At one of my first interviews I have been told “we hire people based on their skills and we fire them because of their attitude”. This stuck with me for years before I really could have a clear opinion on the matter.
The truth is that many companies do this and it’s understandable if you only consider some short term advantages. It’s more comfortable and cheaper to hire someone who already has the skills needed to perform the tasks that the position requires at that moment. While I don’t deny the importance skills have, a person possessing the right skills but with the wrong attitude will not have the desired results. It might even turn out to perform worst than a less skilled person but with the right attitude.
Most positions require constant improvement, learning new things, acquiring different skills and a lot of teamwork. I believe there’s no need for me to underline how important attitude is when we view this from a long term perspective.
No matter how technical good a person is, attitude will make the difference either on the short or long term. So it’s better to hire people based on their attitude and work from there.
Many argue that one way to succeed in life is to fake it ’till you make it. If someone asks if you can do something say you can even if you don’t know you can, promise things even if you don’t know you can deliver them and even lie about what you have done or can do. This can always work but how long do you have to fake it until you finally make it? Also after you made it once don’t you still have to fake it until you make it again and again?
The other way is to focus on authenticity, which is one of the most important factors of leadership. Always promise something you are certain you can deliver, never overrate yourself and be totally honest. This might sound like an easy option but the truth is that not all authentic people make it. They don’t make it because they lack other skills or attributes they would need to make it, because they made poor choices or even because they did the right thing but at the wrong time.
Either way success is not a guarantee but it’s way easier to be authentic in the modern society where everyone has a camera so you are always under the loop, where each client can post his experience with you online and it can be viewed by a hundred, a thousand or a million possible clients and where one false move can destroy a reputation.
Most of the times we associate successful people with the ones who have their office in one of the best business centers in town, who own some of the best cars in the parking lot, have some of the best cloths and who are always busy. We can’t picture a successful person who is not busy all the time, who isn’t always talking on the phone or working late at night, on weekends and even on holidays.
On the other hand we live in a society focused on efficiency and productivity. A society which is always looking to maximize the output and minimize the costs. Costs are not represented only by the resources used in the process of obtaining the product but also by the time spent in order to obtain that product.
Thus real success has nothing to do with how busy you are. The secret is to maximize success while trying to minimize the costs and the impact on your free time. Efficiency and productivity are the true keys to a successful balanced life.
I am certain that you have heard about the “think outside the box” expression when talking about creativity. People use this expression to define new perspectives, unconventional thinking and creativity.
The problem that arises when going outside the box is that it will make you lose focus on what is really important and that’s the people in the box which are your target. Whatever you create, design or build will eventually be addressed to the people inside the box since outside the box there isn’t really an audience or market.
It’s difficult to market something from outside the box that people can’t relate to and even more difficult to convince someone to follow you from there. What you can do is be at the edge of the box and try to push the limit with everything you do. By doing this people will find it easier to embrace your ideas and you will still be able to push the limits of conventional thinking. You don’t need to be outside the box to be memorable and push the limits.
Fear used to be all about self-preservation. This is what kept us alive during our evolution. Seeing a tiger or bear in front of you meant you had to make no sounds and avoid being seen because if it did see you it would lead to a fight or flee situation where, in both cases, you would have been in serious disadvantage.
Now things have changed. There is hardly any chance that any of us will be in such a situation. But our fear is still present deep in our brain making us scared of all sorts of things that never threaten our life. People are more afraid of speaking in public than they are of death.
As long as it’s not a life threatening situation, which in most cases isn’t, fear is standing between you and your dreams. Go out there and do things that scare you, that’s the only way you will stand out of the crowd and become memorable.