In 1908 the Carnegie Foundation published the results of research by Charles Riborg Mann carried out with fifteen hundred engineers across the USA: ‘A Study of Engineering Education’.

He was interested to know what engineers felt was the key to a successful career. He found that ‘personal qualities’ were cited seven times more often than technical skill or knowledge.

“…qualities such as common sense, integrity, resourcefulness, initiative, tact, thoroughness, accuracy, efficiency, and understanding of men…”*

To further test his findings he asked another seven thousand engineers to rank the following list “Technique, Knowledge, Understanding of Men, Efficiency, Judgement and Character”

94.5% placed “Character” at the top of the list, and “Technique” was sent to the bottom of the list by a similar amount.  

Interpreted over the years, and updated with more modern language, this discovery is known today as the “Carnegie Triangle” and reminds us that Attitude is many times more important for success than Skills and Knowledge put together.

Although over a hundred years has passed since the original research, organizations still need to continually remind themselves of its essential truth, as they sort through the resumés and CVs of highly qualified job applicants. Equally, as individuals or businesses evolve they need to focus on maintaining the attitude, mindset and values that will bring success.

As a business coach, this is where I work. All my clients have deeply impressive skills and voluminous knowledge. We work together on identifying, tapping into, and reinforcing the attitudes to business and life that they know make them truly successful.