Do You Have Extraordinary Talent?

Patricia Sellers of Fortune asked a number of their 50 Most Powerful Women how they identify extraordinary talent. I particularly like Susan Arnold's (see photo above) answer because it tracks substantially with my definition of leadership.
“How do you define extraordinary talent?”

Susan Arnold, president of global business units at Procter & Gamble (PG) and No. 7 on Fortune’s 2008 Most Powerful Women list, said: ”They’re owners. They treat the business like they own it. They’re leaders. They create a vision and lead people in that direction. They consistently deliver above expectations. They deliver. They deliver. They deliver. They create great organization that can deliver without them.”

Ursula Burns, president of Xerox (XRX) and No. 10 on Fortune’s list, said: ”They’re people who can learn and have flexibility. They’re fearless. They make a decision, and when they find out it’s not right, they change and get on with it. They pick great people. They’re patient. They realize that the problems of today weren’t created today and won’t be necessarily solved today. Among those four characteristics, the one I look for most of all is fearlessness.”

It would be helpful for you to know how the executives in your company answer this question, but if you don't, take the tips from the women above.

Will the Glass Ceiling Thicken?

from Management Issues

"An analysis of assessments and psychometric testing of more than 65,000 people by management consultancy Hudson has concluded that the innate ability of many women to be altruistic, people-oriented, co-operative and open lends themselves much better to leading modern-day organisations.

Yet it is these very traits that stop many women progressing within their organisations.

As a result, many women end up adopting or mimicking "male" leadership traits in an effort to break into senior leadership positions.

And with more organisations promoting traditionally "male" traits of decisiveness, persuasiveness and leadership in order to survive the downturn, women are going to find it even harder to make an impact at high levels.

Karen Scott, managing director of Hudson UK, said: "We are concerned that companies might adopt a short-term view that reinforces the hierarchy of men over women in their efforts to succeed during a recession."

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