No Shortcuts - Smart AND Caring

There is an obsession with being smart.  School trains us that way since kindergarten.  We get graded.  The "smart" kids get the good grades.  Life is much easier when you are the smart person in school.  Teachers love you.  Your parents are proud.  Classmates often look up to you (on the downside you could get stuffed into trash cans!).  You get to go to college.  You might even get to go to a prestigious one, which makes you look even smarter.  

As you progress up the ladder you then are around smarter and smarter people.  Since you went to college you get a good job.  People there are smart.  If you do well, then you get promoted.  The group there is even smarter.  This is a very fine process and its natural.  If you are smart you deserve to rise. 

What ends up happening as you get higher though is EVERYONE is very smart.  You are unlikely the smartest.  You probably don't want to be the smartest anyway.  So you're surrounded by smart people where many have the same skillset (ie. marketing, engineering, etc).  So what makes the the difference in who REALLY succeeds and who does ok? 

The people who can build healthy teams and organizations around them are the ones that really win.  You then can influence a lot of people behind your smarts.  Oftentimes in running up the smart ladder you forget to build the organizational skills.  Stuff like motivating your team, mentoring, setting a clear vision, communicating effectively, etc.  

The org building stuff comes down to you CARING about others.  Do you care about your team?  Do you care about your organization?  Do you want to take the extra time to help a co-worker? When you do those things you build into people and they want to work for you.  Many might actually be willing to run through walls for you.  

This is the goal.  Creating a healthy organization where people are happy, productive and producing results.  Your smarts are spread more broadly than just your immediate work.  You can impact many people and maybe a whole company.  

Smarts are great.  They are basically the cost of entry as you get to higher levels  Then what?  What else are you adding?  Can you positively influence the org under you or are you content with being the smart person?