Hungry, Humble, Smart: Part 1

Hungry, Humble, Smart: Part 1

In 2016 Patrick Lencioni wrote a book called ‘The Ideal Team Player’. This is a phenomenal book—an easy read and very applicable. The core of the book revolves around three traits that every person on your team should have.

They should be:

1. Hungry

2. Humble

3. People smart

At Telcion we adopted these as ideal qualities we would look for in every person we hired. This “hungry, humble, smart” filter has helped us improve the quality of our team and our ability to hire well.

Not to be confused with core values, which vary by organization, “hungry, humble, smart” are universal and should apply to people on any team. They are also most powerful when combined together. Individuals who have all three are the coveted team players we seek to find.

Let’s talk about the first trait—hungry.

What are hungry people like?

Hungry people desire to grow and learn.

Hungry people want more to do, and they want more responsibility. They have an innate need to always be better than they are now, and they want to excel in all aspects of their life.

Hungry people rarely have to be pushed along by their manager. Instead, they ask what they can do to keep improving and help the organization and team win.

Hungry people are self-starters. They look for opportunities that will help them grow, even if there is a short-term opportunity cost like less pay or a larger time commitment. They consider these to be investments in themselves that will have long-term payoffs in some way.

Patrick has a great quote about hungry people in this respect: “…they loathe the idea that they might be perceived as slackers.” That says it all.

The dark side

As with most traits, there is a dark side. Taken too far, it’s easy for a hungry person to make everything else in their life secondary because of their overwhelming desire to pursue growth, often at the cost of their personal relationships. Clearly, this is not healthy.

The healthy version of “hungry” is a “manageable and sustainable commitment to doing a job well and going above and beyond when it is truly required.”

Are you hungry?

So the question to ask yourself is: Am I hungry?

If you are, then you hold a key trait that is extremely valuable in the workplace.

If you are not, or not as hungry as you used to be, ask yourself why not. What happened? What will it take for you to be hungry again?

In my own life, I’ve found that I am hungry in areas I’m passionate about. But when I find myself doing things I lack passion for, my hunger decreases. In fact, I tend to procrastinate and I don’t desire to learn and grow. What this tells me is that I’m not spending my time and energy on the right things, and I need to change that.

There is truth in the old saying, “When you are doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Hungry people work hard to spend a large percentage of their time doing what they love.

If you are in a job where you are not hungry, my recommendation is to take a close look at yourself. Find what you are passionate about and search for a job that allows you to do that most of the time. You’ll find yourself hungry in no time.

This article was contributed by Lance Reid, Telcion's CEO.