There was a season in my life that I used to accompany one of the leading corporate trainers in Uganda for training sessions in different organizations. In each of those moments, we always played the “Skill vs Attitude” game that I would like you to play today also.
Imagine that you are the CEO of a massive company and you are recruiting. You are looking for let’s say, the General Manager of the company. What attributes would you be looking for? Enumerate as many of these attributes as possible. Together with the help of your friends, come up with as many as 15 of these attributes.
Secondly, review each attribute and decide whether it is a Skill learnt from school or any other training or whether it is an attitude. Finally, tally the votes and find which attributes are more than the other. Is it Skill or is it Attitude?
The Greatest Agony of Employers
Several weeks ago, I was privileged to be part of a team that organized an “Education Meet up” in Kampala. One of the things that came up out of the meet up was the big complaint that employers have of the many graduates that are coming up out of universities each year. I have also talked to several HR personnel in different organizations and they do agree of the phenomenon.
Many organizations agonize and spend time and money looking for the “right fit” of workers to fill their vacancies. On the other hand, many job seekers spend lots of their precious time “looking for jobs”. Again and again, we keep hearing these words, “There are no jobs”. In Uganda alone, and in Makerere University alone, each year over 30,000 young men and women graduate. What happens to them? What happens to you immediately after you have graduated?
The fact is that for those who are taking time to develop their attitudes will stand a greater chance in life as compared to those who are only depending on their academic papers. As a Life Coach, I encounter many young graduates who would love to access my Coaching Services. Unfortunately, their parents won’t pay for them because according to them, they have finished the burden of schooling them. The parents are banking more on the academic papers for the success of their children. It is a Skill Vs Attitude Game. If you played the game above, you will notice that Attitude is what takes the day.
This Actually Happened
Let me illustrate that by the following true story. In the year 2010, after realizing that the team I was leading was vacillating over a decision we took as a company to work for a different client on the same type of project, I fired all of them at once. As an employer, the greatest gift that your team can give you is an absolute “buy in” to what you are doing. These people lacked it for they wished that we would keep working for the previous client. I sent them packing and assembled another new team in a space of two weeks. It was a daunting task.
Of the new team I assembled, I went against the grain and appointed two “scrappers”. A scrapper is someone who does not have the academic papers, but they have applied themselves, taught themselves and have a massive “can do” attitude. They owe their life to their attitudes and not their academic papers.
Now, not everybody knew that these two lacked the academic papers. It was only I and a few leaders I had around me. Yet, the rest of the team spotted in these two scrappers what I already had seen. These two blessed individuals could be counted on. They went an extra mile. They were great learners and great implementers of directives. Of course this is not surprising of people who have “self-taught” themselves in life.
What surprised me however is what happened 6 months down the line. I was not in the picture as I had to pull out of the contract that I had with this client. The client of course had to inherit my team members lest the project came to a standstill. So this client started a process of cost cutting by trimming this 40-plus team to a lean one. As fate would have it, they were left with only two individuals.
The Moral of the Story
These two were promoted and given greater regions to handle than what I had allocated them earlier. They were now leading teams. Guess who these two were? “The scrappers”. Once again, attitude had won over papers.
Your take out today is this: Your Academic Papers are not the foolproof weapon that will guarantee you a job. These days, many an employer has been greatly disappointed by a host of people with impeccable academic papers (skills), who were not able to dispense their duties because of lack of the respective attitude.
Enter Personal Development
But where do we get the attitude from? It turns out that attitudes are self-developed. You cannot teach someone to be self-motivated. They have to teach themselves. The following activities will help you improve your attitude levels:
- Reading Inspirational and Instructional Material: You saw it coming. Studying never ends with graduation. Graduation actually gives you the powers to go study. So do it.
- Rigorous Physical Regimen: We already talked about this in a previous post. Do it.
- Extensive Personal Planning and Goal Setting: This is the master skill of success.
- Volunteering: Find somewhere where your help can be counted on and get involved.
- Pursuit of Personal Projects: Many people call this “Startups”. You need to be bold enough to implement one of your crazy ideas…and even if you fail, you actually did learn quite a lot. I would be very thrilled of a CV that shows attempts and failures than that that only shows academic prowess.
Over to you now.