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You Do Not Know Great Talent When You See It


Alexandra Marvar,

As of 2013, more than 94% of senior executives in commercial real estate companies were white.

Science has revealed all kinds of reasons for disproportionate white, male homogeny in corporate upper management. One reason: Leaders may be mistaking unconscious bias for an intuitive ability to evaluate people.

“There’s a belief among many managers — an extraordinarily outdated belief but still a shockingly common one — ‘I know great talent when I see it,'” talent software company OutMatch CEO Greg Moran said. “But you don’t.

“This idea that you can know great talent when you see it — it’s never been true, and it’s less true today than it’s ever been.

“As familiar and die-hard as this upper management adage may be, study after study confirms what draws someone to a person that seems like a great candidate or great leader may not be any sort of psychic hunch at all: As humans, we simply tend to like people who are similar to us.

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