Archive for the ‘Self-Regard’ Category

Growing up we hear (hopefully) that we can accomplish anything, or be anything when we “grow up”.  You can be a Nurse, a Firefighter, Airline Pilot, Doctor, Lawyer, Entrepreneur or Inventor, Artist or musician.

Some of these roles require more education or certification than others, but all are achievable if one works hard enough and puts their mind to it…

Imagine two siblings, each growing up in the same household, with the same teachings, access to education, experiences etc.   Both graduate college in the middle of their class.  Both average or above average intellect and seemingly at an equal place in life.  But for one, life appears easy.  She can accomplish her dreams, achieve goals and have fun in the process.  For the other life seems difficult, she struggles to achieve, is overwhelmed by the massive challenges that life presents.  At some point she stops dreaming of achieving more, because it is just too difficult.

In another chapter of my career I was a district manager of retail stores; working with Store Managers, I would  discuss maximizing the ‘potential’ of each of their employees as being limited by two things:  One being the individual ‘Talent’ of the individual, which at the time I defined as their smarts, skill-set, know-how or technical skills.  And the Second being their ‘Mindset’.   As a manager I would argue that you could teach technical skills to anyone, but what made the largest impact on their ‘potential’ or productivity was their ‘mindset’. 

We used an equation to facilitate those discussions:

                (TALENT) x (MINDSET) = (POTENTIAL)

Think of each on a 1 – 10 Scale.  If someone had a slightly above-average talent of say 6, but a mindset of 1 (sibling # 2)  the best they could achieve is

                6 x 1 = 6

Wherein sibling number one from the above example has the same talent level of 6, but a mindset of 6, that person can achieve:

                6 x 6 = 36

Obviously exponentially greater achievement, which drives engagement, happiness and satisfaction in (and of) life.  Life might seem ‘easy’ to the individual with the higher ‘mindset’ score, which in itself helps elevate your outlook on life or mindset.

When I started working with PeopleSmarts earlier this year I was introduced to the equation:

 IQ (Intellectual Quotient) x EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is a predictor of your success.

The research and trainings that PeopleSmarts provides are much more researched than the rough models I used in my retail life, but I think you will agree that the concepts are solid.  If one can improve their outlook on life, learn skills to handle stress, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, accountability they are able to achieve at a greater level, despite their technical ability. 

Is your ‘Mindset’ where it needs to be?


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This week I was talking to a friend who reported hearing a story where two figures were quoted:  one was that 95% of people thought they were “better than average” drivers , and that 95% of people thought they performed at work at an “exceeds expectations” level or higher. 

Of course, an hour of Google searching and I cannot find those same stats or any reference to the story or article he heard or read, but I can find studies showing that 88% of people think they are better than average drivers (Svenson 1981), 80% of students say they are better looking than average.   According to a Wikipedia article when 829k high-school students were asked to rate how well they “Get along with others” less than one percent rated themselves as below average and  sixty percent rated themselves in the top 10%.

As an employer I want these people.  I want 90% of my workforce to be performing at top 10% level,  I want to work with and live my life with the people who “Get along well with others”  but where are they?  Is it really possible statistically to have 60% of people fit into a 10% bucket?   I think the bucket would run over!   Along those same lines if 80% of people think they are performing at an above-average level at work, yet the average performance review score in a company is 3.2 on a 5.0 scale there clearly exists a gap between employee perception and employer perception of the same performance.  It has been a while since I studied statistics, but I do think It is certainly possible to have a greater number of above average employees than below – the distribution does not have to be perfect, as one below average employee can certainly drag down the company productivity levels even when balanced 2:1 with productive people  .

I took over a failing business operation a few years ago where the division had been losing money for 3 consecutive years, measures of customer satisfaction were ranked among the lowest in company and industry, production quality rankings were too at dismal rates.  After first taking this position I met with all my direct reports, and about half of the hourly employees.  I asked each to rate how they fit in to the team.  I saw this same pattern:  80% thought they were better than the rest.   I looked at the previous year’s performance evaluations for the same group.  They all had the same basic “Meets standards”  3.0 on a 5.0 scale score.    My analysis:  We had a group of people who all think they are performing well, the company has told them they are performing at an average and meets standards level while the operation is failing in every way possible;  customers are unhappy, quality is suffering and we are losing money.  These people are not being honest with themselves, nor is the company being honest with them!

As we continue to look at the costs and effect of employee engagement it is critical to also ensure that both the employer and employee have a realistic and common measure of the same performance.  A group of people who’s standards of performance are not aligned with company standards or actual expectations will never perform at a level that can yield long-term and healthy results.

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