Hard Work vs. Talent

Hard work versus talent. Which one is more valuable? Which one do we reward? Who would you rather have on your team: hard workers, or workers with natural talent?

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

This quote has been attributed to many individuals, among them Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant as well as his mentor, Taras Brown. It’s powerful, both from the perspective of an athlete as well as that of a business leader. So how can we live this quote out? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Growth is essential. True hard work, whether it’s on the basketball court or in an office cubicle, results in growth. When we work hard, we’re expanding the possibilities and broadening our abilities.
    • Are you prepared for tomorrow. Have you thought through what you want to accomplish?
    • What are you doing to grow in your area of expertise? As a leader?
  • Talent is never enough. Hard work will always trump talent in the long run because just “having” talent doesn’t do anything. You have to apply that talent in what you do, and applying our talents always require us to work hard.
    • Look back on your day. Did you tackle the tough tasks? Can you say you gave 100 percent?
    • List three to five things that you accomplished today that impacted and served your teammates.
  • Talent plus hard work produces momentum. When you have a group of talented individuals confidently working hard toward the same goal, and that goal is in line with the company’s direction, you’re producing momentum.
    • What’s your team’s one thing? If you asked this question to every individual on your team, would you get the same answer?
    • Momentum shows up when individual roles align with team and company goals. Can your teammates connect their daily job duties with the organization’s overall mission and vision?

This week, strive to make a conscious effort to use your talents to impact the people around you.

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