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Maximise The 4 Talent Types For Team Results - Part 2

Wednesday 14 February, 2007
by Faith Ralston
In the article Maximise The 4 Talent Types For Team Results - Part 1 we examined the talent types Diamond and Club. This article continues with Spade and Heart talents.

The Spade talent

Spade TalentsSpade talents are implementors. A Spade talent likes to organise and take charge. The Spade talent literally ‘digs in' and gets things done. A Spade talent will manage the details and make sure the project is completed on time and within budget. Without the tireless efforts of Spade talents, deadlines and details are frequently missed.

Spade talents love to tackle projects and get them done. Spade talents drive projects across the finish line. They take action and move things forward. Spade talents are the backbone of strategic execution.

Individuals with Spade talents often manage, run, and improve core processes and systems.  They orchestrate both large and small actions needed to ensure progress. Spades remove barriers to performance, organise the work that needs to be done, and make sure all the ‘i's are dotted and the t's are crossed'.

Spade talents

With their persistent efforts and attention to detail, Spade talents ensure results.

Essentially, Spade talents like to:                     

  • Complete projects
  • Manage and improve processes
  • Define and clarify actions needed
  • Meet deadlines
  • Handle the details

Spades talents are outcome driven. They want to know the goals, deadlines, and what's expected of them. They are task-orientated and dedicated. For Spades, reaching the goal is their raison d'etre. Spades are ‘no-nonsense' individuals who loathe inefficiency. They are frustrated by delays and wasted effort. They dislike doing something twice when once should be sufficient. They like to have expectations in writing so the specifics are clear.

Spade challenges

Too many loose ends and chaos are disconcerting for a Spade. Spade talents can become enmeshed in too many details and frustrated when problems aren't resolved. Often the Spade talent assumes too much responsibility. They get caught up in the crisis de jour and entwined in details. As they seek to control things even more, their efforts can backfire or rub colleagues the wrong way.

Spade talents hate it when interpersonal glitches interrupt progress. They like to get things done and see relationship tensions as unnecessary distractions. Spades are focused on the immediate goals and what's essential to complete a project. They may not see the forest for the trees.

Involve Spades more when the blue-sky brainstorming phase is over.  For Spades, too much brainstorming and ideation are tedious. A Spade will say, "Just tell me what you want me to do". Spades love managing the details and making sure projects are on track.

When a Spade talent has a clear goal, knows their role and what is expected - they will make it happen. Spade talents are found at every level in the organisation. The Spade does not engage in idle chitchat. They want agendas and documented reports. Spades will leave no stone unturned, or detail untended to get the results they want.

Expect Spade talents to ask the tough questions that no one else brings to the table. Don't be put off by the Spade's ability to see what's wrong and recognise potential pitfalls that might hinder the project. Recognise and acknowledge their heroic efforts to complete projects on time and within budget.

Spade organisations

Retail organisations are dominated by Spade talents. Nordstrom's and Macy's are wonderful examples of two value-driven, Spade organisations.  At the retail level, details and customer service are extremely important in these two Spade-driven organisations.

Success is all about follow through. The devil is in the detail. The sales personnel go out of their way to follow up, advise, find a replacement if needed, and ship products to customer's homes. Sales personnel are empowered but also given specific Spade-friendly guidelines to follow. In these stores, the extra time and attention customers receive in finding just the right item - with minimum hassle - is an example of a Spade organisation in action.

The Heart talent

Heart TalentsHeart talents are motivators. Heart talents like to motivate others and gain commitment. They deal with ‘matters of the heart'.  Low morale, mistrust, and team conflicts are their domain. Heart talents help people work collaboratively and build high trust relationships. Without the caring attention of Heart talents, employee enthusiasm and morale can plummet.

Heart talents are the glue that make projects and relationships work. Heart talents keep relationships running smoothly, team spirit high, and commitment strong. The Heart talent is noticed most when it's missing. If your team or department is lacking these qualities, enlist a Heart talent individual to help you. Individuals with Heart talent pay special attention to teamwork and employee morale. They tune into others needs and concerns.

Heart talents have a keen sense of people's needs and can get to the heart of an issue. They are experts at listening, coaching, communicating, and facilitating. Heart talents like to connect, communicate, and inspire others to do their best.

Heart talents

The Heart talent is highly intuitive and sensitive to other's emotions. They know when relationships are tense and headed towards conflicts. They are excellent communicators and like to build trust and employee morale. Heart talents enjoy developing others talents and expressing appreciation.

Essentially Heart talents like to:              

  • Gain commitment
  • Build trust and teamwork
  • Resolve conflict
  • Listen and advise
  • Influence others

Without Heart talents, employee morale and trust can drop to an all-time low. High turnover, mistrust, and turf wars indicate that Heart talents are missing.

Heart strengths

Heart talents build and promote successful relationships. They are sensitive to organisational dynamics and interpersonal tensions. Hearts help others understand why a decision or change is needed. They infuse others with positive enthusiasm and energy. They also promote the buy-in and commitment so essential for success.

A Heart talent has many allies, friends, and acquaintances. Hearts talents like to connect so they are out and about interacting and observing what's going on. They are often talking, persuading, motivating, and inspiring others. Heart talents enjoy lively meetings with colleagues and connecting in meaningful ways. 

Heart talents quickly sense when there's tension in the air. In meetings, they will ask questions that surface underlying tensions. All the while, they strive to bring harmony and clarity to the group.

Heart challenges

Heart talents can assume too much responsibility for the burdens of others. They feel all the dynamics going on among individuals. Others frequently come to them with their problems and concerns. Heart types can become overwhelmed when confronted with more issues than they can feasibly handle.  The Heart talent loves to care about others.

However, Heart talents need to care for themselves first and avoid internalising the interpersonal dynamics going on around them. Heart talents find it hard to draw the line, set clear limits, and let go of people and situations beyond their control. They prefer to be of service when and where their talents are needed. Heart talents may need to set boundaries and stop trying to be all things to all people. Saying ‘no' more frequently is a positive step for the Heart talent.

Wise Heart talents know how to protect themselves from others who will drag them down. They realise that disbursing their care in too many directions causes burn out. They avoid spending time or worrying about situations beyond their control. Heart talents benefit from the Club talents clear vision. They are energised by the Diamond's creative mind and grounded by the practical realism of a Spade talent.

Heart organisations

Whole Foods Market is a Heart-focused organisation. Their vision goes far beyond the normal food retailer. Whole Foods Market is committed to creating a collaborative and interdependent community. They want their vendors, employees, and customers to be part of this community and encourage participants to communicate openly and with compassion.

They celebrate the ‘breaking of bread' together and believe that eating healthy food is a source of joy in life. This amazing food chain has astonished the marketplace with its exponential growth. Even the store is a community-gathering place where everyone is welcome. 

Heart talents must set boundaries and clarify what they can expect from themselves and others. Beware of burn out and talk about your concerns to alleviate stress. Heart talents benefit from receiving their own medicine. This talent type wants to be appreciated for their efforts to build solid relationships within the organisation.

Related articles:

Maximising The 4 Talent Types For Team Results - Part 1

Maximising The 4 Talent Types For Team Results - Part 3

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