Do you believe that success sometimes is a matter of fate? Do you believe that you have a direct substantial impact on how your professional or personal life turns out? Many people have a core belief about success and failure; their belief is that it is something that resides outside of themselves. Success, to many, is what happens to them, as opposed to something they have crafted for themselves.
Is there a process to success? Is there a formula that can be repeated? Carol Quinn, founder and President of Hire Authority, an organisation focused on improving the quality of hire and performance maximisation, believes that there is.
According to Carol, “Understanding what this means is crucial especially when you’re hiring new talent. If we fail to grasp what is involved in the process of achievement, there is a great likelihood that we will then hire people who fail to grasp this concept as well.” That’s because you don’t really know what to look for.
What is this process of achievement? Simply put, it is a recognition that our attitude has great impact on the final results achieved. It is an acknowledgement that obstacles are a normal part of this process – one that should be embraced, rather than feared.
Consequences are a powerful teacher. If you don’t have consequences for ineffective behaviour, you are actually creating an ‘excellence is optional’ culture.
“When we believe that success or failure is dependent on something that resides outside of ourselves, it causes problems. We will then think that the way to drive a high-performance organisation is to focus on motivating our employees. This is not a good approach for several reasons. First, we must realise that not everyone is unmotivated. Next, true motivation only comes from within. It’s internally generated,” explained Carol.
“By focusing on motivating the unmotivated, what we as organisations are really trying to do is control these people. What we are therefore saying to them is that we determine their success. We tell them, in effect, that if you the employee, are not succeeding, then it is because we, as an organisation, are not doing a great job controlling you, ” argues Carol further. Employees who achieve the best results, the ones she calls the “high performers”, are the ones who are self-motivated. They don’t need controlling, they need leading. They have a particular kind of ‘attitude’ that’s more effective at conquering difficult challenges. They look at and assess more challenges as being possible to overcome and therefore go into problem-solving mode far more often.
When we choose to hire based largely on the skills an individual brings, rather than their attitude and then seek to adjust their attitude upon hire, the onus shifts from the individual to the organisation. The onus for how a person performs and their achievement should lie squarely on the individual. The difference between the successful person and the one who is not, does not lie in the experience itself. Rather, it lies in how the person deals with the experience.
Problems, obstacles, impediments, whatever you call it, these are difficult to deal with – they would not be called such otherwise. Careful assessment of the unsuccessful performer oftentimes shows that they attribute the success of the high performer to the situation he was in, rather than the attitude he held or his approach to the situation.
Success is more a state of mind and the result of the habits you create than a single course of action. This being the case, success is therefore the product of a number of factors, which when present in different circumstances, can result in further success.
If we can accept failure, being tested, being knocked to the ground as part of the process of achievement and something we must deal with effectively, then our attitude changes. This has a domino effect on the way we look at things, and the action we take.
A sense of mindfulness is therefore key to this approach. Understanding when the emotion kicks in, seeing how quickly and at what point we make judgment calls – these are decisions we make throughout the day, on the various projects we touch and the communication we engage in. Many of these judgments, we make in the blink of an eye and often unconsciously. Yet, if we do not even try to problem-solve and move straight to an ‘I can’t’ assessment instead, Carol argues, this here is really the point where the process of achievement breaks down. It’s where we become unmotivated.
“When you encounter a problem and think that you cannot overcome it, then the problem-solving part of your brain does not even activate or light up. In reality, neither the successful person nor the low achiever has the solution at first. However, it is the person with the ‘I-can’ attitude who believes that he can manage through it so that motivates him to try to figure out a way,” Carol explains.
Why should this matter? Because, Carol explains, “companies are the sum total of the people they employ and the results they produce.” If organisations correctly assess applicants, at the critical hiring stage, this has a huge impact on their rate of success.
Good intent however does not count. If you need to assess well at the hiring stage, you need to be trained and skilled in the art of assessing people’s attitude. Research shows however, that this is rarely the case. There are studies, according to Carol, that show some 80 percent of all interviewers having had no formal training. Additional studies also show that only 14 percent of untrained interviewers using an unstructured process are able to select correctly.
“If you do not know what you are doing and the organisation allows you to continue to do so, it does not negate the bad results you’ve achieved, ” Carol argues.
If you pay attention to your journey, its impact points and are mindful of what information you are sieving through and the process by which you do this, this heightened state of mindfulness will hold you in good stead, in moving towards success.
|Carol Quinn founded Hire Authority in 1998. Teaching motivation-based interviewing (MBI) workshops and train-the-trainer programmes for certifying new MBI instructors, Carol has also written four books.|
|Her most recent books, Awakening Outrageous Potential and Outrageous Potential Unleashed- Leadership Edition, offer a solution-oriented approach that aligns with the philosophy that achievement is always within reach.|
This article first appeared in the July 2011 issue of HR Matters Magazine. Copyright HR Matters Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of these article, either text or image may be used or reproduced with express written permission from HR Matters Magazine. For copies of this article, to link online or to order reprints, please contact email@example.com. For more info, please visit http://www.hr-matters.info.