IMAGINE that you are a sports coach and you need a new player on the team. Would you walk up to someone in the street and say: "I want you to come and play for my team. I'll train you to become the best player in the country"?

It sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn't it?

What you would probably do is to watch players in other teams. Or you might decide to find some young player whom you could develop for your team. So, you would spend some time looking for players in schools and colleges.

What are you looking for when you watch these young people or more established players? Is it experience of the game or perhaps an all-round knowledge of how it should be played or even just a good all-round player? All of these would be good to have but what you are really looking for is talent!

You're looking for that gift or flair or capacity to achieve your outcomes. If you are looking for a goal-keeper, then you are looking for someone with that extra something that keeps the opposition from scoring.

Whether you're looking for a striker, a midfielder or a defender, it is the same story - you're looking for talent.

It doesn't really matter how long a person has been a player or whether he has a great knowledge of the game - you just need him to produce results.

It is no different when you are picking someone new for your team: You are looking for talent. And it is a different talent for every job. It could be:

* The talent to strip down an engine and rebuild it in record time,

* The talent to make other people feel at ease,

* The talent to produce reports that are clear and easy to read, or

* The talent to persuade people to buy your product or service.

Be absolutely clear what you need this person to do. Keep in the forefront of your mind the results that you will ultimately judge him on.

Doing their best

It is important that the person you employ is happy in his new job. Think for a moment about something you are good at, or a talent that you have, or something you can do better than lots of people.

Do you enjoy doing whatever it is and does it make you happy? I'm sure it does.

When people use their talent in their job - that is, doing what they do best - it makes them happy. It also makes the customer and the boss happy, and it makes the employee more productive.

The reality is a little different. The Gallup Organisation did some research by asking millions of employees from countries throughout the world to respond to this statement: "At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day."

The results were disturbing. Only 30 per cent of employees were able to reply in the affirmative. And it is extremely unlikely that the remaining 70 per cent will achieve world-class performance.

If you want success in your business and in your team, pick people for what they do best, what they have a talent for.

Work with your human resource department to find out how you can attract and recruit the best people for your team.