Leading and Developing “Cezzanes”

Talent Managment
What is the best way to look at “talent?”

With regard to this question, I have been pondering a couple of things related to talent these days and they are “Picassos and Cézannes.” I saw author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell speak at a conference last June where he talked about the difference between artists Pablo Picasso and Paul Cézanne. According to Gladwell, Picasso’s most recognized work was done as a young man, while Cézanne’s best work was created later in his life. Gladwell used this comparision to highlight the emergence and development of talent over time. He cautioned us against focusing our talent development processes “only on the Picasso’s.”

Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success was released a few months ago, however, he is not the only author talking about what it takes to be great.” In his recently released book, “Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else,” Geoff Colvin asserts that greatness is the result of focused practice, analysis, and adjustments that take place over decades.

In other words “Picassos” are rare (no pun intended), AND Cézannes take time.

Since Talent Management seems to be focused on identifying, hiring, developing, growing, and retaining people that have already demonstrated some kind of potential (Picassos?), the next leadership challenge may be in creating situations where someone can become a “Cézanne,” and where both Picassos and Cézannes are valued, developed, and succeed.

Are today’s organizations structured to support both Picassos and Cézanne?  If so, how?  If not, what solutions do you believe are necessary in order to lead and develop Picassos and Cézanne?

Bookmark Leading and Developing “Cezzanes”

Kris Krueger, PhD is an Associate for a global strategy & technology consulting firm
She works with clients to transform their organization and deliver results
Email | LinkedIn | Blog

Image Source artquotes.net & abcgallery.com


One response to “Leading and Developing “Cezzanes”

  1. Hi Kris,

    I enjoyed your article. One of the disapointments as a manager is seeing someone with potential that no matter what you say or do doesn’t want to use it. It does happen occassionally, unfortunately, and it definitely feels like a failure as a manager.
    Picasso I am not, and I’ve a long way to go to being a Cezanne!!

    I am looking forward to reading Gladwell and Colvin.




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