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  • Charles Kovach

What's In Your Heart? The Hidden Criteria for Finding Talent

Updated: Jun 25


Recently I led a dialogue session on collaboration with a group of HR professionals. I offered an observation during that session that I hadn't planned and that caused me a lot of thought afterward. The observation was that when it comes to addressing the most complex and urgent business problems, effective collaboration is as much a product of what's in the hearts of the collaborators as what's in their heads. That phrase reminded me of an often-cited outcome of great leadership, which is fully engaging the heads (thoughts), hearts (emotions), and hands (effort) of self and others to achieve results. Although frequently cited as an indicator, heart is not explicit in many high potential identification criteria that focus on cognitive abilities, personality traits, knowledge, and skill. In today's work world of relentless change, search for work purpose and meaning, and quest for high engagement, the accuracy of those criteria can be strengthened by adding heart-related indicators.

Here are some "heart" questions that can be added to high potential criteria. They involve asking what evidence there is that the candidate:

  • Shows as much care for the success of others as of themselves?

  • Consistently acts from positive intentions?

  • Values creating and building as much as reducing or eliminating?

  • Expresses faith in the work of the organization and its people?

The answers to these questions can help identify candidates who have a better chance of engaging hearts as well as their heads and hands. That can be a big factor in achieving some of the most critical goals of today's organizations, including differentiation, innovation, and engagement. It can also enrich the experience of leading and being led. I invite your comments and feedback.



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