Saturday, May 1, 2010

One important key to success is self confidence. An important key to self confidence is preparation.

While reading Malcolm Gladwell's "What The Dog Saw", I came upon a chapter about talent called "The Talent Myth". It talked about how the best companies at different times over the past 10-15 years, including Enron, were OBSESSED with finding talent and letting their "rockstars" do their thing. Malcolm brought up a great point asking what is talent and do we really want EVERYONE we work with to be the most talented?

I would think not. It talks about how the company most obsessed with finding top business school students from the top MBA programs and letting them do as they please, was Enron. Obviously, this did not work out for them. I'm not saying that smart people are overrated, but I think that just because someone is not the brightest in a classroom, does not mean they will not be the best, hardworking employee a company will ever have.

What does getting all-star grades in a classroom even really suggest? I understand that learning is important, and did well in school myself but there are many reasons for this. I think that companies should be looking for real-world experience and how someone uses what they learn and translates it to the job. It is one thing to get an A+ on a marketing test, and a completely different thing to run an entire division of a company.

I think we need to look past grades sometimes, not throw them out completely because learning is important, but start looking for people with tacit knowledge as well. You want a person who can work hard, try hard, and give you results. I'm just saying it isn't always the top student from the MBA program who will do this, but the average student from a public university who knows they need to work harder and shine brighter so that they're noticed.