Don’t Miss Out on “Norm-Defying” Talent

Tim Tebow is known for more than a few things, and one of those “things” is his very unusual throwing mechanics. He by no means throws like “everybody else”; in fact, his throwing style could be characterized as downright ugly. Yet, even with this seeming lack of finesse, he is clearly effective and would rank in the top percentile among his counterparts. In fact, he is efficiently collecting wins and silencing critics, Sunday after Sunday.

It’s easy to “see” talent like the second-fastest American marathoner of all time – Ryan Hall. Runner’s World profiled his, and the form of other top-notch runners, in its June 2011 issue; with his still upper body, straight back, open palms, midfoot strike and effortless, fluid back kick, Hall appears to float over the competition.

It’s not so easy to see the talent that lies with other runners unless you already know the distance greats by name. That’s because, when Paula Radcliffe runs, for example, her head bobs side-to-side and her left arm remains lower than her right – giving the appearance that she’s going to tip over at any moment. To look at her, you’d hardly think this is the form of a world-class runner. But the Brit is the very definition of world-class – even though her form is not — having smashed the women’s marathon world record in 2003 at the London Marathon.

It’s important for those of us leaders responsible for talent management and development, to be open enough to see such superior ability when it comes at us in the most unexpected of ways.

We need to understand that greatness comes in all shapes and sizes and forms.

That’s tough, considering that we are all locked into preconceived notions of what greatness looks like.

If we mistakenly believe that a leader must look and act a certain way, or have a particular kind of demeanor and experience, we run the risk of missing out on the unconventional person (or style) who can be equally (if not more) successful for you.

Beware that if we only adhere to the cookie-cutter approach, we very well could miss that once-in-a-lifetime talent who shatters the mold, standing in front of our eyes.



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