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The Gordon E. Mercer Law of Organizational Renaissance

The Gordon E. Mercer Law of Organizational Renaissance: “When 25 percent of the people in organizations use 25 percent ‘more’ of their talents on the organization’s core mission, an organizational renaissance begins. An organizational renaissance involves the rebirth and renewal of an organization through talent and creativity in a culture that rewards and develops talent."


Franklin, NC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/26/2010 -- Have you ever noticed that the happiest among us are those who use their talents and natural gifts? Why are some organizations more effective than others and how can we encourage an organizational renaissance of talent and creativity, leading to a renewal of an organization?

Organizations decline because they are not effective in identifying employee and member talents and fully utilizing them. Often, since talent involves things uniquely easy for us, we assume it is something everyone possesses. According to personal growth expert Jerry Lopper, talents are the tasks we love doing. While doing them, we are enthusiastic and totally involved. Hobbies fall in this category, as do the talents people bring to their chosen work. If 25 percent of the employees and members in organizations use 25 percent “more” of their talents on the organization’s core mission, an organizational renaissance begins and the renaissance spreads throughout the organization.

Have you ever met someone without a skill, gift or talent? We would deem such a circumstance absolutely impossible, but as individuals, we don’t always make use of our talents. The American Management Association estimates that 75 percent of the American workforce are “disengaged.” These are workers who find their work meaningless and unfulfilling. We find this figure telling and alarming. It is difficult for one to be disengaged while using his talents. The United States has a talent crisis.

Talents are as unique as snowflakes. There are hundreds, if not many thousands, of unique skills and gifts, including: leadership skills, the ability to interpret or follow directions, musical gifts, spiritual gifts, organizational skills, interpersonal skills, inspirational skills, spatial skills, writing skills, mechanical skills, sales and business skills, science skills, craft skills, math skills, artistic talents, creative abilities, money- management skills, agriculture, cooking, teaching, manufacturing, inventing, analyzing, bookkeeping, parenting, coaching, and athletic skills. The list is long and extensive.

In order to apply the Law of Organizational and Business Renaissance, organizations need to spend more time identifying talents. It could begin as simply as having everyone in the organization or unit list her top five talents and ways in which she can apply them to increase mission effectiveness. Then, follow up and help create an environment in which talents and organizational mission are linked and rewarded. Often, barriers to talent utilization must be identified and removed. “Bottlenecks” that block talent in organizations are everywhere, and leaders need to identify and remove them.

Our skills and gifts create a better world. Why do we as individuals not always use them? We may fear criticism. Possibly, our job does not permit us to use our true gifts, and this is why organizational leaders must commit themselves to an organizational renaissance of talent. In today’s economy, we may be unable to find work at all, but as more organizational renaissances occur, jobs will be created once again.

Unfortunately, most organizations do not encourage talent; neither do they have programs to identify and develop talent. Often, the use of talent is punished in organizations. Using our talents and gifts has been the beacon of light of America, a place where immigrants came in search of freedom to use their talents. Encouraging and developing talent within an organization is a powerful concept.

Is it courage that provides the great divide between organizational leaders that identify talent and help develop talent and those who don’t? We need courage to start an organizational renaissance. Despite the risks, we are happiest when we use talents, forgetting to watch the clock and generally going about the business of our mission. We are doubly rewarded because we are doing what we want to do and enriching society.

Talent is not about disengagement; talent builds. We must reclaim our nation of opportunity. Can we afford to continue to be a disengaged nation? Possibly an old Quaker saying often attributed to Stephen Grellet says it best, “Let me not defer nor neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.” Your opportunity to create an organizational renaissance is now. You will never walk this same path again.

This column is dedicated to Western Carolina University Faculty (past and present) and Chancellor John Bardo, who is stepping down as Chancellor and returning to the faculty after leading a renaissance of talent at Western Carolina University for the past 15 years.

Gordon Mercer is international president of the Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society and a professor of political science at Western Carolina University (WCU). He holds a Ph.D. degree in organizational development, founded the Public Policy Institute at WCU in 1999, and has held the position of associate dean of research and graduate Studies at the university. Marcia Mercer is a writer and published columnist with the Franklin Press. Go to http://9955.hostednr.com to get to our Notes on Quotes Press Room. Views expressed in this column are the views of the authors and do not reflect the views of other organizations.