What really moves the business forward is employee 'output'. I wanted to quantify that and here is what I came up with.
In the last post I did as best as possible to scientifically explain why literally everyone has huge potential. But how much of that they really realize is what I call the ‘output’.
In a business environment there are two factors that determine how well a person will convert their potential into an output useful to the company.
First one is skill and the second one is commitment.
Skill is a function of your knowledge, experience and responsibility given to you. If you play violin it can range from a total newbie to a world-class violin player. And if you write code – exactly the same.
Commitment is simply how much value you are bringing by putting this skill to use. It can range from slacking and doing nothing to making conscious effort to grow your skills and add value to the business during the “peace times”, while being ready to commit 100 hour work weeks if needed during “crunch times”.
But, it also turns out that skill and commitment are not equally important. Commitment beats skill.
Take two teams for example. Team A has bunch of juniors ready to really dig in to get the job done. Team B has highly skilled people, but they barely work each day. Which team will ship the product? It is always team A. Commitment always beats skill.
Therefore I believe a person’s output is a function of skill and commitment in this manner:
Output = Skill x Commitment^2
Wait a second, what about the “work smart, not hard” mantra? I think that is typical business book non-sense and one of those things that sound nice to say in theory but impossible to do in practice. I’ve yet to meet a successful entrepreneur who did not work their butt off to get there, regardless of how high their intelligence or skill were.
One more thing. When negotiating salary, the person with the higher skill is the one likely to be asking for more money, as his CV will clearly indicate this higher skill. Commitment is hard to check on an interview and most companies do not spend enough time to evaluate readiness to ‘give yourself in’. Be wary of that as any skill can be learned, but character is hard to change.