It’s about wisdom and understanding… not knowledge. The failure to attribute a portion of one’s success to luck, particularly being at the right place at the right time… and possibly with the right connections, is many times as much, or more, of a causal force than the individual’s efforts. While no one would claim Bill Gates is not intelligent and talented, it would be foolish and ignorant to think that the success of Microsoft was his doing… it was as much the decision of IBM to focus on hardware that created the opening for Bill Gates to step in. If IBM had retained a focus on software, then there would be no Microsoft.

Personally, I can attest that this type of focus on intellectual humility is what we aim to teach when college students are required to take critical thinking courses. Having succeeded during the housing boom, and lived through the bust, it is the adaptability to change and new information that is the secret attribute that most organizations overlook. Hopefully, this move by Google will be a tipping point for others to revisit how they eliminate job candidates that didn’t attend the name brand schools, after all financial accounting at Stanford is financial accounting at a CSU school… there isn’t any secret lockbox of information that is only accessible to Stanford students!

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