Your Team Has Talent!

If you find yourself repeatedly criticizing and judging your employees’ nonproductive behaviors, STOP! Put those same people in different roles, where they can do what they do best.

Identify Your Team’s Talents

Before deciding which role is right for each employee, you’ll need to understand the difference between talent, knowledge, skills, and a strengths.

A talent is a pattern of thoughts, feelings, or behavior that a person does well without thinking about it. Examples are instantly converting pounds to kilograms or effortlessly making small talk with every client.

Knowledge is what an employee knows in a factual way. Examples are the specifications of different types of computers, the physical signs of a disease, or the features of an ultrasound machine.

Skill is the ability to perform the fundamental steps of a process or procedure, such as a tooth extraction or collecting a client’s payment and entering the sale in the computer.

Strength is the ability to perform a task in a consistent, near-perfect way. It takes practice to turn a skill into a strength.To identify an employee’s talents, ask these questions:

  • What part of your job is most satisfying to you?stretching
  • Given a choice, how would you spend your time here?
  • List five characteristics that describe you.
After observing the employee hard at work, ask yourself:
  • Where does the employee focus her efforts?
  • When is she most productive?
  • When does she seem happiest?

Fit the Person to the Role

After getting to know your employees better, you will be able to put them in the right roles and give them the right projects. Write down which talents, knowledge, and skills are required for each role or project you have available. Then match up the employee to the role.

For example, you need someone to call clients whose pets are more than two months overdue for their annual exams. The goal is to set appointments. Which talents, knowledge, and skills are required for the role? You need someone who:
  • Easily converses with people (talent)
  • Knows all of the reasons why a dog or cat should have an annual exam (knowledge)
  • Enjoys talking on the phone (talent)
  • Is persuasive (talent)
  • Can schedule appointments in the practice management software (skill)

Two employees are available for this project. Beth has a knack with people, is familiar with the practice management software, has worked as a technician, and loves the challenge of turning a “No” into a “Yes!” Mark is a manager who is skilled at organizing and jumps at the chance to improve the day-to-day operations of the clinic. He is a computer whiz who loves process. Mark is a nice guy but doesn’t have any sales experience or much people know-how.

Who is the better fit for the role? Assigning this project to Beth makes more sense. It’s inherently easy for her to talk to clients in a way that will lead them to the desired action. She has the knowledge based on her background as a technician, and she is skilled at using the practice management software. Mark may be enthusiastic and able to learn on the fly, but his talents don’t lend themselves to this project. Don’t set him (and yourself, and the practice) up for failure by putting him in a role he isn’t suited for!

Employees who are able to showcase their talents at work are engaged and happy. Put your team’s talents to work in the right roles, and watch as productivity and profit increase and turnover decreases.



This article is adapted from content in Shawn McVey’s presentation titled, “Turn Talent into Performance.” To schedule Shawn to give this presentation to your group or team, contact Cindy Oliphant at 888-759-7191 or by email.

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