05 Mar 2013
March 5, 2013

Attitude V. Aptitude


Richard Fidler, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a great radio presenter  who hosts a daily show named ‘Conversations’ on the ABC. When I get a spare 45 minutes I’m a real sucker for tuning in via the ABC iPhone app and listen to one of the fascinating individuals he’s got on the program. It was just the other day that I stumbled across the interview aired on the 13th of February 2013 with Robert Spilane. I would highly recommend listening to the recording to anyone interested in ‘managing’ people and or business.

Basically, Spilane proposes that Australian business has become “obsessed” with middle management, soft skills, psychometric testing and psychomanagement.

“We have managers, stumbling around, managing other managers” Excerpt from Robert Spilane interview on the ABC’s conversations radio program.

What struck me is that, particularly in Marketing, so many of the attributes that are valued in the world of psychometric testing, recruitment consulting and HR miss the mark on getting a great recruit for your marketing team. We don’t much care what score you got in first year statistics at university, nor do we mind that your GPA doesn’t start with a 3 – information and knowledge is everywhere, if you really want to do something, like really want to, you’ll be able to resource yourself with sufficient knowledge so long as you have the right attitude.

The web has played a big part in this shift to placing an importance on attitude rather than aptitude. So much of the knowledge, tools and techniques that once were only accesible by attending an education provider are now ubiquitously available online, for free. So for us at Beacon New Ventures, this means that now, more than ever, the key attribute we look for when recruiting is the right attitude. We don’t actually need the most ‘intelligent’ candidate, and we certainly don’t need someone who can sit in front of a computer screen and move the match sticks from a square shape in to a triangular shape with the fewest clicks. The top of an MBA class, no matter how intelligent will never produce inspired work and help take a business to the next level if they don’t want to.

So what does the right attitude look like? Well, of course it depends, but to wrap this up here’s a few thought starters that might help articulate a great attitude towards work and your employer.

  • If you’re counting down the minutes ’til 5pm every evening, your approaching your work from the wrong angle.
  • Have you ever said “That’s not in my job description”? Odds on this is the wrong way to look at the situation.
  • It’s not what your employer can do for you to keep you engaged, it’s what you can do for your employer to bring value to the business.
  • Are you embarrassed to show weakness or a lack of knowledge? Don’t be – the strongest employees know their limits and can articulate a solution when they reach them.

Tom Kinsman is the business director of Beacon New Ventures, a new model marketing & venture capital partner currently expanding its footprint in the Asia Pacific region. With an office based in Singapore and another in Melbourne Australia, the business has a broad client portfolio both local and abroad across various categories.