hroughout history, schools and colleges have greatly emphasized academic merit, praising students with exceptional intellectual talents. In our society, people are often differentiated based on their grades and educational achievements.

At the same time, those who demonstrate resilience and the ability to bounce back from setbacks are frequently overlooked and underappreciated. Even though persistence and perseverance are essential qualities for success in all aspects of life, they are not given the attention they deserve.

It is necessary to recognize that academic achievement is not the sole determinant of success and that resilience and determination are equally important for achieving one's goals. According to Malcolm Gladwell and many psychologists, talent might be one part nature and three parts nurture. Gladwell debunks the idea of innate talent with his concept of the 10,000-hour rule.

His theory suggests that exceptional achievement arises from natural gifts and the countless hours we spend honing our skills. In the words of psychologist Anders Ericsson, "Exceptional performance is not the result of innate talent, but the result of structured activity."

The Indelible Character of Not-Yet 

Many of us are familiar with the idea that we aren't born with all the skills we need but acquire them through practice and perseverance. When we hire or educate people based solely on perceived talent, we take a gamble to find someone fully formed.

This approach has a significant downside: it can discourage innovation and risk-taking and may exclude people with untapped potential or who need more opportunities to develop their skills. In short, focusing too much on talent can create an unfair playing field where only a select few can succeed.

Does Google Hire base on talents or skills?

Regarding hiring practices at Google, the tech giant known for innovation seeks candidates with a critical ability to solve problems rather than recruiting based on known skills.

Google values individuals willing to confront complex and confounding challenges and celebrates learners, adjusters, and resilient minds.

It's not about what you already know but your willingness to learn.

“It looks like the thing that separates out the capable students from the really successful ones is not so much their knowledge…but their persistence at something,” - Eric Schmidt (Google chairman)
The four fundamental skills you must have to get hired at Google : General cognitive ability, leadership, “Googliness” and role-related knowledge. - Lisa Stern Haynes, the global staffing lead and senior recruiter at Google.

Shifting Paradigms for a Learning Generation 

Organizations and educational institutions must change how they approach learning to prepare for the future. Instead of focusing on pre-existing talents, they should encourage the acquisition and application of skills.

This cultural shift is at the centre of current learning movements. Startups are creating certification and reskilling programs that match job market requirements, universities offer credits for massive open online courses, and organizations implement internal learning programs.

These initiatives demonstrate that this transition is already in progress. 

Talent Can't Be Bought, Skills Can Be Taught 

We prioritize teaching skills over scouting talent to reach a wide range of people. The ancient Romans had a good understanding of this idea.

Seneca, a Roman philosopher, introduced the concept of a liberal education that focuses on developing a flexible and informed mind through studying arts, history, and critical thinking.

This type of education is not based on material gain, labour markets, or performance data but on the pursuit of knowledge.

Today's education system is different, however, as it is fixated on performance data and vocational training rather than on a broad and flexible education. 

“The idea behind that is if you’re a smart problem-solver and you’re good at learning, you can figure out pretty much anything that’s going to be role-related knowledge on the job,” - Lisa Stern Haynes.

How do you know if someone is a learner?

Lucas suggests that a person's ability to learn can be determined by their past experiences with difficult tasks, their knowledge of similar subjects, and their ability to bounce back from previous failures.

Those who have demonstrated resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity are better equipped to tackle new challenges. As the job market becomes increasingly uncertain, individuals with a growth mindset and a willingness to learn new skills will be highly sought after. 

The future of work belongs to those who possess a range of skills rather than just natural talent. The World Economic Forum's report on Jobs of the Future supports this idea, as it emphasizes the importance of a diverse set of acquired abilities rather than any particular talent.

We must keep learning and improving our skills in the coming years rather than just mastering one craft. 

“We need to not only look at ‘Does this person already know how to do something?’ but ‘Can she learn it’?” - Suzanne Lucas 

Change is needed in the way we approach education and careers. This change, however, does not have to be sudden or radical. Instead, it can be achieved through several small steps over time.

Our goal is to transform the way we view talent. Talent is not a scarce resource that needs to be hoarded or taken from others. Instead, it is a skill that can be grown, developed, and shared.

We must prioritize and value skill development and make it a collective effort between education, corporations, and society. 

Apr 3, 2024
Skills For Future

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