I admit to being a sucker for those YouTube videos that show extraordinary talent emerging from a nondescript individual whose appearance would have you believe that his or her performance is going to be a disaster. The judges’ expressions clearly cannot hide their skeptical first impressions.

Then we are exposed to this magnificent voice that leaves us in wonder, we recriminate ourselves for being so judgmental, and ultimately applaud both the individual’s talent and courage.

There are gifted people in every arena of life and exceptional talent is more abundant than is generally appreciated. Talent, however, needs first to be recognized and then nurtured and nourished. Great leaders and coaches understand this and that is how high performing companies and teams get built.

When a leader is held in high regard, when their personal brand is strong and positive, common feedback from members of their team can be summed up in these words: “My leader helped me to appreciate that I had much greater potential and ability than I was willing to give myself credit. I was taken to a whole new level of possibility for my career and life.”

Talent is often not obvious because many people don’t recognize it within themselves. Their education was not one that sought to draw out their individual gifts or potential, yet I would argue that is the purpose of education. The famous inventor, Buckminster Fuller stated: “All children are born geniuses and we spend the first six years of their lives degeniusing them.”

So here is a meaningful commitment that could take your team to whole new level of exceptional performance. Make it a goal to learn something about each person that you never knew before and which makes them special. Make it a priority to view every individual through a lens that focuses on their unique gifts and talents.

At TransForm, we often do something similar as an “ice-breaker” exercise at the beginning of a leadership or team-building experience. Even with established groups who have had substantial experience of working together, they often know so little about each others' uniqueness.

At first it may “appear” this newly revealed talent may not be relevant or have application in the workplace. Do not rush to judgment however. Be creative and think outside of the box of what this person has been doing and how they have been doing it. Discuss with the individual innovative ways for how this newly revealed talent could be applied.

Now follow this process with all members of your team and you will discover fresh new insights for raising individual and team performance.

People perform at their best when contributing their gifts and talents to something they believe in.

From EVEN EAGLES NEED A PUSH, is available here.