How to identify a superstar
A month ago 25-year-old Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won her second consecutive 100-meter Olympic gold medal. Her story is interesting, because six years earlier at the age of 19 she was nothing but a mediocre sprinter. She took 11.7 seconds to run the 100 m, which was far from impressive. She always ran well early in her races, but she fell apart technically and lost speed as the race went on.
This made the head coach of MVP Track & Field Club in Kingston, Stephen Francis, think: “If I can improve her technique and get her to train properly she will improve drastically.”
He succeeded in getting her right down to 10.73. And the rest is history.
Stephen Francis thinks about identifying human potential as a private equity bank thinks about identifying corporate potential.
Private equity banks don’t care about the companies performing above average in a given field. They care about the companies performing below average, and then they ask themselves: Why is this company underperforming? Can we cut some costs? Can we quickly improve efficiency? Can we replace the complacent management team? And suddenly the company looks much more valuable.
This is how Stephen Francis thinks too and how any other recruiter should think. If someone comes with problems they also come with potential.
As a leader you must love weaknesses and see them as opportunities for finding the rare talent that everyone else has overlooked. Ask yourself two simple questions: can I eliminate this weakness, and do I have the time to do it?
Great talent discoveries happen only if you are willing to suspend your idea of something perfect. Real potential does not necessarily look perfect.