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“Bob Burg is the greatest teacher of networking in the world ”

~ John Milton Fogg, author, The Greatest Networker in the World

The Talent Add-On So Often Missed

March 18th, 2014 by Bob Burg

“There are young singers who have amazing natural talent. But they haven’t learned the skills necessary to take it to the next level.”

This was shared at our recent MasterMind session by a special guest invited by our host and Morning Coach Founder, JB Glossinger.

Matt KramerThis man certainly knows from whence he speaks. As the lead singer of the immensely popular 90’s hard rock band, Saigon Kick, Matt Kramer was not only a great showman from stage, he was also a student of the art, especially as it pertained to voice.

He is also a second-generation performer, as well as second generation voice coach.

What he showed us regarding the voice, how it actually works, and how it can be utilized more effectively was nothing short of phenomenal.

However, it was his quote above which inspired this post.

While there are singers who fall into this trap, so do those in many fields and professions. One may have an abundance of talent in a specific area. However, because that talent brought them a certain level of success, they either are not aware of the need to learn more, or are simply not willing to. That will stop them at a point far less than their potential.

Marshall Goldsmith nailed this concept beautifully in his classic for business leaders, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. Though referring to character traits rather than skills, his premise was that so often a person progresses to a certain position in their company due to natural talent. At times, even despite certain faults and flaws. They might even believe they got to their current position because of those faults and flaws when actually it was in spite of them. Their talent legitimately brought them to a certain level of success.

However, it won’t get them any further. For that to happen, they must be open to learning that which goes beyond talent.

Yes, it takes work, commitment, and many hours of deliberate practice. But, it begins with understanding that the talent itself will take you only so far. Learned skills must be added.

Only then, will they advance to new levels of success.

21 Responses to “The Talent Add-On So Often Missed”
  1. Dondi Scumaci said at 8:55 am on

    I’ve read this one a few times. Compelling and for me encouraging.

    I am on a huge learning curve right now (adding a new skill) and yesterday I ended feeling frustrated. Felt like one step forward, two back. This post encouraged my heart. Going to the next level does require commitment, persistence and courage. Even the courage to look a little foolish and to have a thousand questions. It also means learning through some disappointment and frustration.

    Thank you Bob! Getting back on the horse. (Literally)

  2. Bob Burg said at 9:35 am on

    Dondi: Thank you, my dear friend. The funny thing about this (though, it totally makes sense) is that you are one of the most hard-working people I know, and one who is ALWAYS working at improving yourself and learning more. And, it’s always those people who are both hardest on themselves and take that kind of message to heart. You are amazing, my awesome friend and valued mentor!!

  3. Pauline said at 9:56 am on

    Ooooh – ouch! (In a good way 😉 )

    Excellent article and a point that I’ve heard before in the arena of performance and art, but one I hadn’t really thought of in terms of business. But absolutely relevant (and a bit like one of those long hard looks in the mirror).

    Thanks for a thoughtful piece this morning.

  4. Bob Burg said at 10:28 am on

    Pauline: Thank you. I appreciate your kind feedback. I think most of us did a double-take in the mirror as it’s something we always need to keep in mind and make sure we’re still in learning mode!

  5. Doug Wagner said at 10:38 am on

    Hi Bob, great post. I’ve understood this one for quite a while. My observation is that a very small percentage of people actually embrace it.

    Personally, I find it is easier to embrace the learning and practice for a skill than to self-reflect (with or without a coach or mentor) and find those parts of your habits (and they are) that we attribute to “the way we are or authentic self” that hold us back… and work on them.

    P.S. Way to go Dondi on continuing to learn. Love horses too.

  6. Phil Brakefield said at 11:16 am on

    That is a great post!

    It brought me up short and took me in all kinds of directions, not so much because of my normal semi-ADD-attention-of-a-bear-cub proclivities, but because it resonates on so many levels.

    It made me think of all the young talents who have soared so high and so quickly during my lifetime and then tragically flamed out. Were they perhaps (horrible things like drug addiction and mental illness aside) beginning to recognize that to keep on the ascension route they were going to have to depend more than the “gift(s)” they were born with and start to REALLY work? Maybe they just didn’t want to work. Or maybe got disheartened because what had worked so easily as their star rose was beginning to lose its luster and crack around the edges.

