It’s How You Think, Not What You Know

by Jay Deragon on 04/26/2013


Job descriptions have failed to show the real value organizations ought to be looking for in the 21st Century.

The “resume”, as we know it today, is based on how 20th century businesses described “qualifications needed” to be hired for specific job openings. The “corporation” wanted to know if you had the right experience, education and technical competencies they specified as needed to do a “job” they wanted done for a purpose they stated as necessary.

Human capital has more value than experience, education and “technical” competencies.  The problem is that corporations think of human capital as an extension of a production line that ought to be optimized for profit.

Change Your View of Human Capital

Mike Myatt writes in Forbes The Most Common Leadership Model – And Why It’s Broken: Any organization that over weights the importance of technical competency fails to recognize the considerable and often-untapped value contained in the whole of the person. It’s the cumulative power of a person’s soft skills, the sum of the parts if you will, that creates real value. It not what a person knows so much as it is how they’re able to use said knowledge to inspire and create brilliance in others that really matters.

We live in time that has moved well beyond competency driven models, yet organizations still primarily use competency-based interviews, competency-based development, competency-based performance reviews, and competency-based rewards as their framework for doing business. It remains the best practices mentality that rules the day, when we’re long overdue for a shift to next practices. It’s simply not possible to change current behaviors by refusing to embrace new paradigms.

Human capital is not something you optimize like a machine rather it is something you enable so that more value can be created than any production line ever could. Value creation doesn’t come from what you know, it comes from how you think. How you think is intangible but the quality of what you do and the value of what you create is affected more by how you think today than by what you knew or did yesterday.

Find people who know how to think and they’ll show you how to create more value than what you thought they could by doing a job you thought they should.


Patrick Plemmons April 28, 2013 at 6:08 pm

This article is so incoherent and wrongheaded that I don’t know where to start in criticizing it. Suffice to say, technical competency and knowledge are extremely important in the workplace and companies rightly put great effort into finding people who have both. It’s ridiculous to assert that it is outdated to do so.

Mike Myatt April 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Hi Jay:

Thanks for referencing me in your piece. We clearly share a common perspective on this topic – a discussion which needs to take place more often.


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