The first blog in this series explored the topic of Talent Stacking. To demonstrate the concept, I provided two very extreme examples of Scott Adams and Steve Jobs. So what might your Talent Stack look like and how can you get started building it out?
Introspection and self-reflection
The first, and most important step is to practice introspection and self-reflection. You need to understand your goals, motivations, and interests. It’s important to remember that some of the ‘stack’ you will already have, but other parts of the ‘stack’ you are going to have to hone in on to complete your Talent Stack.
If you need help to identify your unique traits, I would recommend taking a behavioral assessment so that you can get a better understanding of your strengths and motivations.
Write it down
Now here is the fun part. Grab a pen and piece of paper, and ask yourself the following questions:
1) What interests you?
When you have genuine interest in something, you will go to extremes to learn and discover more about that topic. It won’t be tedious, and you will get genuine joy from the discovery process.
2) What domain would you like to excel in?
To have your Talent Stack valued, you need to understand the market that you want to be in. How will combining those skills be appreciated, and what value will that combination bear?
3) What are the “tools” that you have in your Talent Stack?
You will get the most value out of skills that are not normally combined. A salesperson who understands business concepts as well as human psychology is more valuable than a salesperson who simply understands business concepts.
4) What combination will grow in value over time?
You need to look at your Talent Stack like an investment. Make sure that the Talent Stack you choose will grow over time. Your time is valuable so don’t waste it on things that won’t contribute to your ‘stack’.
Make your list
After you’ve gone through the exercise of answering the questions, you may have come up with a long list of things that you’re pretty good at.
Your first-pass list may look like something like this:
- Business Concepts
Narrow your focus
The next step is to sharpen the pencil and narrow your focus into three to five skills that you would like to invest in. As a reminder from the first blog in this series, you don’t want to be jack of all trades. You want to make sure to edit the list down to skills you can focus on that provide the highest value.
Here is how that long list can be whittled down to a few highly valued Talent Stacks:
- Sales + Writing + Psychology
- Writing + Coding + Business Concepts
- Communication + Business Concepts + Presentation
Unbeknownst to you, these Talent Stacks have widened your career scope to potential jobs in sales, marketing, or product management – the sky is the limit! While you may already be strong in some of these areas, you may have to sharpen others to increase your competency. The beauty is that we have so many tools at our disposal to hone our Talent Stacks. eLearning solutions and the internet provide us more freedom to learn and grow than ever before.
What makes the Talent Stack so amazing is that it opens us to new worlds of possibility. Talent Stacking empowers us to become a better version of ourselves, and allows us to compete on different levels.
Joe Strick is a Senior Account Manager at TalentQuest. He has spent the last 12 years helping organizations optimize their workforce and talent needs. He is passionate about ensuring clients are successful in executing their talent, performance, and learning strategies.