    Or, even more tragically, maybe they just never “got it”…that to get better requires work.

    Whatever the case, one can’t help but wonder in what ways the world might be different and better if the likes of John Belushi, Jimi Hendrix, James Dean, Richard Farina, Janis Joplin, River Phoenix and on and on had lived to understand the concept of the commitment to a dedicated work ethic that would deliver them to the highest possible level of serving.

  7. Steve Boyett said at 11:28 am on

    Thanks for sharing this! Something I needed to read and apply.

  8. Bob Burg said at 12:34 pm on

    Doug: Thank you for your thoughts and comments. Very wise and insightful, as always!

  9. Bob Burg said at 12:46 pm on

    Phil: Thank you. What a great point about the young phenoms who flame out. Hadn’t thought of that but could very well be the case. Perhaps it came so easy to them that they didn’t want to put in the work; were intimidated by it, didn’t feel it necessary, etc. And, the pressure of having to be better and better eventually got the best of them. While it may or may not be the case for some, it might very well have been for others. Certainly adds a whole other dimension to the conversation. Thank you!

  10. Bob Burg said at 12:47 pm on

    Steve: Thank YOU!

  11. Lene Jytte Hansen said at 1:42 pm on

    GREAT point!!!!!! You are absolutely right – talent alone is not enough!!!! It’s a bit like going for the perfect and then never really get started – missing out on the foundation to “carry” the talent missing out on the heartbeat that gives talent life – LOVE it Bob!!!!!!!!!! LOVE what Dondi writes too, seems like we have the same thoughts about this just written or described differently 🙂 THIS is the reason I and my previous business partner failed HUGELY – not lack of talent, but unwillingness to learn or do what it takes to lift that talent – Thanks Bob, this has touched me deeply and for the first time I got it defined – thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  12. Bob Burg said at 1:52 pm on

    Lene: I appreciate your always-kind and thoughtful feedback, my friend. Thank you! 🙂

  13. Dondi Scumaci said at 3:54 pm on

    Thank you for those kind words my friend! I appreciate you! GREAT discussion here.

  14. Dondi Scumaci said at 3:56 pm on

    🙂 🙂 🙂 Lene!

  15. Bob,

    As a professional musician, I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m going to share this with my Twitter followers.

    Thank you!

    Mike Veny

  16. Bob Burg said at 8:31 pm on

    Mike: Thank you. So glad you enjoyed it! I appreciate you sharing it on Twitter!

  17. James Divine said at 11:51 am on


    I see this ALL the time as a high school band teacher. So many people are nowhere near theor potential. I continue to perform and speak. In my How To Make It In The Music Business seminar, I share about how there are many saxophonists better than me who gig less than me, mainly because of lack of persistence.

    Thanks for all you do buddy!


  18. Bob Burg said at 11:56 am on

    James: I can imagine that is so very true. The talent alone will only take one so far. The person who is willing to learn, to grow, and to put in the hours of practice will practically always exceed the person who has “only” talent. Thank you for your insight!

  19. Joe Filipowicz said at 1:28 pm on

    Love this Bob. And very timely for me as well. I’ve taken on a new endeavor in recent months that, at times, can frustrate me greatly. However, I can take solace in the fact that the frustration is due to all of the new skills I am honing. I became complacent in my previous venture because I found myself on the flat part of the learning curve. There was no more to learn. Where I am now is infinitely better fro my growth, as hard as it can be sometimes.

  20. Bob Burg said at 1:38 pm on

    Joe: Thank you for sharing that with us. Best wishes for great success in your new endeavor. Enjoy the learning process! 🙂

  21. […] “A person may have an abundance of talent in a specific area.[…such as Meeting & Event Management] However, because that talent brought them a certain level of success, they either are not aware of the need to learn more, or are simply not willing to. That will stop them at a point far less than their potential.” – Read Bob Burg’s full post http://www.burg.com/2014/03/the-talent-add-on-so-often-missed/ […]

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