There have been many stories about Bernard Tomic and that interview at Wimbledon, along with the fine he has now received for faking an injury. People have expressed shock, dismay and judgement at how such a talented young man could make the comments he has.
How many business owners and leaders have looked around their teams and seen talent that is not being put to best use? More than you would think. With over 20 years’ experience in business and elite sport (I coach and support elite motorcycle racers as well as business leaders and executives), I have seen many examples where talent alone is not enough.
As this case is showing, talent can succeed for a period of time but it needs to be sustained and nurtured. In Tomic’s case, he seems to have exhausted the motivation and dedication he was known for as a junior.
Bernard Tomic is giving a high-profile example of what recruiting on talent alone can (and does) do to a business and to a team. If you are one of those people who thinks that you have a “Tomic” employee on your team, I suggest that you take these three steps:
• Have a robust and honest conversation about performance. There is a myth that talented people know what needs to be done and can be left alone to do it. That is not the case. Talent wants to be tested and developed and to improve on those areas that are not quite up to their standard. A fair and open conversation can identify those areas and keep the talent focused.
• Review your recruiting practices and ensure that you are hiring for team and culture fit, and not just talent. Regardless of how talented an individual is, the peaks of success can never be reached by one person alone. There is always a support team with talents in different and complementary areas. That is what a high performing team has – a range of skills that combine well.
• Be prepared and able to say no. Much of the criticism being levelled at Tomic is that he has been allowed to do what he wants. It takes a good foundation to be able to say no to a talented and ambitious individual, yet none of us has the ability to single-handedly be aware of every factor and event going on around us. The best decisions are based on more than one point of view.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pam Macdonald is a people performance expert who enables more effective leaders, facilitates change and engages functional teams. Pam has over 25 years’ experience managing people, behaviour and change. Working with government, not-for-profit and private sector organisations, she has led internal human resources teams, designed and conducted hundreds of high-impact training sessions and has consulted SMEs and multinationals.