Oct 31 2023
Making the most of one's unique talent stack
By Antonette Reyes
James Alomajan Peralta Jr., a 10-year MDRT member from Makati City, the Philippines, believes that one’s specific practice of what may seem like everyday skills can be the key to accelerate on the road to exceptional career success. “I was in the airline industry for twenty years, rising from an employee offering customer support to leading the company’s marketing team. The most important skills I developed through the years are communication, organization, time management, and listening. While these may not be remarkable by themselves, combined with my background, experiences, and genuine customer service, they are components of my unique talent stack.”
The talent stack concept was coined by Scott Adams, the American author and cartoonist who captured the modern workplace’s malaise in the famous comic strip Dilbert. He believes everyone can create a unique talent stack, a combination of normal-level skills to produce something no one else has, to help anyone stand out.
Peralta shares how his talent stack helps him in dealing with prospects and clients:1. Good communication skills convey messages that make a lasting impact and build connections. “Sometimes we tend to be nervous or excited when we meet clients or stick to a rehearsed script, which results in a more generalized approach.” His communication skills allow him to connect even with demanding clients, as he can articulate his thoughts and ideas clearly, making it easier for others to understand and react to his message.
2. Organizational skills help in having a more structured day. Cultivated at home as the son of two lawyers and bolstered by his corporate background, these skills have empowered him to manage his current career well. “As a financial advisor, I still stick to my usual corporate 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. routine as I need to follow a structure to be more productive. I schedule my client meetings and my administrative and marketing work. I always aim for maximum productivity with the least friction because I am organized and prepared.”
3. Active listening enhances his empathy. In his previous career, Peralta learned to listen to passengers’ and travel agents’ stories and challenges before making recommendations. “I’ve capitalized on active listening as a financial advisor by comprehending my clients’ needs, challenges, and ambitions first and then making customized financial plans that address them. Seek to understand before being understood.”
Peralta says daily practice makes our unique talent stack more innate. “When we hone our talents, we reach a high level of proficiency and become more confident, which often leads to better results shown by tangible and intangible improvements in our personal and professional lives.”
While it may seem easy for Peralta to identify his talent stack, he advises having mentors is essential in improving those skills as well. “Seeking out mentors will increase self-awareness as they will point out our strengths and weaknesses based on their experience and wisdom. We must be more open to constructive criticism in all aspects of our lives as it will level up our game and improve productivity.”
As Peralta harnesses his talent stack, he can accommodate the evolving expectations of prospects and clients. In addition, with diverse skill sets, he can efficiently innovate and adapt to any situation. “While I have my core soft skills, which comprise my talent stack, I have other talents, such as public speaking, which allows me to meet new people who may become my clients as I often get invited to talk about finance. I’ve always been open to new experiences and say ‘Yes’ to new opportunities.”