The following article was written by my good friend Carol Quinn. She is an expert in interviewing and hiring the best people out there. She can teach you how to do this. Hiring great “Can Do” people is probably the most important thing you do as a leader. The problem is, most of you are hiring “Can’t Do” people. This article puts into perspective how vital attitude is in overcoming barriers and road blocks which keep you from reaching your goals.
After working with Carol I learned why without a degree and not being a great student I had a great career. That reason is that nothing can stop me when I put my mind to something. Overcoming roadblocks is my specialty in my business life and in my personal life.
If you think you can….you can! If you keep pounding on the wall, it will eventually fall down. Don’t give up too soon. Contact Carol if you or your interviewers and others responsible for hiring want to improve your success rate. The more great people you hire the greater your company will be. Hire average people and your organization will be average…..Lee
BY CAROL QUINN
When it comes to achievement, I think a lot of people miss the fact that it’s an uphill process. You have to climb the mountain first before you reach the peak. It’s a journey that almost always involves obstacles. And, it involves doing what it takes to overcome the obstacles. So what’s all the confusion? Why are there so many people proclaiming it’s just not meant to be? Perhaps they don’t understand exactly what uphill means? It’s a metaphor for the obstacles and challenges that stand between you and a successful outcome. Listen closely and you’ll often hear people who believe such roadblocks are not supposed to happen. And when they do, it’s the roadblocks that caused their outcome. Personally, I don’t buy it. I am amazed that in the 21st century there are still people who don’t comprehend the basic principles of achievement.
Summed up, achievement is fundamentally about one thing – overcoming obstacles. Those who do it, reach their goal. Those who don’t won’t. You cannot succumb to a challenge and still reach the goal. It’s up to you to find the way…PERIOD! Many people comprehend this intellectually and even offer advice to others but struggle to follow it themselves. I think the term “obstacle” is where things become confusing. Whether you call them impediments, roadblocks, challenges or even opportunities, realizing what they are is an important part in understanding achievement. An obstacle is not just an adjective that describes something difficult. Obstacles are real and they happen to you and me. They pop up seemingly out of the blue and present quite the quagmire as they unexpectedly impede progress and change the outlook. They impede both personal and professional objectives and occur indiscriminately. Regardless of age, race, national origin, or socio-economic status, the bottom line is… SH#! HAPPENS! So why then, do so many people believe this normal part of every life is what sabotages their success? Is our model for achievement more in accordance with ‘cross your fingers and hope for the best’?
Achievement involves problem solving and finding a solution. Whether the roadblock is “not enough money”, “too tight of a deadline”, “dealing with difficult people”, or any other challenging predicament, what makes something difficult is a lack of knowledge on how to handle it and triumph. Faced with this deficiency, it’s easy to give up. No one likes to deal with these stumbling blocks that stump us. It’s HERE where people begin to separate themselves by how they react. Challenges elicit different responses from different people. Not all responses are created equal, nor will they produce the same end result. How effective a person is at producing the desired outcome is called “efficacy“. According to Paul Stoltz, PhD, in his book Adversity Quotient, success is greatly influenced and can be predicted by how a person responds to adversity. It is the most important factor in achieving success.
It is in taking ownership of an outcome and understanding what role we played in producing it that facilitates change. The right change keeps us from repeating disappointing results. It makes us more effective. Placing blame blocks our learning by denying our role. Without learning from one’s experience, a better outcome is not possible. So what if a person opted to blame or complain rather than learn and change? What if they convincingly swore they were right? Recently a friend shared with me how a co-worker was making his lunchtime miserable. All he did was bellyache for the entire hour. He invited himself and my friend never said “No”. Rather than confronting his co-worker, he tolerated lunch after lunch. As his co-worker complained, so did he about his co-worker. He had his rationale for not speaking up and was unwilling to bend. Nothing changed…
People who achieve their goals tend to work harder on resolving their problems and overcoming the obstacles. They don’t waste time on unproductive behaviors. They simply get to work on finding a viable solution. It’s through their results that they judge their effectiveness. They continually learn and change what they do until they achieve their goal. It’s about trial and error and tenacity. It’s no coincidence that they move uphill while others don’t. They possess an attitude that is willing to find answers and apply what they’ve learned. By shaping themselves, they shape their results. Not everyone is willing to look within or change what they do. There’s a widespread epidemic of people who refuse to admit their roles and take ownership for their outcomes. They see no significant personal responsibility and therefore see no need to change. In their mind, it’s simply not their fault achievements have passed them by. I call this an ineffective attitude.
Mankind has such great potential. Unfortunately so much of this potential is unwittingly wasted on our own ineffectiveness. What we need is fundamental change. We need a post-recession worldwide Attitude Revolution, like the Industrial Revolution…but for the mind. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the Industrial Revolution had a profound effect that spread throughout the world as it changed life for the better. It included such inventions as the light bulb, the sewing machine, radio, t.v. and airplanes just to mention a few. We need a new revolution that reinvents our understanding of achievement and spawns a new model. A model that makes it trendy to face our challenges rather than say “No, it can’t be done”. One that acknowledges that it’s acceptable to fail as long as we learn and try again. Where we take ownership for our results, both good and bad. Where it’s common to have a mentor. We need a better way to achieve our goals as we come out of global economic recession.
This initiative is not just for individuals, it’s for companies as well. Companies need to start asking the right questions of the applicants being considered for employment. Interviewers need to learn how to ascertain the attitude that’s conducive to overcoming obstacles and incorporate that element in their decision to hire. The most effective interviewing methodology I’ve used to assess attitude is Motivation-Based Interviewing (or “MBI” for short). Learning MBI enables interviewers to leverage the self-efficacy psychology called locus of control, the perception of one’s own effectiveness. Psychologist Herbert Lefcourt, in his book titled Locus of Control states, “research findings indicate that the engagement in achievement activities is unlikely if one views himself as being at the mercy of capricious external forces.” By assessing a candidate’s predominant attitude, MBI more effectively predicts future achievement. It is better than behavior-based interviewing. In today’s market, job seekers have mastered the art of the interview. Conversely, most interviewers remain unprepared and ill-equipped to handle interview-savvy candidates. Many interviewers believe skill level or work experience is a valid indicator of a person’s willingness to track uphill. It is not. It only reveals whether the candidate can do the job. Skill level doesn’t reveal the degree to which they are willing to ‘do what it takes’ in the face of adversity. Past successes that didn’t involve an obstacle offers little insight as well. Companies need to put their interviewers on higher ground. They need to train them on how to formally assess attitude. In addition, they need to track their effectiveness and make adjustments as appropriate. If you are interested in learning more about MBI, there is a really good on-line, self-paced, interactive web course available. It’s very comprehensive. Employers can even preview it prior to purchasing. The cost is less than $400 if you can get your hands on a promotional discount code that’s often circulating around. If you are interested in learning more, here is the best place to start: www.hireauthority.com.
The strategy of crossing our fingers and hoping for the best is not an effective way to reach any goal. This needs to change! We need to take an objective view of our own efficacy, as well as those people being considered for hire. We need to reignite our dreams and follow our passion. Becoming more effective is how we live to our full potential.