Be the Best at the Things That Don’t Require Talent


During last year's Rugby World Cup in France, a radio presenter's words about Warren Gatland, the Welsh Rugby coach, struck a chord with me. His message to the national team was simple yet profound:

"Be the best at the things that don't require talent."

This statement resonated deeply, not only because we were coming up to our review season, but because it made me think about the evolving landscape of the software industry, where success is no longer solely reserved for 'rockstar’ developers. Instead, it has become a realm where anyone can flourish, often outshining the technically talented individuals.

It got me thinking about the attributes that require no talent but that make a difference to one’s career and its success. Three fundamental qualities immediately sprang to mind: openness to feedback, effective time management, and a proactive attitude.

Openness to Feedback

At Entelect we are a company that is built on feedback. Being open to feedback, and more importantly, being able to internalise feedback is key to your growth. It requires no talent but yields substantial results throughout a career because of the emphasis on self-reflection and the growth mindset it fosters.

Being open to feedback will help you break some mental models and stubborn habits that you’ve learned or held onto over the years. This will open you up to perspectives and opportunities to overcome new challenges in different ways, which will add tools to your problem-solving toolbox. This is critical if you want to progress in your career, be it with your current set of responsibilities or future ones.


Time Management

Effective time management is a crucial skill that can be developed and refined over time and does not require talent. It is about managing priorities efficiently to meet commitments and deadlines. This is essential for supporting balance and enhancing productivity and well-being in your professional and personal life.

Having the ability to manage time more effectively will also give you insight into what you can and can’t commit to. This will, in turn, assist you in understanding what your own capacity is. This will lead to less over personal over burdening and allow you to better focus on the task at hand.


A Proactive Attitude

As a consultant this is the most important think you can have. Being proactive is about taking the initiative and responsibility to address issues, anticipate challenges, and seek opportunities for learning and improvement. It is about being solution-oriented and acting with foresight without being asked to, which contributes significantly to individual and collective success in any professional setting.

Being proactive proves that you are interested in walking a journey with your team or customer and that you are there to do more than implement a solution. It shows that you are invested in finding the best solution with them and to implement the solution that they truly need.

These three attributes merely scratch the surface of qualities that go beyond talent and contribute to a well-rounded professional persona. Whether you are at the start of your career or a seasoned pro, mastering skills beyond talent serves as a blueprint for realising your full potential and achieving success.

- Hans Roos