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Really Smart People Keep Learning

Posted Nov 17 2011 12:01am

Is that just too obvious to you?

The impact on organizations is huge and, I think, grossly underestimated.

Hiring "smart people" often consists of hiring recent grads with high grade point averages or candidates with related experience.

Learning My consistent observation within organizations is that this is only a fraction of what's needed--and frequently meaningless.

More and more, especially with ongoing change, the path to performance is learning. But there is a cry continuing to be heard in board rooms and hallways: "But (name) is so smart. Why can't (s)he get what we're doing?

The answer lies in willingness and ability on a person's part to:

1. Recognize that something new requires learning

2. Understand that "new" means it's time to learn again

3. Suspend judgment and try  a different way of doing things

This isn't an issue of IQ. It's an issue of EQ.

When I created the tag line "Teaching Smart People Practical Ways to Become Extraordinary", the response from clients and colleagues was positive. The question that does pop up is : How do you decide who is smart and who isn't?

The answer: I don't know who will fit into that category until I start working with  an individual or an organization. When facing a challenge or simply wanting to grow, those who are willing to make the necessary changes look awfully smart to me. And it's the willingness to learn that defines "smart".

Under the same circumstances, those who dig in and make excuses for why they shouldn't at least give it a try fall into the opposite category.

Would your organization be willing to define "smart" in a similar way?

Bonus:  Mary Jo Asmus lays out a key leadership skill that will make a difference in your career, regardless of your position in the organization. Check out  The Key Missing Piece

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