Talent vs Attitude

Talent vs. Attitude… who wins?

Marketing and Business expert Seth Godin summed it up this way in a recent post on his blog:

The truth about the war for talent

It’s more of a skirmish, actually.

Plenty of recruiters and those in HR like to talk about engaging in a war for talent, but to be truthful, most of it is about finding good enough people at an acceptable rate of pay. Filling slots.

More relevant and urgent, though, is that it’s not really a search for talent. It’s a search for attitude.

There are a few jobs where straight up skills are all we ask for. Perhaps in the first violinist in a string quartet. But in fact, even there, what actually separates winners from losers isn’t talent, it’s attitude.

And yes, we ought to be having a war for attitude.

An organization filled with honest, motivated, connected, eager, learning, experimenting, ethical and driven people will always defeat the one that merely has talent. Every time.

The best news is that attitude is a choice, and it’s available to all. You can probably win the war for attitude with the people you’ve already got. And if you’re looking for a gig, you’ll discover that honing and sharing your attitude goes a lot farther than practicing the violin all day.

Football vs. New Mexico State, jkThe Boise State football program, led by Coach Petersen, has accumulated an 84-8 record, 6 Top 25 finishes, and 2 BCS bowl wins in the past 7 seasons… all this on a budget a fraction of their BFS counterparts and an average recruiting class “rank” of 69 out of 120 FBS institutions.   How?

In his article for Forbes magazine, Jason Belzer explores the Boise State “culture”

As with any organization, its culture only goes as far as the individuals who make up its sum total are willing to carry it. To that end, the program’s entire recruiting philosophy is based around finding what Petersen calls, “OKGs (Our Kinda Guys).”  In fact, Boise State might be the only sports program where the first criteria in recruiting new talent is not how well they play the actual game, but whether they align with the program’s core values. According to Petersen, instead of focusing on raw football talent, the emphasis is on intangibles.

“If you fall in love with talent, you’re making a big mistake. You have to fall in love with the person first and foremost because you can only change someone so much. We have to be mindful of falling into the trap of looking for great [football] talent and instead go recruit an OKG and make him a football player.”

In different article this week, Texas A & M head coach, Kevin Sumlin shares this regarding the talent vs attitude debate:

“Many people think that winning the game of football is simply a matter of having the eleven most talented players on the field, but that’s rarely the case.  We know that it’s as much about a player’s intangibles as it is what you can see from direct observation. We look for guys that are always at the ball, even when it’s not expected of them. When it comes to evaluating others, most leaders fail to realize that it takes absolutely no talent to give effort; effort is the great equalizer.”

As coaches we inclined to work hard and devote much of our time developing the physical talent on our squads.  How much time are you investing developing the culture of your team… the attitude of your team….  the intangibles of your team?  Are you conducting a War for Attitude to win with the talent you do have?

Thanks again to PrepsKC for running this column both online and in their weekly print magazine. If you get a chance to go and visit their site and “Like” this post, I would appreciate it!

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you.. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

3 thoughts on “Talent vs Attitude

  1. Great article!  I’m putting my name in for indepence hs head coach & athletic coordinator. 

    Very pertinent when starting a new job with open coaching staff.  

    Hope all is well


    Please excuse errors   sent from my phone

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