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!
According to Amy Chua and Jeb Rubenfeld, Yale law professors and authors of What Drives Success? A New York Times Sunday Review feature article, success in certain ethnic groups has to do with three underlying principles: 1) A superiority complex 2) An inferiority complex 3) Impulse control. For instance, believing that certain groups are chosen, better than or more elite can add extra confidence for individuals to persevere when times are tough. Feeling not good enough, not smart enough or not successful enough can add extra drive or motivation. Without the ability to delay gratification or learn to control one’s impulses, people won’t work hard enough in the now to secure longer term success. This article is very interesting and worth considering. Some statistics are especially interesting like Nigerians who make up less than one percent of the Black population in the United States yet in 2013 nearly one quarter of the black students at Harvard Business School were of Nigerian ancestry.
Having been raised Jewish I can relate to this article personally. On the one hand there was a sense of pride bordering on elitism on behalf of my parents in their cultural beliefs and yet there was always this feeling of not enough as well. Learning to delay gratification, a skill or trait that parents can enhance by teaching it to their children is was a quality my mother instilled in us with her patience and nurturing. Motivation too can be taught, especially at early ages. There is nothing about success that can’t be enhanced through good parenting and proper training. Remember Trading Places with Eddie Murphy – perhaps an exaggeration but nevertheless it makes a potent point – success is a skill that can be taught and learned like many others! I often refer to myself as a high end teacher. I teach success in life and business!!