What if you aren’t talented and smart?
If you aren’t talented:
- Build strategic relationships rather than working on your own.
- Solve the frustrations of others.
- Develop a reputation as a finisher.
- Follow your passion. “Passion trumps everything,” Gary V.
- Succeed at tasks others don’t want.
If you aren’t smart:
- Help others solve their own problems rather than offering solutions.
- Put others in the spotlight rather than seeking glory.
- Listen more, talk less.
- Ask, “How can I help?”
- Express compassion.
Here’s another advantage of lacking talent and brains. You don’t intimidate others. That means they’re more likely to welcome you into their world. You have opportunity for powerful, positive influence. That makes you a leader.
Don’t overestimate the power of talent and brains. We all know individuals with talent and brains that are under-employed or spinning their wheels.
You don’t need smarts and talent to do the 10 things I listed. However, you’ll seem smart and talented if you do them.
What’s more important than talent and brains?
Actually, these are steps that one should follow even if they are smart and talented.
Well said Casey, thx
I love this post!
It highlights the importance of working effectively with others. So often, folks don’t think to invest time and energy into making others look good and doing the gritty behind-the-scenes tasks.
You can earn a reputation as an amazing colleague to work with – if you just pay attention to the people and the projects.
Thanks for this post!
It’s always fun to receive an affirming comment. Thank you…
Plus, thanks for driving home such an important idea… pay attention to people and projects… make others look good.
Very insightful Dan. It reminds me of the time someone told me one of my team members was not going to be able to perform to the level I was expecting because they weren’t that bright.
I knew it was complete B.S. because as long as this person wanted to, I would work with them until they did ‘get it’. And that’s exactly what happened. They became one of the most stable, reliable performers on the team, someone I could always rely upon to produce results.
People are amazing – always. I believe ‘leaders’ don’t have enough patience for people.
Thanks for the great insight.
It’s always useful to hear a story that lifts our thinking to embrace important truths… thanks for sharing!
I was told by my immediate supervisor that his supervisor believed I was not bright enough to do the job. He never said he agreed but I know he did.
I will be the leader he wasn’t and one day I will have the mentor you betray on your post.
Knowledge is more important than talent and brains. And application of knowledge is even more important than knowledge itself. I think when the person is not talented, he should strengthen his fundamentals and basics. It is seen that talent comes from strong basic knowledge. You you are weak at fundamental, even your smartness disppears. So, smartness comes only when you are talented and talent comes when you have strong at basics. I believe smartness is nothing but a self perception. If you think, you are smart, you are and if you think you are not smart,you are not. So, one should feel it, express it. Smartness does not come with external appearance. It does not come with connection or relation but it comes with strong knowledge, simplicity and humility. And this smartness lasts long.
I agree that when person is not smart, he should create passion. I also believe that smartness comes with connectivity with your purpose. The person with passionate purpose is smart because he is so focussed in his goal that he does not have time to think what others think about him. When we expect others to notive us we actually lose smartness. So, to be really smart, connect with purpose, believe in you and do not expect others to aknowledge you.
Here’s my own personal golden take-away from your comment:
“To be really smart connect with purpose…”
Powerful idea, thank you.
Best to you,
Ajay is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read his bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/ajay-gupta
Smarts and talent are relative. And “having” either can represent nebulous ideals that mean different things to different people. I know geniuses who never amounted to anything. If hard work, real effort and accomplishments, not to mention heart, are in the focus, the rest works out.
Thanks for driving home important ideas… I’m thankful you regularly participate in the conversation.
Julia is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read her bio at: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/julia
Really enjoy your ability to take overwhelming concerns and provide simple steps to overcome them. Thanks!
A good word feels good.
Creative post Dan with a catchy title. I would “argue” that people who do the things you list here are talented and smart in those ways.
There are many types of unique “smarts” and talents:
Seeing the obvious smarts – when the brainiacs are too deep
Get it done talent
Know yourself, like yourself, contribute yourself!
Nicely said… “you” are what you have to give others. Everything else is fluff. Powerful.
Kate is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read her bio: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/kate-nasser
What’s more important than talent and brains?
I have three things, and just for fun I am going to put them into an acronym: SAT (sounds more trustworthy than TSA, right?)
