sparkChief & Co.

5 Talent Management Mistakes to Avoid

Ali Kursun
6 min readDec 7, 2023


Regardless of whatever resources an organisation has on hand — such as financial abundance, excellent public image, high-quality products and services — true talent is the foundation to its long-term success. Managing that talent requires that the right people are available to work in the right job at the right time and the right location. To offer the benefits of optimal management to the workforce, leadership must ensure that its members avoid the following talent management mistakes.

Mistake # 1. Lack of Talent Definition

In many organisations, the most common problem is disagreement as to who is talented and who is not. Consequently, misguided decisions, fraught with long-term adverse results, are apt to occur.

Talent is a quality that should be observable by anyone in a position to notice it. Consider the worlds of sports and business. No one would disagree that either soccer star, Lionel Messi, or tennis pro, Roger Federer, possess talent in their specialty areas. Likewise, the same could be said for Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs in the business arena. Why? Because such individuals consistently demonstrate their capabilities by delivering what they promise — in other words, their unique talent.

The first thing that talent managers need to do — even before developing strategies or programmes — is to ensure that everyone in the organisation is on the same page in defining and recognising talent as it relates to their company. In other words, management should be very clear and transparent about how talent looks and how it acts, for example:

  • Genuine talent reveals these traits: truthfulness, undeniability, indisputability, and unquestionability. Talent or skills in any field are honest. Such people can do what they say they can do — and do it well.
  • Talented individuals love and exemplify love by doing what they love, that is, what provides inherent satisfaction, pride, and enjoyment. The people who are most successful — not merely gaining financial and career success but also personal achievement — love what they do. And it shows.
  • A talented individual understands what is happening in the relevant environment, as well as being self-aware, and is conscious and alert to what reality can and should be. They…



Ali Kursun

Ali is a thought leader in transformation, change, and workforce strategy. He is the founder of sparkChief & Co. and the author of six books.