A talent mindset is the conviction that human capital is the single most important competitive advantage you can achieve and maintain as a company. 

In 2019, the overwhelming majority of 800 CEOs polled cited attracting and retaining talent as their top concern–yet attracting and retaining talent is now likely furthest from their minds.  It should not be.

While corporations are rightfully maintaining a focus on revenue and operating expenses, now is an ideal time to be capturing the talent advantage on your competitors.  With broad contractions in hiring since the beginning of the pandemic there is a wealth of talent available for those firms seeking to strengthen their single most competitive advantage. 

But how long will this availability of talent last?  Don’t you want to come out of this pandemic stronger and ready to take market share?

In my new book The Talent War, we discuss at length the critical attributes of defining talent, talent right for the situation, and how to attract, assesses and select the best players for your team–the HOW.  Part of that how is the five fundamental Special Operations truths that guide everything they believe and do. 

Special Operations battled tested truths have direct applicability to the corporate world.  Of the ones most consistently overlooked truths is that Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.  This truth requires them to be planning, assessing, and selecting now, for future battles, challenges, and emergencies across the globe.   Companies would benefit by mirroring this approach.

Goldman Sachs recently published outlook expects Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine candidate—and perhaps a few others in the pipeline—to receive emergency authorization from the FDA by January, with enough doses available to vaccinate the U.S. population in the first half of next year.   This development is a key driver to their estimated GDP growth of 5.3%, continuing the V-shaped recovery.  This is not only positive news but an indicator that consumer confidence and business spending will increase and impact hiring planning. 

Now is the time to start, or re-start company-wide assessments, examining where you have leadership gaps, assessing the overall strength of your leadership team, looking at talent gaps, where you might be viable missing successors or have single points of failure, or maybe it is identifying those who pose as a high flight risk. 

Now is the time to collectively review those talent issues and begin assessing each role and determine those character attributes that are predictive of success in these roles.   

Now is the time to re-examine how you are attracting, sourcing, assessing, and selecting talent.  Do you have a multi-variate assessment process?  Do you have A-players selected and trained to interview top talent?  All of these things are necessary you are ready and able to capture the best talent for your company, take the lead on your competition and win in your space.

This pandemic has, almost uniformly across the globe, required companies to become even more disciplined and focused on all things financial.  But not on all things related to human capital.  Conditions now favor those who will re-balance that focus and bring a renewed discipline and emphasis to talent.  There is no telling what the next pandemic or economic challenge will be in this next year or the ones after. 

If you want your company to survive and thrive, renew your focus on the one resource that has the potential to change your trajectory like no other, and that can be improved year over year, exponentially – talent.

A talent mindset is what propelled the US Special Operations Forces to be the successful, most admired, and arguably, the most emulated organization across the globe.  They know all too well that it isn’t hardware, or software or tactics that allow them to adapt, overcome and win, it’s people.  Over decades they have refined and improved their approach to talent and they never waited for the next emergency to begin finding, assessing and training the best. 

While you should always maintain the same rigor, discipline and focus on human capital that you apply to your financial capital, the conditions are ideal for you to get aggressive on talent and separate your company from the pack.