The Case For Culture: Why Business Needs Confidence Without Attitude

Haas promotes a collaborative culture and has fully committed itself to it

Confidence Without Attitude is something that gets recruiters excited about Haas. They come to the school not just for students who are bright and who possess the fundamental skills of business, but for students that they know will do more for their company and their firm’s culture than any other.

Through the advancements of technology the workplace has shrunk. Where once employees filled out paperwork to be hauled off to other unknown areas of the company, today cross-department teams worth together to solve problems and provide quick and productive feedback in real time. The world is more fast paced than ever. In order to stand out and perform well employees need to leverage synergy and collaboration throughout all areas within the firm.

The more collaboration the faster the firm can innovate and react. This puts tremendous pressure on human resources to find new talent that can run the numbers and run with a team. Companies don’t want to just see that you know something; they want to know that you can effectively communicate what you know to a potential teammate that may not know.

This years 1st Cohort Case Competition was a great display of students collaborating and sharing knowledge

Confidence comes from knowing how to use the skills and knowledge you have effectively. Attitude is when you hoard that knowledge in an effort to feel superior or pursue a selfish advantage. Business needs confident people; studies tend to indicate confidence can boost performance. A team of confident individuals working in a firm can do great things but vigilance against attitude must be maintained. Attitude can mean the downfall for a team and even a firm.

Once people stop sharing what they know and using their knowledge to put themselves above their peers productivity and success come to a standstill. Using one’s skills and knowledge as a reason to be anything but another teammate can create argument and contention within a group, stifling the potential of the firm. When attitude comes with confidence the results are never optimal and rarely positive.

This is why recruiters come to Haas; the futures of their firms depend on it.

If this trait is in such high demand shouldn’t it be common across all business schools? The short answer is no. Part of the reason has to do with positioning. Many top schools play on their exclusivity and prestige, this draws in applicants but can lead to students who only seek that prestige as a way to make themselves feel superior. They utilize their university’s name to get ahead and, seeing success in that, begin using it as justification for seeing themselves as above their peers.

Yes they’re well known, but what are they known for?

Prestige drives applications but it doesn’t benefit the attitude and culture of its students and the school. Unfortunately prestige is more profitable in the short run and many strong schools fail to emphasize a positive attitude in their students, in some ways in fear of compromising that prestige.

Haas on the other hand has been pushing for culture fearlessly and, relying on its all- star faculty and programs, it still manages to see great growth in its applications. It strives to keep its students confident but well grounded, utilizing the public atmosphere of UC Berkeley, its emphasis on culture, and heavily integrating collaboration into its curriculum (and even in the structural plans for its building projects).

As Haas continues to send Path-Bending leaders out into the workforce, the Confidence Without the Attitude that these leaders possess will command greater attention from the business world. As the competency model becomes more and more redefined by changes in demand, recruiters will look towards business schools to provide the right human capital. When they do, their 1st choice will always be Haas.

This article is the second article in a five part series that focuses on culture and the Haas School’s Four Defining Principles.

Find culture at Haas interesting? Want to discuss it or just learn more about its value? Come to a special Haas Culture discussion Wednesday, September 26, 2012 from 11:00AM – 12:00PM at the F.I.F.O. @ Haas Café.

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