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The Difference Between ‘BEST’ and ‘EFFECTIVE’

What do you think the difference is between the BEST tech staffer and the most EFFECTIVE?

Over the past couple of years, I have experimented with a simple question. I ask technologists, “What are the attributes of the BEST tech staff?” I usually get statements about the most technically astute person they know. They tell me about someone that knows all the ins and outs of a particular technology.

When I change the question a bit, the answers change dramatically. Asking, “What are the attributes of the most EFFECTIVE tech staffer?” invariably I get a lot more. I hear, “customer skills, communication, a bias towards action, someone that gets a lot done with competence.”

When I’ve gone further with people and asked them to put a name to the BEST versus EFFECTIVE, in most cases they mention two different people.

Technologists generally think that to get ahead we need to get more and more technical skills.

That’s only true if you’re not concerned with being effective! Of course, we need to be competent technically, but not exclusively.

Once you have a base technical knowledge, it is easy to build upon it. But at some point there are diminishing returns – more tech knowledge doesn’t increase your ability to deliver.

It’s about communication, building rapport, managing your commitments, and so many other things. Don’t get me wrong- you’ve still got to have technical ability but if you’ve been in tech for any length of time you likely have a solid foundation.

What are you doing to boost your effectiveness? What are the things that are limiting you from becoming more effective?

I’d love to hear what you’re doing to become more effective. What are the small things you’re doing? What could you improve upon?