Originally published in 6th of August 2017

Let’s be clear and concise. People talk about KASH, which abbreviates for Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits. Why should you care? A recent study by Hank Czarnecki has found that most organisations and people spend their time and money developing the left half of the KASHbox (Knowledge and Skills) and most terminations and business failures are due to weaknesses in the right half of the KASHbox (Attitudes and Habits). However, these four factors go hand in hand and unfortunately, you can’t succeed without any of them.

Knowledge, Attitude, Skills ja Habits

K - Knowledge: “Knowledge is the food of the soul” - Plato

Forget about anything else. Knowledge is first and foremost the most important thing that employers look for in your CV and cover letter. Remember that we are living in a knowledge-based society, not labour-based. Therefore, before entering into a new area or a different environment, you should master your knowledge and ability to meet the requirements of employers. Once you have their consideration for the interview or any further recruiting step, you will show other traits that make you outstanding in comparison to other interviewees.

Therefore, learn as much as you can at school. Many people have told me that school tasks do not matter and then showed me clear evidence about Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg and some other successful celebrities or entrepreneurs who quit or did not perform well at school. I agree with them, partly. I replied back “Your name may be in the list of billionaires in the future, but all people don’t know it yet. At the moment, when you send me your CV with a very mediocre GPA and another guy submits to me his with GPA marked “distinction”, such as 4.5/5, I still prefer him to you.” Trust me, most other recruiters will do the same, like me. They will doubt your ability at work because you show them your poor ability at school, although sometimes the two abilities do not go together.

A - Attitude: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” - Winston Churchill

Attitude is defined as a settled way of thinking or feeling about something or someone. When you talk with a stranger, you don’t know anything about his/ her personal information, competence and characteristics. Instead, you notice his/ her attitude. It is therefore, one of the most important things that lift you gradually in the ladder of success. So, what is considered as a “good” and “wise” attitude?

A positive attitude helps yourself. An enthusiastic attitude helps others. An objective attitude towards things and people help all.

Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse wouldn't quit. He struggles so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentleman, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.” If you watch “Catch Me If You Can” in which Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks star together, you will know this famous saying. (If not, I strongly recommend you to enjoy the movie in your nearest free time). Why did the character in the movie say that? Is it a strong statement about his positive attitude towards hardship? Have you ever wondered why people keep saying “I can do it” all the time? The reason is that we all need a positive attitude. It is your choice to think that the situation will go into better directions, not the worse ones.

A good attitude manifests in the following ways: positive thinking, constructive thinking, creative thinking, optimism, motivation and energy to do things and accomplish goals, and an attitude of happiness. A positive attitude, first and foremost, help you - not anyone else. Everyone has his or her own explanation for benefits of a positive attitude, so do you. If this attitude is strong enough, it becomes contagious. It's as if you radiate light around you. Your smiles, laugh, sense of humor and gentle behaviour work as a contagious phenomenon. In a workplace, the leaders will select the one whose attitude positively influences others in a range of employees who have the same abilities, to the senior positions. Please remember that. It takes such a long time to learn new things, to master new skills or to form a new habbits, but having a good attitude is a matter of choice, a matter of thinking. It takes less than a second for you to change your attitude, but years to keep it forevers.

Do you smile when watching the following video (1 minute 27 seconds)? Ask yourself why you smile in less than one minute although the video has almost no humorous scene?

S - Skills: “Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill.” - Shinichi Suzuki

The well-known Japanese musician and philosopher claimed that. How do you define “skills” in your own way? Knowledge is mandatory, but it does not equal to skills. Knowing well a recipe of a pizza does not mean that you possess the equivalent pizza making skills. The more skills you know, the more work opportunities appear to you. Your skills will come in handy sooner or later in different situations and help you find the remedy for tough tasks quickly and easily. The point is, what types of skill do you need to know, or must know? There are four type of skill sets that are crucial to you, no matter what field you are in -  specialist skillslanguage skillsIT skills and communication/ interpersonal skills. Looking at requirements of any job ad, you immediately realize that recruiters expect all four aforementioned types of skill from you.

When the recruiters see your deep and wide knowledge and then select you because of your attitude, they will care about your skills, as skills are what are expected most from you, not knowledge or anything else. Employers don’t see your skills in papers (and they don’t believe in them, also). You have to practice and practice to master these four skill sets. I am sorry to say that you don’t have any other choice if you want your career be as bright as you have expected.

H - Habits: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit” - Aristotle

Why is “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey considered as one of the greatest books of all time? It’s just a book telling about small daily behaviours and acts of the most successful people in different fields to find what they have in common, isn’t it?

Try to google “Habits quotes” and you get approximately nearly 30 million results in less than a second. “Successful people are simply those with successful habits” - Brian Tracy. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going” - Jim Rohn . “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us” - John Dryden.  “Habits change into characters” -  Ovid. We can find more wise advice about habits from our forefathers and conceive them for the whole day. You will think “Hmm, to change my life, I have to abandon all bad habits and form good ones. I need self-discipline, hmm, I need them”. It’s a good start (Although it’s hard). Discipline take from you tears and sweats, but give you satisfaction and sweet rewards.

In this writing, I do not intend to repeat advice about good daily habits that you perhaps have heard for ten thousand times. Instead, I will show you good habits in a workplace. Between two employees, A and B, who have the same ability and same seat, who will end up in higher positions? You will easily figure out the answer if you see their daily habits at work. Do you appreciate people who always come late to your team meetings? What about those who often leave their table unorganised? What about those who complain all the time, or who show a sorrowful facial expression whenever you look at them? What about those who lack confidence and always avoid direct eye-contact when you talk with them? Try to reflect upon yourself - do you think your coworkers consider you a professional?

Please be careful about the smallest acts and behaviours in a workplace. They will gradually leverage your image in other’s eyes. Your career, life and relationships with your coworkers, therefore, will be much easier and more convenient.