Will you choose sincerity or brilliance?

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I used to be a star performer in your team till a couple of years ago, and then I got lazy. I worked in sales and broke into some major accounts. As a result, my bonus payments grew and even though I didn’t make any new sales, my old breakthroughs meant that I bagged a comfortable salary every year.

This bag of green made me a little complacent and it’s apparent to everyone, that I don’t give more than 50% to the job now. I am here because I did some good things in the past, and the old – timers like me.

The new people in the team hate me because I come to work at 10, leave at 4, while they come at 8 and leave at 8. To them, I am free riding on their efforts. To me, if it weren’t for my breakthroughs, these guys wouldn’t have a job in the first place.

To the management, as long as the money comes in, they don’t care. But, the money stops coming in. The recession hits, and suddenly there is surplus staff. Corporate sends you a memo asking you to identify one person from your team who can be fired.

Everyone knows about the memo and you can observe that there is a spurt in everyone’s productivity. Even I am reaching work at 7 and hardly ever leave before 9. I make almost double the sales calls, I used to, but because of the bad market, I am not able to make any sales.

The other guys in the team are working hard as usual, and are quite happy that you will get rid of me now and their hard work will pay off (because their job has been protected).

You are in a dilemma because you know that I have the potential of being a fire-cracker and with my renewed energy, I could break into more accounts. The other guys, while being sincere, never showed any promise of getting any major breakthroughs.

I am brilliant but insincere, while they are sincere, but not brilliant.

Will you choose sincerity or brilliance?

Disclaimer: I am neither brilliant, nor sincere in real life.

7 thoughts on “Will you choose sincerity or brilliance?”

  1. I am talking about a person who you know can do a lot more (and has proven it in the past) than he is currently doing.

    He is doing less simply because he knows he can get away with it and has gotten used to the easy life.

  2. what is point of sincerity when it doesn’t get you the results? I would be inclined to let go 100% sincerity for 10% brilliance if that gets me results.

    Are you equating sincerity with discipline? Seems like you are pointing towards discipline, but wording as sincerity?

  3. @Manshu, the story didn’t say anything about you showing up late. It only said that you show up “later” and I can’t see why you should behave the rest of the employees just because they think so.

    Secondly if you’re able to give 50% and make more money than the people doing 100% then you’re the one to keep and they are the ones that should either drastically improve or be fired (if we assume you receive the same monthly pay).

    I feel that sincerity is an important virtue but it has nothing to do when being hired to do a job (necessarily). Just like a good husband and father should be fired if he doesn’t do the job as the company wants him to.

    He is still a good man but there is no correlation between the two.

  4. @Mikael, Living high is one thing but when you start showing up late and are not giving your 100% to the job, its a bit of laziness and insincerity.
    I can see that a lot of organizations face this choice today. Most of them fire the people who don’t show any particular promise.
    And go to great lengths to retain the ones that have shown some promise in the past but have slacked up a little. So, in that respect they are doing what you say.

  5. I’m not sure I get why you’re calling yourself insincere? Living high on past performance (that still brings in good money) has nothing to do with insincerity in my book.

    But other than that I would keep you if I could see that you were the one that would bring in the most money for the shareholders.

  6. I would choose sincerity for sure, in such a case. If it wasn’t for the memo sent across, this brilliant, insincere guy would still be whiling away his time at work.

    Btw, I like your disclaimer 🙂

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