Pelé or Maradona? — Probably the biggest ever debate among football lovers. The first led teams of ‘magicians’ to three World cup wins, equated the name of Brazil with football and established Brazil as the greatest ever football nation. The other won the 1986 world cup single-handed (literally, some might say). This blog builds on this timeless comparison to explore common issues in assessment for high level roles.
Pelé or Maradona? Probably the biggest ever debate among football lovers.
The first led teams of ‘magicians’ to 3 World cup wins, equated the name of Brazil with football and established Brazil as the greatest ever football nation.
The other won the 1986 world cup single-handed (literally, some might say). While all football fans refer to Brazil 1970 as the greatest ever football team with the likes of Tostao, Rivalino, Jarjinio, Gerson, and Carlos Alberto complementing the brilliance of Pelé; hardly anybody can name any Argentinean player who played alongside Maradona.
So who is greater, the team player who elevated a team to become the best team ever, or the individualistic genius, who demolished any opposition in his way with only a limited support of a mediocre and unmemorable team mates.
So – Pelé or Maradona?
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When assessing talent, we are often confronted with debuts of the same nature — which of 2 strong candidates should we recommend for filling a vacancy? Which of the 2 directors should be groomed as the next C.E.O.?
Difficult questions, but the difficulty may arise because these are the wrong questions to ask. Maybe we should ask: Can we restructure our operations to accommodate both candidates? or What set of skills would complement best the current capability we have in our business? Who is better, doesn’t help. They are both good. They will both deliver results.
Would Pelé of 1970 could have won the 1986 world cup with the mediocre Argentinean team? Would the individualistic capabilities of Maradona have complemented the magic of 1970 Brazil? We could only speculate. Nevertheless, the talent questions we focus on in business are always contextualized. We have seen too often business ‘A’ players, turning mediocre or becoming a liability once moved from one environment to another.
To avoid these issues, at ClearWater we have devised a methodology that helps to differentiate between true ‘A’ players, and one-hit wonders. Between those who are guaranteed to succeed wherever they are placed and those whose success is a case of being ‘the right person, in the right time’.