Monday, November 19, 2007

Talent ... waiting to be given a chance

What talent do you have in your organisation just waiting to be noticed?

Paul Potts was a mobile phone salesman with no self confidence ... and then once upon a time (last year), someone believed in him …


13 comments:

Nick McCormick said...

Trevor,
Fabulous post. Too often we look to superstars for inspiration when in fact the greatest inspiration comes from ordinary people... the surviving cancer victim that never quits, the blind neighbor that not only survives but thrives, the mobile phone salesman that finally breaks out of his shell.

Makes me ashamed of any time I complain about anything. Makes me want to get out there and get things done. We all have so much latent ability just waiting to be unleashed.

I actually woke my wife up to show her this video. I had to share it with someone. Thanks very much… and this directly on the heals of the Mother Theresa post! Fantastic!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks for that Nick. I hope your wife didn’t mind being woken up!!

Glad you liked it – Paul Potts is a fantastic story – what a nice man. So inoffensive and lacking in self esteem until someone believed in him and gave him the chance

In a business context my point is we have so much talent in business that is untapped and kept under the surface just waiting to be given the opportunity to flourish. This is often because people are put in a pigeon hole that says ‘this is what you do’ …. And as a result we miss out on so much talent and so much potential. I’m sure you will agree with me.

I hope your book sales are growing and the interview on radio went well.

Trevor Gay said...

PS Nick ... you said

....'so much LATENT ability just waiting to be unleashed' ...

I just noticed an anagram of the word 'LATENT' is 'TALENT' ... interesting eh? :-)

Mark JF said...

Well, yes, but...

Good luck to the guy. His music is far removed from my taste but it's great to see someone come through like this. Here's my concern though: TV is a voracious and capricious consumer of talent. Paul will be this month's big thing, appear on all the chat shows and have a Xmas hit etc. But what next? Who will be there for him when this first flush of success passes by, helping him develop and move on? To make sure he doesn't get ripped off or fall into personal problems when the success starts to dry up? Or will his next big TV performance be as the subject of a "Where are they now" or even a "Where did it all go wrong" show?

There seems to be an endless public fascination with these "reality" shows but no real interest in what they do in the longer term. And we criticise business that consume people and are short-termist...

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Mark - many of the modern tv talent show ‘products’ have their fifteen minutes of fame and disappear but I am optimistic about Paul Potts – I feel he can remain grounded.

Training and practice in all walks of life is essential – my theory is that for every one opera singer (or footballer, or comedian, or writer, or actor, etc.,) that ‘makes it’ there are millions with equal talent and ability who never get the breaks. For instance JK Rowling was turned down by many ‘experts’ (publishers)

I want to celebrate Paul Potts - a fantastic undiscovered British talent – it gives me great hope. It was immediately obvious when he started to sing from the panel reaction and the entire audience that we have a real jewel.

I am not interested in opera either Mark but I do recognise real talent. If Paul gets the right advice and remains grounded I think he can last a long time. Even if he doesn’t, my main point remains that there is loads of talent under the surface (in business) just waiting for someone to have faith in them and give them the opportunity to flourish and that is worth celebrating as far as I am concerned.

I think we are agreeing :-)

Mike Chitty said...

What many people don't know is that before Britain has Got Talent, Paul Potts had spent circa £8000 on opera lessons from some of the best Italian teachers. He had also performed several major roles in serious amateur operatic productions and had sung in front of 15000 people with the Royal Philharmonic and toured Northern Italy as a soloist. This according to wikipedia.

This is not a story of an overnight success as a wonderful talent is discovered. This is a story of someone who has crafted their talent for years and after some very unlucky breaks finally got lucky.

What is unusual is the extent to which this man had already backed himself, his talent and his passion with serious energy and finance.

Trevor Gay said...

I read the Wikipedia piece too Mike and yes Paul paid for his own training. That is some dedication. He then had terrible bad luck with a serious injury that meant he was disabled for a while and totally dependant on his wife had to look after him. This is a young man who has survived hard knocks and bounced back. It is an inspiring case of giving someone a break and watch them grow.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am John, the owner of www.PaulPottsFanClub.com. This is a good thread for Paul Potts fans. I linked this post on my website under "Blogs, Forums..". I hope you don't mind. Thank you very much -John-

Trevor Gay said...

Brilliant John and thanks for visiting Simplicity Blog - good luck to Paul.

His story has made quite an impression on many people. Please send warm wishes and good luck to him from Annie and me.

Susan Plunkett said...

In terms of giving talent a chance within an organisation I'd like to pose the notion of having workers from different sections occasionally swap around and do the jobs of others. It's an empathy raiser and sometimes you locate a great hidden talent in a staff member that had never been given a chance to show before,

In terms of expanding the organisational talent pool I recommended bringing in people - even if just from time to time - from outside fields.

Trevor Gay said...

I agree about swapping seats.

A story …

When I worked in healthcare management I made a suggestion in our team meetings that everyone in our headquarters office moved seats as a minimum every six months. My theory is that people learn new stuff from sitting opposite someone different. Simplicity personified. Guess what? – only 2 people thought it was a good idea – me and one other. I swapped seats – he left. The other people (about 25) just thought it was another one of my hair brained ideas that was too ‘off the wall.’

I loved the idea of bringing in the head chef from the biggest and best local hotel to talk to healthcare managers. This person knows how to manage.

In my experience such ideas created a predictable response in the very conservative UK National Health Service ... most people said this confirmed Trevor needed therapy.

I was usually told to go and lie down until I felt better when I suggested these things. It didn’t stop me suggesting them until I got burned out and left the NHS.

It is wonderful now to be outside the NHS as a freelancer and I realise I was in fact right all along.

Kostas Panagias said...

This is an amazing post! I was thrilled by that man and his performance. This story is another example of hidden talents within an organization that are unexploited. Unfortunately, organizations tend to measure performance according to their own faulty metrics; that way many good ideas just like yours may be not utilized.

I really hope that every hidden talent would be motivated enough to chase his/her dreams and go through all the difficulties that may arise just as Paul did!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Kostas – Paul Potts story is a great example for all managers to give everyone a chance – there is always great talent under the surface; a great example for all of us to never give up hope and never let go of our dream.