“In school, there is no substitute for intelligence. At work, however, there is no substitute for effort.” This was my response to our son several years ago when he talked about how hard he had to work in college to keep pace with several of his friends who rarely cracked a book. While he is smarter than he gives himself credit, it is his unrelenting effort that has made him successful in his career.
I have seen brilliant people fail miserably and people of average intellect rise to the top of their respective organizations. A key to their success was that, knowing they had sufficient but not superior intelligence, they outworked everyone else and they leveraged their collective strengths instead of relying on just one.
Being the smartest person in the room may get you some attention, but it will not make you a great leader. Leading requires constant effort to understand yourself, the people around you and the situations you encounter. It demands that you continuously attempt to improve the lives of the people you lead…and it requires you to sweat the details. There is no substitute for effort.
Be intentional about it…
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