This week Adam Bryant interviews Marla Malcom Beck, the chief executive of Bluemercury, a beauty products and spa services retailer. I really appreciate her no-nonsense, common sense approach to life and business! Regarding hiring she states, “In about two minutes, I can ascertain skill based on what they’ve done… Will is about hunger so I’ll ask what do you want to do in five or 10 years.”
I talk often about will and skill or desire and ability. Both can be cultivated but there’s no substitute for natural ability and passion. A lot of business owners bring this up: does a prospective employee have the passion and ability to make a real difference in my organization? I look for something similar when I hire too. Do they really care, do they want to be here and do they have the skill sets too? These are important considerations next time you are about to hire someone new!
Brent Frei, the co-founder of Smartsheet.com, a project and software management company, looks for people who are “mentally athletic and agile.” He prefers attitude and aptitude over experience. I like his perspective, a lot!
As a Sports Psychologist and Life Coach I constantly help people improve their mental game and develop a great attitude toward life and everything in it. This is not easy. Sometimes, as we all know, life has a way of knocking us down. That’s why good decision making and perseverance are so important. The more we learn from our mistakes, get tougher mentality, and learn to take consistent action toward our dreams and goals the greater the chance we will eventually succeed!
An article by David Busis in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times entitled ‘Meanwhile in a Parallel Universe,’ is very interesting. The author is frustrated and uncertain about his career while a college buddy has made millions doing what he loves as an entrepreneur. Mr. Busis and his wife vacation with his buddy and his new flame setting the stage for discomfort as everything seems better for his buddy than himself.
Having lived nearly five decades now I’ve seen suffering in almost everyone’s life. Though some of us seem to figure out our careers and self- love journeys sooner than others, most of us are faced with similar obstacles: finding and creating a rewarding career, creating a happy and healthy family and developing inner peace. None of this is easy but if we learn to avoid nothing, be as present as possible, have outstanding integrity and honor ourselves, we have a much greater chance at success and will tend to feel good about ourselves and our journeys no matter what others are up too.
As an identical twin I know this to be true. My brother has made millions of dollars a year for over two decades while I focused on making a difference in people’s lives. His lifestyle has far outstripped mine in every material way and yet I am happy largely because I live the principles I teach!
Robert Reid, the C.E.O of Intacct, a cloud-based software company, believes that most issues with execution come down to training and process. He states, “If somebody is not doing what you expect or you have a different viewpoint, you need to seek to understand what’s going on and help them.”
It’s refreshing to see a business owner who values both people and process. I often say I love to invest in others. I will spend money on someone I like who is good at what they do just to support them in being great. Valuing others is a great way to live.
I also love to help others focus on process. As I often say, “if you want success focus on process, if you stress focus on outcome.” We live in a culture obsessed with outcomes when it’s often the journey (process) that brings us happiness!
Sally Smith, the C.E.O of Buffalo Wild Wings, has overseen the growth of the business from 60 to over a 1,000 restaurants. She is slow to hire looking for the right fit both culturally and personality-wise. She prefers people who are curious and willing to do whatever it takes. So do I!
Curiosity is an amazing personality trait. In graduate school many years ago I was set up with a young woman still in college. At the time, I thought she was too young for me. When I met her I realized that her curiosity was so natural and amazing that her age seemed less relevant. We dated for several years and almost got married. Today, over twenty years later, we are still friends. In fact, I will see her this Christmas in San Diego. When we catch up every so often, she peppers me with questions in a good way, a naturally curious way!
Going the extra mile is another great personality trait. If you run a business, do you want someone who does just enough or someone who will get the job done no matter what? Like curiosity, going the extra mile is a trait that can be cultivated over time with practice. I love to teach kids to practice getting it right, not to be perfect, but to learn to go the distance. It’s a great way to live!
This morning I was working out at the Equinox in West LA and this guy next to me asked me why I was taking a picture of my television screen on the workout bicycle. I turned to him with a smile and said this interview will Bill Gross is fascinating! He laughed.
Bill Gross had a celebrated career at PIMCO only to be forced out. At seventy, instead of walking off into the sunset as a billionaire, he chose to start again at Janus Capital, a smaller asset management company. His reason: the desire to fulfil his competitive nature! He compared the new job to a game of HORSE, a basketball game played against a fellow competitor. He wants to beat the market and beat his fellow competitors no matter what his age and since it’s not basketball or golf, he relishes the second chance!
I watched Mr. Gross in fascination because it was clear he is businessin touch with his nature enough to know who he is and what’s best for him. The idea of retirement never made sense to me either. Retire from what? I love to make a difference in people’s lives and the world. This can be done for a lifetime. Yes, things will change as they always do but there is no substitute for finding and doing what you love. The more you do so the less you need to retire from anything!
I found the New York Times Sunday Review cover article by Arthur C. Brooks particularly interesting having lived in relatively affluent environments on and off for decades. People who are overly focused on acquiring and maintaining things often miss a huge part of the process of happiness which is more related to experiences and our perception of them. The swami Mr. Brooks interviewed, a Western educated enunciate, agrees that the problem lies not in abundance but in out attachment to abundance which is one way of defining materialism. The solution, according to the author, is to celebrate abundance but not be hung up on it by collecting experiences, avoid doing things only as a means to an end and cultivating one’s faith.
In my own life, I constantly remind myself to focus on enjoying the moment and the process (journey) and do my darnedest to stay clear of focus on outcomes. After all, “If you want true success focus on process, if you want stress focus on outcome.” Dr. Brett
I’m a big fan of people who communicate straight-up and with integrity. The challenge for many of us is consistency and practice. The more we practice being straight forward and authentic the better we get. I often tell people that I am a trying to help and teach people to communicate better and with more authenticity. And the good news is that the more we practice the more graceful we become!
Anne Williams-Isom, the head of Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit anti poverty organization, seems to have a similar style. She learned from a mentor to have clear goals and be really straightforward with people. I couldn’t agree more!
Roger Ferguson, C.E.O of TIAA-CREF, the retirement services provider, is a huge believer in personal responsibility. So am I! The first thing I do with a new client or business is to make sure they own everything in their lives regardless of how difficult that might be. Our parents and early environment may shape who we were but what we become rests upon taking ownership of who we are, our strengths, weaknesses and all the rest. Determining to change what we don’t like and develop ourselves by constantly learning and growing is how will become what we want.
Mr. Ferguson went to Harvard and scrubbed toilets for other students as part of his student aid package. He wasn’t the least bit resentful but did the job better than anyone else. Fortunately for him his father helped instill such values as hard work and doing things well. There is little substitute for a great attitude. With passion, creativity and common sense, so much more is possible!
This morning I played 18 holes at Palos Verdes Country Club in beautiful Southern California! Lately I’ve been playing golf 1X per week but managed to shoot 72, a fantastic round especially since I’ve had little time for actual practice. The key to my success today and on many other low scoring rounds is the mental game! I spend a great deal of time off the course eliminating the dramas and distractions that are such a normal part of living for most of us. This allows for greater focus on the course and greater potential in general. I also spend a fair amount of time meditating. Meditation is a process of learning how to better focus the mind and to train it to be more still, a wonderful aid in business, life, and sports!!