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THE MOST IMPORTANT TALENT QUESTION IS: "Would You Trust This Person To Represent You?"

There's a lot of ways you can measure talent.  Do they have the KSAs - knowledge, skills and abilities - to do the job?  Are the behavioral markers that drive them personally and professionally a match for the job, your management style and the culture of your company?  No doubt you could add to this list with some of your favorites, right?

But the biggest talent question of all - the one that separates the players from the pretenders - is this:

Would you send this person to represent you - to a key client, to your CEO - and trust that regardless of experience level, they would make a great impression and not hurt you?

That question is bigger than you might think. You know some great professionals, people who do a great job.  But would you trust them to represent you when it really mattered?  When risk is the highest?

The list should be relatively small. 

As crazy as it sounds, some people don't ask this question when the stakes are high.  Let's say you're getting ready for the ole' King Tut repair project and you don't have time to do it yourself.  Who gets that job?  I use that example because someone recently send a girl/boy to do a woman/man's job. More from CNN:

"Eight museum employees will be charged with negligence after a botched reattachment of the beard on King Tutankhamun's mask, Egyptian authorities said.

King Tut's burial mask is displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and is considered a valuable artifact from ancient history.  There have been differing accounts of how the mask's blue-and-gold braided beard broke off since its damage came to light in 2014.  

At the time, a museum conservator said the beard detached when the mask accidentally fell during cleaning. It was quickly reattached with a strong adhesive, but the glue left a gap between the face and the beard, the conservator said.

Others said the beard loosened with age.

Museum officials dismissed the claims when they emerged, saying reports of the mask's damage were unfounded.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into the damage last year, saying workers did not follow protocol during restoration.

"The (museum) officials dealt recklessly with a piece of an artifact that is 3,300 years old, produced by one of the oldest civilizations in the world," the Administrative Prosecution said Saturday in a statement to state-run Ahram Online.

Prosecutors said the eight people who will be charged are six restorers and two former heads of the restoration section at the museum."

WTF? It's KING TUT People

King Tut.  Kind of a big deal. Maybe the hourly employee who tried to organize a union last year at the museum wasn't the right person to deal with that.  Superglue is always the answer for that person.  Maybe the administrator who actively talks about the fact he's got 3 more years before full retirement isn't the right one to run the project.

Whoever held overall responsibility - not named by the prosecutors, by the way - didn't ask the big question. 

Would you send this person to represent you - to a key client, to your CEO - and trust that regardless of experience level, they would make a great impression and not hurt you?

You should ask that question more than you do when assigning important work. And the list you come up with?  It should be small.

BONUS - Steve Martin performs his "King Tut" song in video below (email subscribers click through for video).

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