The advice given by business consultant Andrew Miller in his “The 3 Attributes to Look for in Top Talent” article for Entrepreneur magazine is worth following, because we’d pretty much all like to be in that “top talent” tier.
What are the three attributes Miller says you need to excel in? Attitude, competency and mindset.
Miller defines attitude as having “a passion for the organization and what it is trying to accomplish” and being “excited about being a part of the organization.” You demonstrate this every day through your interactions with colleagues and bosses, your positive energy, your curiosity about new ideas and solutions that might benefit the organization, and your enthusiasm about and support for the ideas of your teammates.
Almost nothing will sink your career opportunities faster than a bad attitude, so you want to make sure that your words and actions send a positive (and authentic) signal about your passion for the organization and its mission.
Interestingly, Miller describes this attribute as being an employee who “understands the value of collaborating with peers and comes to work every day looking for ways to improve the performance of the company and increasing the impact he or she can have.”
Note that he doesn’t specifically mention having a particular skill set, but rather focuses on the strategic way in which any skill set is applied. As anyone working in the information profession knows, “professional competency” is a moving target because both the technology we use and the circumstances / opportunities to which we apply our skills not only determine what we need to know, but change on an ongoing basis.
The take-away here? Don’t think of your job as a narrowly (or permanently) defined set of responsibilities that stand alone. Actively seek out opportunities to collaborate, learn to do it well, and embrace the fact that the purpose of your work is to advance the organization’s goals.
An employee with the sought-after mindset “understands the value of collaborating with peers and comes to work every day looking for ways to improve the performance of the company and increase the impact he or she can have.”
In other words, look for ways that your skills not only can enable you to become a high-impact contributor, but also can raise the performance level of your team. This means that it’s not enough to be an independent stellar performer; instead, your goal should be to support, model, or encourage that same stellar performance from your colleagues (in a positive way, of course).
Bottom line: commit to continuous learning and improvement, including individually, within your team, and for the company as a whole.
By hiring people with the right mix of attitude, competency, and mindset, Miller asserts, companies will achieve profit maximization, since every employee hired will add value to the organization on a consistent basis.
By developing a positive, collaborative mix of attitude, competency, and mindset, you’ll become the high-value contributor companies are dying to recruit.