Fallacies of Talent & Processes

28th April, 2021
Garrett Ross
Garrett Ross, Co-founder of Mobelux, spoke with Varun Bihani and Jessie Coan on the Agencies That Build podcast about what he’s learned regarding definite truths we’ve been told surrounding talent, processes, and company culture.

Have you ever hired a person based on their perceived talent and been disappointed? Or developed a fantastic process that worked great, but later had to be adjusted? That’s because both talent and processes are overrated, according to Garrett Ross, Co-founder of Mobelux, a leading software design & development agency that offers services including UX, Design, Development and Strategy. Not only does he refer to psychologist Anders Ericsson’s book Peak, he has also discovered this through experience from agency growth. No one is born with a natural talent that they are innately great at. Good - yes. But, to call it great would be bogus. Not only is Ross looking to hire someone that that they want to work with, he also considers “...somebody who’s proven ability to execute, to do something, as well as a proven routine that they can actually keep improving.”

This is done through work ethic, deliberate practice, willingness to mature one's passions, and improve themselves with a deliberate focus. Ross believes that this is what matters in the long run.

When you listen to athletes, champions, thought leaders and experts discuss their experiences and talent, they did not have the natural, unpracticed capabilities they have now the first time they showed interest in their field. That talent didn’t develop overnight! They worked hard for their achievements. They practiced and improved constantly, consistently, and over time to have the appearance of effortlessness.

The same thought process can be utilized when hiring a new team member and for your own personal & professional development. Instead of saying that you can’t do something, take the time to determine if that’s true.

  • Did you really work hard enough?
  • Did you have strong enough work ethics?
  • Were you deliberately focused on improvement?
  • Did you dedicate the required time for your discipline?

Anything Can Really Be Learned...

"And if you really work hard enough and have good enough work ethics, how you break things down, how you go after stuff, you’ll actually become really good at your craft, whatever that craft may be."

- Garrett Ross

Ask potential new hires what they’ve done by themselves and what measures they took to become better at their craft. Don’t shy away from giving them opportunities to prove themselves. Know what they’re passionate about and be willing to assist with their development. When you see your employee succeed, there are two internal responses:

  1. They are proud of what they have accomplished
  2. They are more willing to keep improving themselves

Company culture expands outside of the weekly meetings, the company lunches, or a monthly hangout. Not to be dismissed, but there’s more to an agency culture than your typical, expected participation. One thing you don’t want is gathering together and it feels inauthentic. Culture grows with experience and combating challenges together.

Working through chaos and figuring out a plan of action together to overcome obstacles provides a healthy friction that can later be reflected on as success and the takeaway is that “the company as a whole is a living organism,”so it needs that natural development. Reflecting back on the culture, the contributions made by the team members will add value; which is what you want them to feel in addition to their accomplishments.

When is the best time for this discovery? Reflect on how you and your agency adapted with the change experienced from the pandemic.

There wasn’t a process in place

You either adapted or failed. It’s that simple. It was uncomfortable to alter the agency processes when remote work was implemented. It is uncomfortable when a process (or software) has to be rewritten in order to work. But Ross stands by the fact that those times are when you learn the most. Feeling uncomfortable shifts dynamics of what you’re used to doing, but the outcome once you work through that leads to successful maneuvering. This is why he believes the established process is overrated. There’s no cookie-cutter way that can work for everyone and still provide value.

People are naturally afraid to fail, and that fear continues throughout your life beginning from elementary! Resiliency, on the other hand, is learned through taking action and having strength to push through the tough problems. There’s a feeling of success when you can work together to solve a problem that.

The synergy between the elements of culture, process and talent are needed in providing a unique experience to the company, the clients, and the employees. Finding these innovative paths to work together creates an atmosphere for continued success and relationships. These are human interactions that develop over time. Don’t be afraid to evolve with them.

We’re happiest as a human race when we can look back and see what we’ve accomplished. When we do meaningful work for somebody, for ourselves, we see the growth but usually in that moment, you’re not really happy… feeling uncomfortable. But everything in life that is worthwhile… things that are really hard, you’ll look back and be go ‘yeah, I’m really glad I did that.


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