Late in the year 2011 I read Outliers, a book by Malcolm Gladwell that chronicled the lives of successful individuals. Gladwell wrote that much of their success was due to advantages they were subject to, without even realizing it. His premise was that success is impacted by culture, generation, idiosyncrasies, and surprisingly – for hockey players even the month of their birth. Did you know that the Beatles, due to scheduling errors for studio time had hundreds of practice hours over the time allotted to other artists and groups from that era? Whether or not you believe that seemingly unrelated factors have an effect on success, you can’t ignore the fact that some talent goes unnoticed while others achieve celebrity status virtually overnight.  Certain individuals are promoted through the ranks of corporations, while others remain on the front lines. Some businesses thrive while others, with almost the same product line, close their doors.

This article talks about what happens when talent is at first overlooked. How We Overlook Hidden Talent Among those listed in the article are Walt Disney, Vincent Van Gogh, and Lucille Ball. Overlooked, then what? Somehow the rebound affect brings the talent into the spotlight and a star is born.  While we often relate success to celebrities, we have talent incubating, unnoticed, in our workplaces. How can we learn to recognize where individuals can play to their strengths and open the door to an improved and productive workplace?