Hard Work

Practice and Credibility

Recently, Meghan McCain  a political blogger who is trying to establish herself as a conservative pundit, was interviewed by Laura Ingraham, a conservative radio show host. Although I didn’t hear the clip myself (as apparently the transmission over the internet to Canada is banned), Ingraham asked why people should listen to McCain, other than the fact that McCain is the daughter of John McCain and pretty enough to be a plus size model. Later comments from Ingraham got a bit nastier about McCain’s weight.

McCain’s response was that weight shouldn’t matter, but that she was fit and healthy. She also commented that feminism should have taken us past our obsession with weight (priceless, coming from a right wing conservative, but, never mind).

What McCain missed was the intent of the question.  Why should we listen to a woman who graduated from university 18 months ago? Does she have enough credibility, knowledge, talent and experience to have a national platform for her opinions?

Competence leads to credibility. So far, Ms McCain hasn’t actually had a job, so she hasn’t demonstrated any competence. Has she accomplished something? What skills does she have? According to Robert E. Kelley, author of How to Be a Star at Work, it takes about ten years on average of hard work, learning and practice to become an expert at anything. Actually having accomplished something might lead to learning something.

Henry Mintzberg recently published an interesting article about the failures of business and government that caused the recent economic crisis. His thesis? That learning needs context – the context of the real world. Perhaps Ms McCain should actually get some real experience before she tells the rest of us how to do it.


Categories: Hard Work, Leadership, Learning

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