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Sign of the Times…

I was in a California high school journalism classroom recently, in which the school paper was assembled by editorial teams that produced the paper using collaborative software. It was interesting to me to see how software is used at the high school level. What caught my eye, however, was a large banner over the blackboard (not whiteboard) at the front of the class. The banner read, “For Success, ATTITUDE is as important as ABILITY.” So true…. Although the intent was no doubt to show students that “attitude” is very important, my first thoughts were, “so *that* explains the large collection of *successful incompetent* people with ATTITUDES!” :-)

It would be nice to see the motto reversed, for ABILITY to be as important as ATTITUDE, for Success. However, I think that they got it right, and I think that the motto as worded in that classroom explains a lot of the problems that we see as the result of bad decisions in business (and government, and elsewhere), made by people with ATTITUDE, but without much ABILITY. I can speak only from my own experiences in high tech (and I could give you numerous specific examples), but I strongly suspect that the problem is pervasive.

The most encouraging sign that I see is that a majority of American businesses can be classed as small- and medium-sized businesses, in which change is possible. The personality cloning that occurs in larger corporations pretty well excludes a remedy. In fact, the “group-thinking” in most large businesses leads to denial that there is a problem. Perhaps another part of the solution also needs to arise in the schools – a solution that emphasizes ABILITY as much as ATTITUDE.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo

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