Engineers are smart people! Talk to someone in non-engineering circles and you will often hear an engineer they know described as OCD, thorough, perfectionist, detail-oriented, meticulous, driven, linear, and very smart. 9 out of 10 engineers would probably agree and there’s nothing wrong with these traits. Regrettably, while most engineers are incredibly smart many will be so bold as to tell you they are smart.
Humility is a character trait that is often missing when engineers and scientists get together. Imagine working on a NASA project with a team of brilliant astronauts, physicists, scientists, and engineers. Finding the humble among such genius is not hard. It will be the one immersed in work seeking solutions and not seeking the credit, the one who cares more about the solution than recognition.
Knowledge is powerful. The 3-C’s of hiring are important: competency, character, and chemistry. However, many companies choose one above the other and ultimately regret their decision. Hiring a competent person is paramount in project management. You can’t afford a bad hire in this group, but if you hire competency at the expense of character and chemistry, you may very well end up with a bright individual lacking in humility and the ability to work well with others, the evil genius.
A handful of companies still value the 3-C’s of hiring. They want people on their team who are intellectually honest, but humble enough to seek the right source of knowledge to deliver the best result for clients, fellow employees, and the company at large. Meaning decision-makers often have to cut bright people who aren’t committed to the whole and want the spotlight. Those who seek solutions and care about their company’s reputation are indicative of team players. When a project management firm places a high value on humility and knowledge in the hiring process clients are the ultimate beneficiaries. The combination is a win-win for the firm and clients.
For example, observe a college study group. There is always going to be someone who tries to ride the backs of the rest of the group and do as little as possible. There will be a dedicated 2-3 who want to get it right and deliver a spectacular presentation. Then there will be one or two that want all the glory and another or two who just want to get by. If you are choosing in this chess match go for the dedicated 2-3. They are working in harmony, seeking answers and solutions without worrying about who gets the credit with the professor. They are willing to do whatever it takes to find an answer, even if that means consulting someone outside the group. These are the go-getters.
At Global Management Partners we value knowledge and humility as a core operating principle. We have found the two are not only congruent but extremely possible. When we hire, we seek smart, humble individuals who aren’t afraid to collaborate and ask questions to get results for the client and create a winning solution for everyone!