Why character is more important than skill

I recently read an interview with Margaret Heffernan. In her career, she has been the CEO of 5 different businesses and written 5 books on business. I’m reminded of a story she told:

“I remember when I worked at the BBC, I was given a trainee who was making his first film. He had a first in mathematics from Oxford, and thought he was the smartest kid on the block. He had no concept that what he needed to do was to connect to the very rich network of social capital that existed within the team. So he wrote the film alone. He went in and shot it using his own lights — he didn’t ask for help from the unbelievably seasoned, prize-winning technicians he was working with. Surprise, surprise — the film was a mess. All he needed to do was invest a bit of time and effort in getting to know the people around him, and it would have been a completely different story.”

Even the smartest, most skilled person won’t get very far without the help of others – and that’s where character comes in. Being likable and social are a part of that, but more important is being honest and teachable. Ask for help when you need it. So many SKILLED people are afraid to ask for help, because they believe they should be able to do it on their own.

Those with CHARACTER know that working as a team to create an outcome is far more important.

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