S – SENSITIVITY – It is important to have sensitivity to the cues and needs of others in your working environment. Several transitions back for us with third party administrators, the programmer for the new vendor was meeting with the programmer for the incumbent. The incumbent’s vendor was providing a thorough explanation, but his delivery was a tad laid back. The new guy was writing every single word down verbatim. For example: “The file has five binary characters, two are alphanumeric.” The new guy wrote this word for word instead of notes that would give him what he needed (file – 5 binary (2 alpha)) and that insistence on detail and obliviousness to the way that interfered with the pace of guy #1 hurt the process (he ended up getting moved off of the project).
A – ACCESS – Just ask any receptionist who has kept his/her ears open but mouth shut and you’ll probabaly get a whole bunch of information about what’s going on at the organization, and what the external customers really think. Ditto for many personal assistants. They may not have lofty academic credentials and/or certifications, but by virtue of being close to people at the top and/or other key parts of the organization, they are close enough to learn a lot of key information.
T – TIMING – You suggested “solve the frustrations of others.” That’s a good one, and the key to using that strategy is waiting out the frustration a bit and/or waiting out a series of “I’ve got it, I’m good, no thanks.” Be available when you are needed, which often means waiting patiently.
And then perhaps you will be SATisfied with yourself as will your team!
Paula, Very nice! And I like the acronym. Kate
So I’m reading along, enjoy your comment. When you “SATisfied” comment pops up… LOVE it… very cool
Thanks for adding value to others by crafting useful comments. I appreciate it.
All the best,
Paula is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read her bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/paula-kiger
Outstanding post, Dan. We’ve all known plodders who end up on top by making themselves indispensable…and the smartest kid in the class who ended up a slacker.
I just loved this post and agree on all the points that Dan has made. Yes as Ajay mentions, one cant just leave aside being talented and smart, one can put forth his/her efforts to become knowledgeable and smart. However if one thinks one is not, one can not be, one can follow the steps proposed by Dan… They work and pursuing one’s passion provides lot of positive energy to lead a happy life rather than having a feeling of not being a talented or smart person.
well done Dan…..
Love this Dan! Way to give a fresh, fun take! It reminds me of a recent study finding that human brains are getting smaller. The scientist suggested that animals with small brains are better collaborators. I think he called it the Ideocracy theory, named after the cult hit movie where the Average Joe wakes up in a dumbed-down future where he’s now a relative genius.
Attitude (heart, passion, true enthusiasm, EQ)…will take that over skills/talents and smarts. Skills you can learn and smarts doesn’t mean you know when/how to apply what you know…just means you know.
ditto Doc could not agree more! Al
In the years I have very well had evidence that some people definitely are NOT smart. But talentless? I don’t think anyone can truly be without talent, perhaps it’s just a matter of finding your own. The worst thing that can happen to anyone is not being able to find it out soon enough, or not accepting it when your true talent manifests.
Pushing the wrong career for the wrong reasons is mostly always a bad thing.
Hi Dan, everyone has brains whether and how they are used is a decision and a choice. everyone also has talent but for what again needs to be defined. Life’s happiness and success begins to accrue when discovery unfolds showing us what natural abilities (talents) God(and Darwin) have gifted our brains with and our acceptance of these inherent capabilities. Skills and knowledge can be acquired and passion and attitude will determine how, and when we couple the inborn with the learned. Those fortunate enough to accomplish this love what they do and and are recognized for it and don’t call it work, they call it vocation and vision. Many struggle being driven by the wrong reasons and never discover this synergy and then it becomes a “job” with fulfillment and joy always eluding them.
cheers and thanks for the post. Al
Thomas Alva Edison is reported to have said, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” Even if you do have the brains, you have to work to make a difference with them.
I really love the post. Sometimes, the talented and skillful people only believes in what they do and can give without caring with other people.
Thanks Dan! Now I know why I’m a coach! 🙂
What a great post. The list seems so simple yet so effective!
“Listen more, talk less”.
I think it is the good words to be the best leader.
I’d like to paraphrase the above words and say “Listen 90% in your time, Talk 10% in your time.”
* Brent Oh (http://www.Mufillyou.com)