Glow without substance

As virtualization progresses, the qualities of things, facts and, above all, people become more and more important. The selection of new employees, whether executing or executive, is becoming increasingly difficult. In advance it is only possible to assess to a limited extent whether the respective person fits into the company, the team or a task. If then the first selection is made by an area that has little knowledge of the daily task, decisions are made based on formal criteria that have little to do with the actual business. In the long term, it is more effective to leave the choice to the departments, which have the experience, know the different contexts and, above all, should get their personal impressions of the possible new employee. Who still believes in the copied CVs based on pertinent cook books, which consist of quickly made degrees plus many years of practical and international experience plus pronounced social commitment? This self-staging creates a glow without substance.

This substance less glamour does not have to artificially grind away corners and edges. Sometimes it is better to show profile, to have soiled oneself at work in order to come across more credibly on the basis of the scars of one’s own actions.

  • Personal glow
    With the introduction of the school and university system, the traditional learning styles, the long-standing apprenticeship as trainee and journeyman, were expanded with scientific study and research. The real goals of these learning systems were to transfer and anchor knowledge. The most important aim was to actively get to the bottom of the topics. Due to the increasing importance of a factual assessment, the focus of the evaluation has been shifted. A high score suggests appropriate skills. A clever strategy and a little luck in the tests is enough to pass. And this, although practical knowledge would be better in everyday situations.
    The personal appearance is better polished up by failures and realistic responsibilities without a gigantic budget, than by pretentious presence.
  • Entrepreneurial glow
    Other areas of the business also have certifications to prove their capabilities. With the appropriate certificates, customers are supposed to gain confidence in order to decide in favor of the according offer. Today, these proofs range from customer ratings, the so-called likes, to official certifications and frameworks such as ISO 9000 for quality management, ISO 27001 for information security or COBIT for IT governance. While these certifications were originally intended to reflect a company’s current status, people affected have learned to prepare for these exams to be able to pass. The real purpose of a neutral assessment of the real abilities gets lost.
    It becomes more important to prove with real-life examples that you can practically master your business, and not just to shine with a certificate that everyone has.
  • Borrowed glow
    If direct evidence of the reputation is missing, then only indirect signs remain, which are generated above all by ambiguous statements. The protagonists achieve this the easiest by mentioning and citing competent sources. For this reason, people and companies like to adorn themselves by quoting prominent thought leaders. In doing so, they implicate an appropriate mindset that makes inattentive target groups believe that the values described are important to them. This can be boosted by personally integrating or at least meeting the mentioned celebrities in an image-effective way. Within the target group the assumption gets triggered that you need to have special skills. On closer inspection, this type of indirect use of external appearance happens on a daily base in publications without the target group noticing the manipulation. This adornment with borrowed plumes needs nothing more than a large enough budget.
    If you want to take advantage of the experiences of others, you should seriously integrate them into everyday life and implement their ideas consistently and not just shaking hands media-effectively.

Regardless of the way reputation is built, it remains nothing more than an indicator. The actual efficiency only becomes apparent in day-to-day practice. Since it is not possible to see it in advance, on the one hand, the observers must be always aware of the risk of possibly being only attracted by a glow. On the other hand, individuals and companies must not rest on their laurels, but have to reprove it every day. Who is in competition is like someone who rows against the current. As soon as you stop rowing, you fall back. Reputation must be renewed without ceasing.

Bottom line: It is becoming more and more important to find new approaches in order to be able to recognize performance and its development potential in advance. Direct certification is only partially suitable for this, since the candidates prepare opportunistically in advance for passing an exam – not for acquiring knowledge. Although the indirect indicators generate evidence, they do not allow any real insights about the know-how and behavioral repertoire of those affected. The information society needs a new approach, in order to be able to recognize the glow without substance.