresh challenges and calls for radical change to be embraced as well. If the talent philosophy in the industrial age is about setting the cookie-cutting standard to find human resource filling the square hole, keep the business wheel spinning; and then, in the Digital Age, with increasing speed of change and continuous disruption, innovation is not just “nice to have,” but “must have” business capability, how would you discover the right people with creative talent? How do you define wrong, average, mediocre, good, great or extraordinary person? Or put simply, for what should they be right? Which questions shall you ask to discover a person’s professional uniqueness in order to assess his/her creativity potential?

Who are you? Every person is unique, no two snowflakes are the same. Being unique means to be authentic. Being authentic is defined as being real or genuine. But what does "real" mean? To what standard, are we being genuine? Daring to start to find an answer to this question enables anybody to lead oneself and possibly others. Defining your true purpose is a helpful instrument to guide yourself, your team, your business, and your relations along the other dimensions. Through authenticity lens, it is much clearer to discover an individual’s capabilities and potential to innovate. The indicators to assess the intrinsic capacity of individuals include: Self-awareness (recognition of one's strength and weaknesses), interdisciplinary skills and knowledge, cognitive ability & style, intellectual engagement, creative problem-solving, personality (openness to experience, tolerance of ambiguity, personal initiatives), tendency to constantly question the status quo, plasticity (fast learning), ability to identify patterns, ability to make unusual connections, capacity to adapt, emotional intelligence (risk taking), willingness to accept feedback and/or a tenacity to refuse it, etc.

What's your cognitive ability & style? All of us have a creative/artistic side while also having a curious/scientific side. Cognition is a faculty for processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition can happen in many different ways and their combinations, for example, enhancing our “description of the world and ourselves within it” - is cognition and differs from ordinary (usually habitual) thoughts. The next step for discovering professional uniqueness is investigating what’s your strength, your passion: defining your task, things you want to do and do better than others. The emphasis is on trying to determine which competencies or capabilities should be used in which combination, and with what level of weight for each, for every different situation. Improving one’s cognitive ability involves exploring varieties of meanings/thoughts, abandoning old connection, and establishing new relations. In neuronal terms, this involves disabling some of the “wiring” and working on the new ones. All of that requires a deliberate mental effort, connect your dots and discover where your unique value proposition is...and how to become more creative effortlessly.

What is your unique set of capabilities? Either at individual or business level, the unique set of capability will help you to achieve career or business goals. Competency is a combination of cohesive capabilities with a focus. Each of these same capabilities may be combined in different fashions to yield multiple competencies. For example, creative problem-solving is a unique capability, creative minds with cognitive differences can reframe questions before answering them, to focus on WHY, before getting to the HOW. In short, innovators obviously think differently- problem solving is part of their DNA whether it is in the invention, marketing, repurposing something already being there. Creative people also have the ability to reframe the circumstances or conditions around a problem, to solve a problem creatively. Creative thinking starts with big WHY, start focusing on why the tasks are necessary. When you begin looking at WHYs, benchmarks can be set for the improvement activities of the future. You will also drive greater innovation and change since you will find that you have more options available to solve your problems.

It is a digital shift from managing people as resources and cost to investing them as asset and capital, from static monitoring to ongoing development, besides wise eyes to identify talent, ask the good questions to discover the unique value of your talented people, put the right people with the right capability to the right position to solve the right problems, make digital talent management both the art and science.


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