There is a big difference between having a talent, for example, being able to do mental arithmetic and being considered as “talent” by an organisation.  This is because the definition of talent has two aspects to it.  Firstly, a talented employee can only be talented if they apply their “talents” in a useful way, and secondly talent has to be considered in the context of an organisation.  For example, a doctor may be a talented surgeon but put him/her in a garage and they will probably struggle to repair a vehicle that has broken down.

Context is therefore a key part of defining and subsequently identifying talent.  Some organisations use the criteria “being capable of working at two grades above their current role” as a simple means of defining and identifying talent, while others use more complex means.

Whatever definition an organisation chooses to use, it is vital that it has a system in place to identify and develop talented staff for its own future success.  With declining birth rates, there will be a huge shortage of people to replace current management roles within the next 20 years.  To protect themselves, organisations must have a clear strategy of finding and developing the replacements for their key managers.  Those that fail to do this will ultimately not survive.