I first heard the idea of talent stacking from Scott Adams. He says “Most people can – with practice –develop a variety of skills that work well together. I call this idea the Talent Stack.”
There are two ways to be extraordinary or elite:
1. Be a top 1%er in one area. This is what some might call a ‘carry tool’. They have one elite skill/talent that immediately puts them in the 1% category.
2. Be in the top 20% in multiple areas and then stack them. There is no one dominant skill/talent but there are several in the top 20%.
You can be extraordinary with average skills… if you stack the right skills/talents.
To give an example, let’s take a look at Scott Adams. He is the creator of the comic strip Dilbert. Dilbert features the life of a businessman (Dilbert) and his co-workers…in the business world dealing with white-collar, office issues.
Adams says he is not a 1%er in comedy, he is not a 1%er artist, and he is not a 1%er writer or businessman. But he is in the top 20% in each of these three areas. He’s pretty funny, can draw pretty well, is a good writer, and has a good grasp of what the corporate world is like. When you stack these skills, mix in a top 20% level of perseverance and a willingness to take risks, you have a success story.
Adams has stacked these skills and has made 75 million on his comic strip.
My skill stack is as follows.
- I have been gifted to be able to connect with and win influence with many different types of people.
- I understand coaching and leadership…having walked in those shoes.
- I have been blessed with discernment to help solve issues in a leader’s life or program by tackling the root cause.
- I am an exhorter (encouragement w/ a nudge)
- The skill of navigating and leading a small group discussion has been honed over the last 9 years that it is now a strength. (Who would’ve ever thought that would be a key part of my stack:)
- When passionate about something (like my coaching practice) I can be driven and really persistent.
- I am extremely curious and love to learn.
I am not elite in any of these but I would like to think I am in the top 20% in these areas.
Will I ever be elite? That’s my goal. By identifying where my skills/gifts are I have a better idea of how to leverage those and therefore max out my potential.
The goal of a skill stack is to stack different skills to create a sweet spot!
I have several areas of growth that can help me be even better, namely writing, public speaking, and becoming more process-oriented. Pre-covid I was in a public speaking group called Toastmasters to improve in that area and this weekly email has given me much-needed reps.
What skills/talents do you stack?
What skills do you need to grow in to enhance your stack?
Knowing your skill stack is important because these skills are what makes you, you. Awareness of your stack will help you find your unique fingerprint.
Two things happen when you know your skill stack. One, you know what you need to be doing (role & responsibilities) and what you don’t need to be doing. When you know these two things, you will be more successful and you will be more fulfiled in your role.
Two, you know what skills need to be developed/enhanced to elevate your leadership. There can be an exponential effect of adding a skill to your unique skill stack.