Why are management making choices based on intellect rather than skill?
From domestic engineer to the president of an overseas company
In the beginning of 2017, we decided to look for a new President of RareJob Philippines upon the retirement of the founder, Mr. T. Kato.
Currently, RareJob Philippines has division heads, so it is working as a business, additionally the person who will lead RareJob Philippines is vitally important. Also, there is the added pressure of being the founders’ successor.
After serious consideration, I promoted a man who had domestic engineering background and a few experience as a manager. The reason, of course, is that I was attracted by his intellect.
This thinking is not limited to me only, and generally speaking I think that management sometimes makes bold choices not based on skill but on the belief of the person’s intellect. At the same time, some employees may have questioned “Why would an -engineer who has not fluent English speaking skills be selected?”
I’d like to explain my thought process in arriving at this decision.
2. Quality of a President
Listing the qualities required for the important position of the president of RareJob Philippines at this point, took on the following form. This is the actual table I used to come to a decision.
Important Evaluation Points
Able to positively overcome situations even when difficult
Have English ability to communicate with local members
Able to communicate actively with all the local members
Able to keep the information channels open with Japan
Able to match the direction of the group strategy and the Philippine strategy
Able to create a Philippine strategy
Able to extract company-wide issues in the Philippines
Able to solve company-wide issues in the Philippines
Able to solve problems between Philippine departments
Able to live in the Philippines
Able to have a sense of unity with the executives of Japan
Able to collect and impart information on other companies as the local president
In this table, things related to “mental capacity” and those related to skills “English ability” are mixed. What is important from here is that I made this list and took into consideration the “importance” of each requirement as well as the future of RareJob Philippines.
In relation to operations, this is being done by local executives. Skills to be extended within a year will lower its importance and by allocating a ranking of A, B, C D of the most important qualities in the current situation is needed. The results are below:
Important Evaluation Points
A:Able to positively overcome situations even when difficult
C:Have English ability to communicate with local members
B:Able to communicate actively with all the local members
B:Able to keep the information channels open with Japan
B:Able to match the direction of the group strategy and the Philippine strategy
D:Able to create a Philippine strategy
D:Able to extract company-wide issues in the Philippines
D:Able to solve company-wide issues in the Philippines
D:Able to solve problems between Philippine departments
C:Able to live in the Philippines
B:Able to have a sense of unity with the executives of Japan
B:Able to collect and impart information on other companies as the local president
Of course the points are limited, but I set a higher evaluation on “positivity” “persistence” compared with skills such as “English ability”, “knowledge of the Philippine company “, means that my focus is more related to the intellect.
3. Why intellect?
Personally I have to question, “What kind of work becomes very important?” And if you were to put it in a simple table “where skill is important or intellect is important”, the “uncertainty” of the work greatly influences these judgments.
It is clear when skill is important and it becomes more important if circumstances surrounding a job does not change significantly for a specific period of time. Let’s take an extreme example, assuming that there was a mission to “get as many UFO catcher’s prize as possible within one hour at a game center”, the best person for the task would be none other than the ” experienced UFO catcher “. The “intellect” does not matter here at all.
On the other hand, the more uncertain the situation is, the more important the intellect becomes. So if we make the mission vaguer like “keep my child entertained at a game center over the next 10 years,” this becomes more uncertain than the previous example. There are lots of things that you need to take into account such as: how the game equipment changes over ten years, how children change, and what the definition is of “entertain” etc.
Regarding this mission, “being an experienced UFO catcher” continues to be a valued characteristic, but the most suitable person is the person who has the mindset that “loves children in the first place”. If you love children, you will consider the equipment and children, and use the game center more flexibly without constraint.
To serve as the President of RareJob Philippines is actually a challenging job given the ever-dynamic and changing social, political, economic and environmental landscape with blackouts, strong typhoons, flooding, earthquakes, and other urban life issues.. Making decisions may not be as simple as basing it on clear-cut rules or standards.
Making decision demands not only the ability to communicate the decisions in English well or certain skills but requires flexibility, open-mindedness and critical thinking to adapt to the complex issues.
I am hoping from the bottom of my heart that the successor wants to improve RareJob, always has a positive outlook, works tenaciously, and gains trust from people naturally. If the successor is not such a person, it will not bode well in the long run.
So, in thinking about this important position, I focused on the intellect entirely
4. Skills and Intellect
I have talked about the intellect repeatedly so far, but in fact it is not easy to see the value of the “intellect”. “I will not run away” “I am ambitious”, are ways to very easily explain our personality on our own.
It may be very paradoxical to say, but in measuring my intellect, I often see “skills” as the contrary. We will follow the transition of what kind of thought, what kind of ability that person has attained, and what kind of result it produced.
People who possess an excellent intellect are supposed be those who achieve a small mission by revealing their true nature or some skill and in the process show their intellect.
For example, the person who has been selected, joined RareJob as an engineer in charge of infrastructure about six years ago. From there he became an infrastructure leader, where he looked at the entire infrastructure and got results.
Due to his competent project management skills, he joined the launch of the Brazilian business and engaged in the launch of the Z-kai Asteria. In addition to the skill as an infrastructure engineer, his project management skills were demonstrated spectacularly and skillfully expanded.
Furthermore, by engaging in the Brazilian project, he grew along with the overseas axis. Regarding the infrastructure, not only in Japan but also in the Philippines, he ended up to having a team to manage in both countries.
I think that it was difficult to manage foreigners with his English proficiency level as he joined the company. However, he took RareJob English lesson on his own after joining the company, and began to improve his English ability. As a result, he managed to some extent improve his proficiency even at work, where he got results with foreign team management.
Even in an in-house survey, his team member’s motivation was high, proving his power to convey the vision, and the ability to manage his team.
He has improved his “intellect” by doing whatever is necessary to deal with certain lack of skills on his own, thereby achieving various missions. Indeed, he is a man of intellect and growth.
5. Age and mindset
Incidentally the candidate chosen is in his forties and slightly older than me. Despite this, it has not stopped this candidate from continuously pursuing personal growth.
However, looking at my own management style etc., the mindset is not determined by age whether the person is engaged in personal growth or not.
It is purely a matter of mindset as I have said many times, some people have stopped learning mostly in their 20’s, others are learning greedily into their 40’s. A person who makes up an excuse for age signifies a person who gave up something along the way.
Even now he still thinks of his personal growth day after day and humbly works diligently. He acknowledges that he is yet to understand many aspects of his tasks, however he takes it upon himself to fill in those gaps personally. I really respect that kind of attitude very much and I am always excited to see him.
Considering this decision of selecting a domestic engineer to become the president of RareJob Philippines, surprised and caught him totally off guard. I am really looking forward to seeing what kind of new developments will come from now.
Predict the mindset or intellect from what kind of skills the candidate has developed in the past, believe in that mindset and plunge yourself into an uncertain situations together. Management is constantly looking for people who don’t fear the “unknown”.