Why More Talent Isn’t Always The Answer

Why More Talent Isn’t Always The Answer

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Why More Talent Isn’t Always The Answer


According to research published in the Psychological Science, more talent doesn’t always equate to more success as it can lead to problems within the team and have detrimental effects on overall team performance.

The critical reason why this is the case, according to the research, is that too many highly talented people can provoke a lack of willingness to cooperate and coordinate; elements that are crucial to improved team performance. The problem is that most people believe the opposite to be true in terms of teamwork.

Termed by researchers as the “Too Much Talent Effect,” they show that teams which need a higher level of independence and cooperation, such as in football, talent only assists performance up to a certain point. Past this point the effects diminish. lLad author of the study INSEAD Professor Roderick Swaab commented:

“The benefits of adding more top talent will decrease and eventually hurt the team performance because they fail to coordinate their actions.”

This has consequences in the workplace because like team sports, companies have management levels with high degrees of interdependence. Hiring more and more talent only really works in certain environments such as in a sales team where success is predicated on individuals performing almost independently from each other. In this scenario, hiring more talent should increase performance levels and sales.

In a more team based environments however, the same approach will actually hinder performance improvement. In management teams where interdependence is required, a talent based approach to hiring can lead to a lack of cooperation and a lower willingness to coordinate, affecting team performance as a whole. Swaab says the best solution in teams where interdependence between individuals is a priority would be to:

“Either hire a better mix of top talent and non-top talent and/or invest more in training to formalize roles, ranks, and responsibilities.”

The “Too Much Talent Effect” should offer some key insights to business executives who maybe tempted to higher more and more talent. If the research is right, it is a misguided assumption to believe there is a correlation between more talent and performance improvement.




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