The Attributes by Rich Diviney


Last week I finished The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance by retired Navy SEAL commander Rich Diviney. In this thought provoking book, Rich argues the difference between Skills and Attributes in humans. Skills can be taught but attributes are more inherent and show up under conditions of uncertainty, challenge and stress. I recommend reading this book for anyone in a leadership position.

He also discusses the difference between Peak and Optimal Performance.  Peak performance is the furthest someone can reach under certain conditions for a limited time. One can prepare for peak performance knowing of the right parameters ahead of time. Optimal performance on the other hand, means doing the best one can with whatever one has, whenever called upon and under whatever conditions may present themselves. 

People have different base-line strengths and weaknesses in their attributes, but with intention a person can develop their  attributes. Here are the 22 attributes he considers important based on his experience dividing them into 5 major categories.

  1. Grit –  
    • Courage,
    • Perseverance
    • Adaptability,
    • Resilience
  2. Mental Acuity
    • Situational Awareness
    • Compartmentalization
    • Task Switching
    • Learnability
  3. Drive – 
    • Self-efficacy
    • Discipline
    • Open Mindedness
    • Cunning
    • Narcissism
  4. Leadership – 
    • Empathy
    • Selflessness
    • Authenticity
    • Decisiveness
    • Accountability 
  5. Teamability –
    • Integrity
    • Conscientiousness
    • Humility
    • Humor

He also discusses 3 more attributes that doesn’t fit into his above 5 major categories – Patience/impatience, Fear/insouciance, Competitiveness/non-competitiveness.

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