ehowton (ehowton) wrote,

Righteous Vilification

Concerning Dr. House, MD as a role model I had made the statement several years back that attitude was as important as skill. Unfortunately, the person I was speaking to entirely missed the point making the comparison that no one can walk in, off the street, without credentials, and be hired as a surgeon, for example.

The only current tech news I read these days is, LinkdIn's "Top 5 things you need to know in the news this week" which arrives each Monday morning. For those of you who remember my self-appraisal this past year, management concurred with my analysis but I didn't know why. I assume they agreed with me. Nonetheless, I was surprised to find this in my inbox Monday, from Hire for Attitude:

Virtually every job (from neurosurgeon to engineer to cashier) has tests that can assess technical proficiency. But what those tests don’t assess is attitude; whether a candidate is motivated to learn new skills, think innovatively, cope with failure, assimilate feedback and coaching, collaborate with teammates, and so forth.

Soft skills are the capabilities that attitude can enhance or undermine. For example, a newly hired executive may have the intelligence, business experience and financial acumen to fit well in a new role. But if that same executive has an authoritarian, hard-driving style, and they’re being hired into a social culture where happiness and camaraderie are paramount, that combination is unlikely to work. Additionally, many training programs have demonstrated success with increasing and improving skills—especially on the technical side. But these same programs are notoriously weak when it comes to creating attitudinal change. As Herb Kelleher, former Southwest Airlines CEO used to say, “we can change skill levels through training, but we can’t change attitude.”

The first time I heard that quote was from my own boss, drp back in 99. Made a lot of sense to the younger me. Over the years, I proved it to be an accurate statement. When I explained this to the person who used Dr. House, MD as a role-model, you'd think my obvious success and empiricism would've been proof enough. You would be wrong. "Nuh-uh," he said.

In last week's "Top 5" we had the highly motivational How to Be Happy at Work which can be summarized thusly, "Happiness and unhappiness (in work and in life) result entirely from the rules in your head that you use to evaluate events. Those rules determine what's worth focusing on, and how you react to what you focus on. Many people have rules that make it very difficult for them to happy and very easy for them to be miserable."

Some people think its weird that I actively seek out that which could destroy me and yet the first step in being happy at work is to answer the following two questions:

What has to happen for me to be happy?
What has to happen for me to be unhappy?

"Now examine those rules. Have you made it easier to miserable than to be happy? If so, your plan is probably working." This is a game I have been playing for many years and I am quite adept at it. For something different, rather that tell me why you disagree - try it. Try it and prove that it works. Don't try to disprove it, for you're already succeeding at that.

And my Dr. House, MD friend? Moving up in the world. Learning his own lessons. No shortcuts for that one, he's going to do it on his own, and there's nothing wrong with that either. Sometimes to better understand a lesson, one has to experience that lesson. To each his Dulcinea.

Tags: happiness, work

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