“Half of being smart is knowing what you are dumb about.” — Solomon Short
When I first joined Microsoft, I felt like I had joined an elite team of smart people that gets results.
Microsoft is a big place, and I had joined the Developer Support Team. It was an interesting team and I was surrounded by people who worked smarter, harder, faster, and more effective than anything I had ever seen before.
There were people that built robots and people that built rockets. There were former accountants and former professors. The intellectual horsepower was stunning and so was the passion.
I was curious how I too could become a skilled Softie.
As a new Softie, I was assigned a mentor and a buddy. My mentor was for technical skills and learning the ropes, while my buddy was for helping me simply get acclimated to life at Microsoft. While it was great to have a supportive team to help me learn how to spread my wings and fly, what I really wanted was a map for becoming a skilled Softie and improving my effectiveness in this amazing environment. After all, I didn’t join Microsoft to just hang out. I joined it to make impact and learn the ways of successful Microsoft employees.
Ask and ye shall receive, right? I was given a competency framework organized by success factors and core competencies. This was the map I was looking for. The success factors included the following:
- Customer Feedback
- Individual Excellence
- Long-Term Approach
- Passion for Products and Technology
It was a simple but powerful set. I really liked the fact that it stressed teamwork, results, and excellence.
The success factors organized the core competencies. Here is a map of the core competencies based on my old notes:
|Functional / Technical Knowledge/ Skills||–|
|Passion for Products and Technology||
While the competency map is old, I think it’s pretty timeless. Periodically, I scan the competencies and look for areas of growth.
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