Leadership Nugget: Talent or Culture – Which is More Important?

What has a greater impact on the success of your team – talent or culture?

Team Defined: A group of people working together (typically interdependently) for a common goal/outcome.
Culture Defined: The manner in which a team goes about it’s work. Includes the team’s environment, ethos, values, processes, procedures, physical spaces, formality, acceptable teammate and stakeholder interactions, etc. 

Naturally, team leaders want both talent and a healthy culture. My observation from working with many team leaders is that there will be occasions when a leader must navigate through a situation that will ultimately result in a decision that indicates which has greater value, talent or culture, in that specific situation. Why? There are times when a very talented team member is negatively impacting the team’s culture. There are also times when a team member who has a positive impact on the team’s culture is not performing at the necessary level and it is determined that the team member cannot be developed to reach the necessary level of performance, they simply are not talented/skilled enough. 

Talent Observations:

  • In competitive, high performing environments, teams can’t “win”, (be successful, accomplish its objectives, etc.) without talent, but a team can “lose” (be unsuccessful, not accomplish its objectives, etc.) with talent. Talent alone is not a guarantee for a team’s success. A lack of talent typically limits the team’s level of performance and accomplishment. 
  • When adding team members, talent (skill, technical competency) is weighted above team culture or the prospective team members “fit” on the team.
  • Performance/skill can be developed/improved through coaching and training. 

Culture Observations:

  • A healthy team culture, like team performance, is the result of intentionality and effective leadership. Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky, says “Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.”
  • Culture impacts team member engagement and retention. Teams risk losing top performers if the culture becomes unhealthy or toxic. 
  • Culture can be improved/developed through coaching and training if the leader(s) are committed to having a healthy culture. 

Teams must have talent. Talent alone is not enough. Teams also need a healthy culture to achieve the full potential. Vern Dosch, author of “WIRED DIFFERENTLY” wrote, “I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future.”

Does your team have the needed talent as well as a healthy culture?

More Posts

Leadership Nugget: Navigating Team Setbacks

6 Keys for Navigating Team Setbacks Be visible. “Leadership is best transferred through example.” 2. Pause. Gain some perspective. “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” – Peter Drucker 3. Check on the individuals that make up your team. 4. Conduct a “no-fault

Leadership Nugget: Navigating Team Success

Chuck defines Team Success as “a time or period when a team accomplishes an objective or a goal.” 4 Suggestions for Leaders to Help Their Teams Navigate Success Recognize and Celebrate the Team’s Accomplishments. “A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of

Leadership Nugget: 5 Checkpoints for Effective Delegation

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”  – John C. Maxwell, best-selling author & speaker In its most basic form, Delegation is the assigning of a task to someone else.  Five Checkpoints to Effective

Leadership Nugget: The Advantage of Social Skill in Your Leadership

This is the final segment of Chuck’s series on Emotional Intelligence gleaned from the teaching framework of best-selling author, Dr. Daniel Goleman. Review of the other 4 components of Emotional Intelligence: Self-Awareness Self-Regulation Motivation Empathy The final component of Emotional Intelligence is Social Skill. Chuck defines Social Skill as “proficiency in managing relationships and building

Send Us A Message

Contact Chuck Carringer

Hire Chuck as an Executive Coach.
Book a training event.
Book Chuck as a speaker.