In our modern business landscape, the war for talent is more complex than ever. Leaders need to attract and retain the best talent for their organization to win, but without the right strategy or mindset, they won’t be able to compete. If their revenue is declining, they’re losing market share to your competition, or their organizational health is deteriorating, it’s past time for leaders to evolve how they approach this never-ending war. After all, it’s PEOPLE—not a product or service—that are an organization’s strongest competitive advantage.

Published with permission from the author.

Mike Sarraille and George Randle wrote The Talent War to explore how US Special Operations Forces (SOF) assess, select, and develop their world-class talent. Readers will learn how to adopt a talent mindset, the single greatest weapon they can possess in the war for talent. When their organization reflects this mindset, they will hire, train, and develop the right people, and put them in the best positions to make decisions that allow the organization to retake the advantage and win the war. I recently caught up with George to learn what inspired Michael and him to write the book, their favorite idea in it, and how that idea has shaped their work.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

It really was a combination of things that seemed to come together, much like Mike and I did, in a serendipitous way. We both have a passion for talent, and in both the military and the business world, our lives and careers depend upon that very talent.

We have both seen and experienced the mistakes and the extreme consequences by getting talent selection and assessment wrong and we are committed to teaching, coaching and leading so others can do better and help improve their companies.

Lastly, it’s never been about us—it’s about continuing to serve and contribute to what we think is the most powerful and vital force in the world today: the U.S. economy.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

There are so many critical elements to securing or defining a TALENT MINDSET, but a few things are absolutely critical. First, hire for character, train for skill. Character defines and predicts success, don’t over index on experience as every environment is different and the speed of change in today’s markets requires you to focus on attributes that define success.

Second, treat your human capital with the same importance as you do your financial capital because, third, TALENT is the only true competitive advantage you can maintain.

Published with permission from the author.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

In our entire careers, shaped by the world’s greatest leadership incubator, the US military, selecting, coaching, training and leading has been our passion—as well as protecting this great nation. We’ve always known that “humans are more important than hardware” and we’ve put every bit of who we are into being the best we can be as individuals, leading by example and living and abiding by the principles we wrote about. It isn’t as much about how we apply the principles current day, but most of these are the beliefs we always had.