Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Water Cooler Wednesday #7 - Moving Fast - Part 3

This week we finish our three-part series about moving fast. Part 1 was about environment. Part 2 was about mentality.

Part 3 - Talent

Moving fast requires talent.

A small disclaimer. The goal of this post is not to praise ourselves, but to convey what we have learned while working in many different companies and environments.

Skill

If you don't have sufficient skill then nothing else really matters. Here are a few characteristics we see in truly skilled people:
  • Thirst for learning. If someone has a certain body of knowledge, but is unable or unwilling to learn new things, then that person quickly loses their value. True skill is being able to tap a vast body of knowledge while keeping that body updated in an ever changing world. When someone becomes unwilling or unable to learn, their skill quickly becomes obsolete.
  • Know what they don't know. No one can know everything, but only the best are consciously aware of that fact. The ability to say "I don't know", coupled with the knowledge that they can learn anything they need to, is a rare combination.
  • Are not afraid of criticism and are secure with who they are. They are sure of what they know, and are confident in their ability to produce. They don't pay attention to the naysayers, other than to collect information that may be of value.

Passion

Skill without passion is wasted. Here are some qualities we've observed in passionate people:
  • Looks forward to working. This doesn't mean that they get ecstatic about every little thing. It simply means that they enjoy and take pleasure in their work. For the most passionate ones it can get to the point where money becomes secondary.
  • Cares about and takes pride in their work. Passionate people make an emotional investment when they work, and find fulfillment in what they produce. This means that they actually care about the end product and making it work correctly.
  • Will stand up for what they think is right. Because they are emotionally invested, they will stand up for what they believe to be right. The best ones will do this in a tactful and sensitive manner, but all passionate people will try and do what they believe to be right, sometimes regardless of the consequences. The trick is to keep the lines of communication open and let them be heard.
To sum up, the right environment, mentality, and talent have enabled us to move quickly.

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