Tag Archives: technical skills

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book smart

Book Smart, It Only Takes You So Far

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Are you a good reader, a good test taker, or exceptional student? Can you easily memorize the information and spit it back out? Have you been identified with being book smart?

Being book smart isn’t a career, yet neither is your ability to excel when you lack education.

Who Needs Education?

Sure, someone might quickly point out Bill Gates, Michael Dell, or Steve Jobs. Yet, these folks are anything but normal. And certainly, I mean that in a positive and respectful manner.

It seems that the most successful people, whether on their own, or in a workplace career, have something different going on.

The something different is often connected to their drive, their passion, and their persistence.

Chances are great that the best of the best have good study skills. Only, it is not in preparation for the exam.

It’s in preparation for life’s test.

Passionate people work hard. They are interested in the knowledge gain. Some of that knowledge gain may involve knowing where to look, who to ask, or even what relationships they seek to build.

That’s smart.

Memorizing Isn’t Enough

You can memorize the spec, look it up, ask the right people, or perhaps some of all three. Only memorizing it thought doesn’t guarantee you’ll know how to apply it.

In school, many great students have mastered how to study for the test. They are able to memorize and answer the questions exactly how the teacher asks. After all, the teachers success is conditioned by the students achieving good test scores.

Education matters. It matters a great deal. A lack of education is almost guaranteed to not be a sign of being smart.

Maybe more employers should look for passion as a driving factor?

Beyond Book Smart

One measurement of passion should be an interest to learn.

Sure, you may learn something by walking around. Yet, it doesn’t guarantee the ability or interest to become more.

We can learn that a rocket can lift off from the Earths surface, but that doesn’t mean we can build it or replicate it.

Perhaps we can learn that people can accomplish a lot through the shared expertise of the team, but that doesn’t mean we’re good at building teams.

We might also learn the technical spec, yet the only thing we have is the memory of the spec, not the aptitude to solve a problem outside of it.

Interest, passion, and education matter.

Book smart only takes you so far.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Best Work

Your Best Work, Working Hard, and What Is Missing

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Employees often feel that they are delivering on their promise. A promise to provide the best value to their organization. Are you doing your best work? Is your best work enough?

Trying your best is important. It has something to do with integrity. Trying your best though may not always be enough. At least, it may not be enough of the right stuff.

Technical Aspects

Knowing how to do a spreadsheet in Excel, how to spec the right materials at the best price, or how to manage the financial responsibilities are all important.

The web designer needs to know code and trends. Warehouse managers need to know storage solutions, traffic efficiencies, and even robotics. Marketing and advertising leaders should know the digital environment, how to leverage it, and how to evaluate the ROI.

All these things are important and are perhaps technical. You may be doing all these things, but you still seem to be coming up short of the promotion, the job advancement, and career path you desire.

What are you missing?

Emotional Labor

In today’s workplace environment doing your best work is not the same as filling in all the spaces on the form, checking the boxes, and signing your name.

In my experiences I find people every day who can do all those things and still wonder why they are stuck.

Certainly, there are varied reasons and sometimes people are not at the right place at the right time. In many other cases, what is missing is the emotional labor that goes along with every job.

Best Work

Organizations want to hire people who fit in. They have a hundred or more resumes of people who fit the technical specifications. Who is the one person who will fit the best?

Often it is not about your technical skills, you’ve checked all the boxes, your card is punched. Perhaps you should consider all the soft skills required.

How you communicate, overcome adversity, navigate generations, and your emotional intelligence is all part of your job.

It may not be a check box on your job description, but it may mean that you are the best fit.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect,Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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