There’s nothing new about companies wanting to find and keep the
best talent. The East India Company which was founded in 1600, actually
used competitive examinations to recruit alpha minds. The company’s
employees included James and John Stuart Mill, two of greatest minds.
Today something new is in the air. Companies have become more
preoccupied with talent than ever before. And even companies in more
ordinary businesses have begun to think they cannot manage and compete
without a lot of deep smarts.
What kind of behaviors actually produce intelligence? We now know
that the notion of innate intelligence is bonkers. That being the case,
what are the behaviors that produce intelligence? What behaviors are
indicative of the efficient, effective problem solver? Just what do
human beings do when they behave intelligently.
Here are 14 intelligent behaviors, many of which were originally
compiled by Arthur Costa in a paper entitled, Teaching for
1. Persistence: not giving up when the answer to a problem is not
2. Overcoming impulsiveness:
planning, clarifying goals, exploring alternative strategies and
considering consequences before you begin.
3. Listening to others: some
cognitive psychologists think that the ability to listen to another
person and understand their point of view is one of the highest forms of
4. Flexibility in thinking:
considering other points of view rather than running with the first
5. Metacognition–awareness of
how you’re thinking, knowing what’s going on in your head when you’re
6. Checking for accuracy and
precision: not letting speed surpass your desire for craftsmanship.
7. Questioning and problem
posing: asking questions and finding out problems for yourself.
8. Applying past knowledge to
new situations: calling upon your store of knowledge and experience as
sources of data, theories to explain, or processes to solve each new
9. Precision of language and
thought: using more descriptive terms to distinguish objects, and
providing criteria for value judgments.
10. Using all the
senses–feeling, seeing, hearing, even tasting in order to more
effectively problem solve.
ingenuity, originality and insight: developing the capacity to generate
original, clever or ingenious products, solutions and techniques.
12. Living with a sense of
wonderment, inquisitiveness and curiosity: openness to beauty,
intricacy, complexity and simplicity.
13. Cooperation: taking
advantage of the thinking and learning that can only come as a result of
14. Sense of humor: able to
look at situations, opportunities, problems and relationships with
nonchalance and fun.
The oncoming global war for
talent is likely to intensify. Many firms are already struggling to
find enough well-trained, inventive professionals. Which of these
characterize your behaviors? And which do you need to start working on?