Recognizing Talent

gty_jeremy_lin_jt_120210_wg

Unless you've been under a rock over the last week or so even the most casual sports fan has heard the term #Linsanity. Linsanity refers to New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. Lin is an undrafted unheralded point guard from Harvard who after being cut by a few teams around the league found himself riding the pine at the end of the Knicks bench for the majority of this current season.  That is until injuries and a ugly losing streak forced Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni to look all the way to the end of his bench and give Lin a chance mostly out of necessity as opposed to recognizing talent. What did Lin do with his chance; he's led the Knicks to five straight wins and has set records for a rookie scoring in his first few games. He's also become the hottest name in the NBA and sports, so much so that in less than a week he's completely overshadowed the entire NY Giants football team who won the Superbowl last Sunday. In addition he's opened up an entirely new fan base of Asian Americans who are following Lin's every move and has inspired creative uses of his name like: Linning, Linsanity, Madison Square Gardlin, and Super Lintendo.

One of the most compelling parts of this story is that most of Jeremy's former and even his current coach and teammates all say the same thing "I had no idea he was this good". As executives and leaders of an organization one necessary skill is the ability to put together a good team and recognizing talented team members that can ensure success and giving those team members the stage to display their talents. It's not always easy to recognize talent in a person and if you as the leader aren't diligent in your scouting of talent you can let diamonds in the rough the Jeremy Lin's of the world slip right through your hands.

Executives and team leaders sometimes have tunnel vision when it comes to recognizing talent, they're looking for the highly touted blue chip All-American who brings instant name recognition and ticket sales to the organization. The Account exec who had secured the largest clients for his/hers last shop and was recognized with several industry awards. The portfolio manager who increased the value of the companies portfolio by 15% for 5 years straight and was one of the who's who of Wall Street. But sometimes it's the quiet low key team member who comes to work everyday and executes his or her position and has an high IQ and is a "student of the game" that can bring your organization to promise, especially if you're not succeeding with the current roster of talent.

When assembling your team, keep an open mind. Yes you want a blue chip Carmelo Anthony type prospect on your team, but keep your eyes and ears open b/c although Melo is the franchise player you need Jeremy Lin's to win.